The ‘softwarisation’ of telecoms and the democratisation of data: Outlook for 2016

James has a passion for how technologies influence business and has several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


As the first working week of 2016 draws to a close, and everybody is just about getting their feet under the table for a new year, here is an expert look at what this year will bring in the telecoms space. Which ones do you agree with, and which ones do you think are wide of the mark?

“There will be merging between wholesale telecoms providers and data centre hosting” – Antonio Manzalini, senior manager innovation, Telecom Italia, chair, IEEE Software Defined Networks Initiative

“Softwarisation of telecoms will accelerate the substantial convergence process towards infrastructure supporting a wide variety of virtualised network and service functions. This is likely to bring a split between operators owning and operating the converged infrastructure and the service providers.

“Retailing of traditional telecoms services is going to disappear, becoming said services packaged with other ones (e.g. voice with Internet access, premium TV). Telecoms retailing is likely to join with OTT, while there will be merging between the wholesale telecoms providers and data centre hosting.

“At the same time, some telecoms equipment suppliers will reposition themselves principally as software supply companies.”

“100 Gigabit Ethernet will reach a tipping point for mass deployment” – Scott Kipp, president, Ethernet Alliance, principal hardware engineer, Brocade

“100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) will ship more than one million switch ports in 2016, illustrating that the technology has reached a tipping point for mass deployment. 100GbE will enter a self-perpetuating cycle of increased volume and cost reductions, opening the door to deployment in many new applications.

“One key driver behind these cost reductions is smaller QSFP28 ports, resulting in higher port count switches and lower costs per port. Similar to 10 Gigabit Ethernet’s path to one million ports, 100GbE will see high volume production in 2016 thanks to QSFP28 ports based on 25Gb/s lane technology.”

“The IoT industry stops paying attention to just the number of devices connected” – Macario Namie, VP strategy, Jasper

“Depending on the analyst firm you talk to, you’ll get all kinds of different numbers about the number of devices that will be connected by IoT in the years to come. But the Internet of Things is not about ‘things’ – it’s about service.

“2016 will be the year where the industry stops paying attention to just the number of devices connected, and instead starts tracking the variety of new services enabled by those connected devices.

“2016 will be the year where IoT security takes centre stage, and the winners will be the solution providers who can help enterprises not only deliver connected services, but secure those services, too.”

“For big data in 2016, we will begin to see a move towards the ‘democratisation of data’” – PHEMI

“In the past, it has typically fallen to business intelligence and analytics groups to create datasets, generate reports, and generally act as a provider to data consumers. Now, new technologies built around data privacy, governance, and security are changing how data will be managed and shared.

“We predict there will be an ongoing movement away from current custom-tailored data requests, with specialised departments controlling and generating information as spreadsheets, graphs or dashboards. Instead, the ‘democratisation of data’ will unlock data gates and allow data-driven businesses to expand access, so all parties can use their data to maximum benefit.”

What do you think will be the key industry trends this year?

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