Intracom Telecom: Alexandros Tarnaris' 2016 Trends

Transmission for small cell access points and virtualisation in preparation for IoT will be high on the agenda in 2016, according to Intracom Telecom’s Alexandros Tarnaris…

Which developing or emerging markets (regions / countries) do you cover?

Intracom Telecom is a global telecommunication systems & solutions vendor. Its subsidiaries span across Europe, Russia & the CIS, the Middle East & Africa, Asia and North America. The company develops and provides products, solutions and services primarily for fixed and mobile telecom operators, public authorities and large public and private enterprises. Intracom Telecom has deployed its point-to-point and point-to-multipoint systems with numerous operators in Europe, the Middle East, Russia & the CIS, Asia, Africa and LATAM.

What are your main hardware and/or services focus areas?

The company’s core offerings include: Wireless Access & Transmission, Telco Software Solutions, ICT Services & Solutions, Renewable & Energy Management Solutions and eHealth Services.

More specifically company's portfolio includes:

  • Native Ethernet Backhaul
  • Hybrid Backhaul
  • Small-Cell & Millimeter Wave Backhaul
  • Point-to-MultiPoint Backhaul & Access
  • Network Management
  • IPTV & Multi-Play
  • Operations Support Systems (OSS)
  • Policy Management
  • Big Data
  • Customer Care
  • Revenue Management
  • NGIN Services
  • Value Added Services (VAS)
  • Integration Services
  • Cloud Computing
  • Professional Services
  • Medical ICT solutions
  • Smart Grids

What are the top market and customer trends that will drive change in your area during 2016, and why?

Transmission for small cells access points. The 4G/LTE is strong in USA and SEA markets and small cells are expected to help carriers add more subscribers and improve quality of experience. High speed broadband access, via wireless, so to provide broadband connectivity to as many as possible subscribers who presently are impacted by the digital divide will be at the top trends. Markets: Europe, (due to Broadband 2020 directive). Africa: for improving competitiveness and access to information for its inhabitants.

The “cloudification” of telecom modules and functions with the advent of SDN/NFV, will generate needs but also will create problems for competent technology vendors and integrators to tackle. Also the lines among “Service Providers”, “Vendors”, “Integrators” or even industries like Telecom, Energy and Health blur, paving the way for novel collaboration business models. Customer Experience remains at the top of Operators’ agenda for differentiation.

What are the solutions that will make the greatest impact in your area during 2016, and why?

The main focus will be on setting the stage for large-scale IoT deployments, as well as preparing for the virtualised networks. Utilities/Energy providers as well as Municipalities will also attract attention, as they are building their infrastructure for Smart operations. In this direction, OSS for the SDN/NFV environment, Telecom IT adjusted for Energy/Utilities industries, IoT Enablement, Control & Monetisation, as well as end-to-end security and data analytics for customer insights and intelligent decision-making will be the right mix of items to push for.

We also expect to see major investment in wireless solutions above 10GHz and in the millimetre wave bands, in response to a demand for more throughput which will necessitate wider channels (112MHz for MW 500MHz or up to 1GHz for mmW). The SDN/NFV is seen as a major toolkit to reduce costs and increase the expediency that service providers can prepare, test and offer new services to their subscribers.

What changes need to be made to speed up developments and what can hold them back?

The regulatory framework for allocation of spectrum is not harmonized on a worldwide scale, and that creates challenges in certain markets while opening opportunities in some other.

Concerns and relevant regulation for data privacy are a major issue for the data analytics, especially in the IoT/”everything-connected” world, touching upon every single Industry involved (Telecom, Energy, Health, etc.). Sustainable business models and the value chain is also unclear especially for some Industries (e.g. Health), where benefits may be identified but not easily monetized or funded.

In terms of smart infrastructure and its RoI, possibly Next-Generation National Broadband Networks (NGNBNs) can be an option to investigate, where investments and benefits can be shared by numerous, state or private players, mitigating risks and opening up the game to many players but also enabling smaller ones to reap the benefits of technology and broadband connectivity, which is key for any Smart Cities/Government concept.

Which technologies will be the most important in emerging markets in 2016?

SDN; NFV; Small Cells; WiFi Offload; Operator Cloud; Big Data; M2M; Mergers & Consolidations; Outdoor Coverage

Explain why your selections will be important in 2016.

The need to provide broadband coverage, either due to regulation or due to need to create infrastructures for economic growth, result to a need for increased outdoor coverage, reaching out to citizens away from major city hubs. The quickest way to do this is to deploy inexpensive technologies, WiFi hot spots in suburban and rural areas, and rollout data services quickly under a centralized control with SDN.

Furthermore, the emerging markets will start preparing for the IoT era, yet initially focusing in connectivity only. Big Data will facilitate data monitoring & visualisation for decision making & customer insights, to identify and reap some first benefits of M2M. M&A’s will also prevail, reducing further the number of Operator players to the big Groups. OTT’s will still be there, with Cloud enablement and SDN/NFV allowing them better serve their subscribers, while also enabling novel ways of partnering with the traditional Telco’s.

Alexandros Tarnaris is the Marketing Communications Director at Intracom Telecom

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