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“By 2022, carriers that do not transform will be stuck with an outdated operating model and legacy mindset.”— Philippe Millet, i3forum

Philippe Millet i3forum

We recently interviewed Philippe Millet, Chairman of i3forum, to learn about trends in carrier industry, modern technologies that can streamline internal processes of carriers, reduce fraud losses, and enable new services.

According to Philippe Millet, the carriers have created roadmaps for new technologies, services and models, but they still need to execute on these. Carriers need other Carriers to also transform so they can derive the full benefits of their own transformation.

Next two years will be critical for the carrier industry. The carriers that do not transform by 2022, will be stuck with an outdated operating model and legacy market.

Philippe Millet, Chairman of i3forum

Philippe Millet

1. What is the main objective of i3forum?

i3forum is a not-for-profit Industry organization that is all about Industry collaboration. i3forum enables and accelerates transformation across the international carrier community. We promote industrywide collaboration with an open and inclusive model focused on enabling carriers to be successful in a changing market. That includes all carriers not just our members.

It is important to note that we aren’t a standards body like the GSMA or Metro Ethernet Forum. We exist purely to develop, curate and share practical recommendations, best practices and tools that will benefit the carrier industry as a whole.

2. Members of the i3forum participate in work groups. What are these workgroups?

We have several different workgroups that have been created based around membership input, board priorities and industry insights. When we launched the i3forum, our primary focus was supporting TDM to IP transformation. Our work groups looked at the different issues around the move and have now moved on to tackle other challenges in the carrier industry.

Today, our workgroups cover the Fight Against Voice Fraud, Technology and other carrier challenges such as establishing a shared and reliable Numbering Plan and leveraging Blockchain technology. Member organisations can get involved with any workgroup and bring different challenges or issues to the table. They can shape recommendations for each area and ensure challenges that benefit their organisations and others are being tackled.

Workgroups agree their own objectives and timelines so that they can publish any documents or recommendations in time for our Annual Conference.

3. We recently covered the latest development of Tofane and WIS joining the i3forum. How will this collaboration be beneficial for members and what will the long-term impact be?

Any time we add new members, our workgroups gain new expertise and insights from different areas. The new members are able to participate in creating and delivering new recommendations for tackling industry challenges. They have a voice and drive new developments. It is about being proactive and participating in discussions that will support the creation of long-term sustainable carrier businesses.

We are extremely pleased to have WIS and Tofane Global on board because they really want to get involved and play an important role in the international carrier community. That’s exactly the kinds of members we want.

4. What are the new technologies that can streamline internal processes of carriers, reduce fraud losses, and enable new services to be built?

I can think of a few specific technologies that can tackle these objectives, namely Blockchain and On-Demand Networking. Leveraging these technologies will enable the Industry to innovate and collectively gain significant operational efficiencies, which is one of the main challenges in today’s market.

Blockchain in particular has the potential to change how carriers operate and On-Demand Networking has the potential to support the Cloud, content and next-gen communications that can really drive our long-term innovation.

Carriers must come together to implement these technologies as working in isolation will be a waste of an opportunity for the industry to share resources and ideas. There must be a structure in place that brings everyone together with a clear framework that can be defined and implemented. Doing this will create momentum and drive change in our industry.

5. What are the challenges for most carriers today? Is it true that coming years will be critical if they do not recognize what they need to be successful?

I think the challenge that many carriers face is the fact that they must change so they can become more efficient and innovative. Many have created roadmaps for the new technologies, services and models but they still need to execute on these and transform their businesses. Furthermore, because this is an interconnected industry, there is only so much you can accomplish on your own. Carriers need other Carriers to also transform so they can derive the full benefits of their own transformation.

It is true that the next two years will be critical because by 2022 it will be too late.

By 2022, the market will be completely unrecognisable and carriers that do not transform will be stuck with an outdated operating model and legacy mindset.

My recommendation for carriers would be to look at how they are executing their roadmaps and what it will take to be successful in their transformation.

6. Please shed light on core and new deliverables of i3 forum and what impact these initiatives will have on the future telecom technologies.

We are looking at two really key areas around numbering plans – a critical component of Carrier operations – and co-ordinating carrier data so that it can be used in global benchmarking. It is still early days, but both of these initiatives will give carriers tools that will directly benefit their businesses and streamline their operations. Today, every Carrier develops its own imperfect solution, at a high cost. We’re trying to bring the Industry together to pool resources, share expertise and know-how so that everyone gets better tools at a lower cost. The plan is for the i3forum to operate these solutions on behalf of the industry, on a not-for-profit basis. Benefits will include vastly improved fight against Fraud, significant reduction of billing disputes and enhanced routing capabilities.

The i3forum sits at the heart of the industry and we have the ability to bring carriers together and enable them to collaborate on these new tools. It’s really exciting but there’s a lot of work ahead.

Suggested reading: An Interview with Prasenjit Roy – SVP & CMO, Netmagic (An NTT Communications Company)

7. How will i3forum initiatives support long-term growth of carrier businesses?

It is about collaboration and supporting the creation of sustainable carrier businesses. A good example of this is our work with the Global Leaders Forum (GLF).

Earlier this year, we launched a joint initiative with the GLF around fighting Voice Fraud. The Code of Conduct was launched by the GLF in partnership with i3forum in March 2018. It was developed to give all players across the global Carrier ecosystem steps for protecting their businesses and preventing fraudsters from profiting from criminal activity.

i3forum is the functional arm of the GLF and it is great to see so many carriers and businesses signing up with the initiative.

Together with the GLF we have expanded our reach to other carriers and The Code has made good progress in defining fraud and identifying the best methods in which to deal with it.

It is very important for the ecosystem to get involved with this initiative as we believe that through collaboration there is a greater chance of driving change. If we work together, we can eliminate fraud which has proven to be a continued barrier to growth and success for the carrier business.

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