TM Forum chief sees light for industry

DTW TM Forum chief sees light for industry

TM Forum CEO Nik Willets was buoyed by a resurgence in the telecoms industry saying it is climbing out of its “code red moment” by leveraging key technologies such as AI, despite admitting returns from AI being disappointing across the board.

Speaking at Digital Transformation World in Copenhagen today (June 18), Willets kicked off the event by stating the telecoms industry is reviving itself from its critical moment, while hailing the industry as “critical national infrastructure” that is as important other commodities, while delivering some cold hard truths.

“Basic productivity is a commodity. Customers don't want confusing contracts. They don't want to talk about technologies, and they don't want outdated experiences. If we're honest, they don't care if it's 4G or 5G, they just want it to work.

“Connectivity can no longer stand alone in a world of digital infrastructure. It needs to work harmoniously with cloud, with edge (computing), with AI to deliver the right outcomes for our customers,” said Willetts.

Growth strategy and Gen AI disappointment

The chief executive outlined three key strategies to continue the ascent of the connectivity industry, they are composable IT, autonomous network operations, data and AI innovation.

Despite tapping into Gen AI for some time, Willetts admitted returns for the industry has been “disappointing”.

“We only find a handful of operators finding real bottom line impact that adds to their businesses”, said Willetts.

Quality of data was highlighted as a key challenge, Willetts said: “The data we trade AI off dictates how good it is and it's hard to surface the right data. It's hard to get our internal data governance models and systems talking to each other in a way that allows us to surface the data, that allows us to understand that data in a clean and efficient way to train the right models.”

The CEO said the industry is in the right direction and he believes in the next few years there will be truly AI native businesses emerging.

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