In the run up to the Carriers World event in London next month, Total Telecom caught up with Mark Daley, Director, Digital Strategy & Business Development at Epsilon, to discuss the key trends that are affecting the industry

What trends are you noticing developing in the market at the moment?

The continuing evolution of the cloud ecosystem is driving both complexity and opportunity for the whole community. The connected ecosystem is becoming more distributed, specialised and function-orientated.

DevOps is re-energising innovation within our portfolios whilst driving SDN, orchestration and federation. Companies, such as Epsilon, are moving beyond SDN to orchestration interworking; creating and delivering adaptable solutions that integrate with other functions and environments. This is becoming the next cornerstone for success.

Network Service Providers are assessing how they can work with each other more effectively, whether from a trading or partnering perspective. Technology enablement is enabling us to digitally trade on a day to day basis whilst our salespeople evolve into strategic partnership managers.

The most obvious trend is the need for speed. Growth in demand for bandwidth is escalating dramatically. The growth in demand is not just number of connections but also a massive increase in the size of those connections.


What are the key challenges facing carriers in today’s telecoms market place?

Apart from the obvious challenges of growth, revenue and profitability, some of the key challenges are based around evolution. Our market is evolving with new market entrants, products, channels and technology layers. Being geared for and managing this evolution is a competitive advantage. That’s why you have seen companies investing significantly in digital transformation.

I see digital transformation at 2 levels – horizontal and vertical digitalisation. Horizontally is the internalisation of a digital way of working through automation and process improvement. Vertically is how we present and integrate our solutions from the component to an end-consumer in a digital, programmable manner.

Transformation takes commitment, time, resources and know-how. Allocating or acquiring them is a challenge. For traditional operators, managing customers transformation can be hard. Changing commercial models to map the characteristics of the cloud is time and labour-intensive process, but it needs to happen.


What predictions do you have for the state of the industry over the next 12-18 months?

I see huge industry changes, more interworking and threading and certainly more competition.

From an industry perspective, the drive to enable the success of IoT, cloud, Big Data and 5G puts immense pressure on the core global connectivity ecosystem. I see investment in 100G networking as a baseline, more investment in cable systems and the continued investment in infrastructure such as Data Centres in emerging tech infrastructure regions like Scandinavia.

As well, the conversation around ‘edge’ shall continue with players investing in localising services and content with different entities coming together to enable this.

More companies are moving into the communications services arena. Data Centres will continue to expand their communications portfolios, cloud companies will enable connectivity, while Internet Exchanges might be looking at how they can integrate more services. The successful cPaaS companies will also divest from pure cloud to building their own physical infrastructure to try to solve challenges that can come from serving global demands.


What new technologies are you particularly excited about at the moment?

More as an approach, there is potential in API enablement from a functional and interworking perspectives. This drives us to consider how we can present ourselves almost as Telco SDKs. Practically, I am excited about its ability to solve the telecom issue of product silos.

Product integration (or service threading) is something we need to be able to do, providing a customer solution that deploys multiple products at the click-of-a-button. Deploying them in an accessible manner is a key to success and we can do that now. Our mantra when looking at what we’re trying to build and deliver is around 4Cs – Conceive of a need, Click to access it, Create the service automatically and be able to Consume the service in a visible manner.


What new markets are you particularly interested in at the moment?

I’m interested by the large-scale growth in investment in high-density Data Centre (DC) regions, not for the fact that they are building more DCs, but what’s happening inside them.

APAC, being a huge adopter for inter-regional services, has had more of an immediate growth in this space than any other areas. The US, with its early adopter mentality and ability to continue to grow and regenerate, is a wonderful market and one that Epsilon continues to invest in. In terms of innovation, Silicon Valley continues to be the driver but new telco innovations are starting to happen in places like Texas.

I am still hugely excited around the cPaaS and uCaaS space. These companies have changed telecoms in a very short period of time. Anything to do with cloud and storage orchestration continues to be exciting. You just have to take a look at the innovation and growth in cloud-based products and services that are powering the modern business applications. But people and buildings need the connectivity to support these cloud-based business models, and that’s why it’s exciting for us!

The ability to access content via dedicated remote peering and building private globally meshed hybrid networks is also something that’s going to take off as a segment.

I think an immediate focus for us externally is to build out our ability to federate with partners at the application level. We want to enable a process with our partners where we are trading with each other in minutes, not weeks or months. We have the technology and willingness and are already developing partnerships on this basis. The next 12 months will see us really start to scale this next generation API ecosystem.


Mark Daley will be taking part in a keynote discussion on opportunities for carriers in the API Space at this year’s Carriers World event. Click here for a full agenda.