February 24, 2022
Ahead of the return of the telecoms industry’s biggest trade show, analyst firm Omdia has given some collective thought to what we might end up chatting about there.
Being analysts, Omdia didn’t muck about and its preview (which you can download here if you want a deep dive) runs to no less than 77 pages. For those with a more journalistic attention span we had a chat with Evan Kirchheimer, VP of Service Provider Research at Omdia, who is one of the lead authors of the report, and asked him what he thinks the major themes of the show will be.
“First of all I think everyone will be focused on the metrics of the events itself – from the perspective of Covid bounce back, new ways of working and meeting, and how much buzz there is,” said Kirchheimer. “Second I think the undercurrent is really going to be about ecosystem and channel. Which are the start-ups with innovative tech and services? How can vendors target verticals directly? What role is the CSP in the entire channel to market for new techs and services?”
We agree and that’s what we meant by the headline. That’s not to downplay the Diversity4Tech programme at the show, previewed in the video below by the one-and-only Mary Clark, but there’s also likely to be more diversity than ever in terms of types of companies, routes to market and products. If 5G is anything other than a marketing gimmick it’s about expanding the market for connectivity services, both in terms of customers and providers, and we expect that to be reflected on the show floor.
“Third for me is the role of fixed,” continued Kirchheimer. “It’s so antiquated to see mobile outside of the context of fixed, and in particular fibre, investment. There will be loads of discussions on the role of fibre and 5G in national infrastructure. Fourth is China. I suspect this will be the first MWC where we see the ‘splinternet’ crystallize in terms of vendor positioning.”
As you would expect from such a weighty tome, the Omdia report covers the full monty of stuff you might expect from the show, including ultra-buzzy topics such as OpenRAN, telco cloud and the metaverse. With a show that size attendees could spend four days in an echo chamber of their choice, but surely the ultimate theme will be continued efforts to extract return from the considerable investments made in 5G since the last (full) MWC in 2019. This is something we also discussed in our latest podcast.
The bad news for the companies that own MWC – the operators – is that they are now just one of many channels for communications services. The public cloud hyperscalers are bound to have a major presence, as will the many would-be system integrators who fancy giving things like IoT a go. The underlying theme of this year’s show is likely to be the assimilation of mobile connectivity into the broader commercial world and what that means for everyone involved. Let’s see.
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