Today I’m in Nice at the TeleManagement World (TMW). I used to attend these events 10-12 years ago, when I was at Digital. Some things haven’t changed – Keith Willets is still talking about the importance of back office standards in the context of telecom industry transformation, and the operators are still talking about new and better services, such as mobile TV.
But back then only about 200-300 people attended. This year the number is said to be 2700! In the old days we were working on a project to standardize enterprise IT, starting with telecom but not telecom specific. Today Web services look like the best candidate for a solution, and this is also being debated actively at W3C (where I’ll be finishing this trip next Monday).
In a few minutes I’ll be hosting a Birds of Feather session on SCA. The idea is to explore the potential applicability of the SCA initiative to the telecom industry, in particular in the context of their interest in SOA.
One of the great success stories for IONA has been the adoption of CORBA for telecom network management. Now we are working within the TMF on the subject of Web services adoption. One example is the Multi Technology Operations System Interface (MTOSI) – we are co-sponsors of another Catalyst demonstration for this, and we have created an MTOSI toolkit using our Artix 4.0 product since it is natively multi-protocol, and multi-data format compatible, using Web service (WSDL+) as the contract language.
The telecom industry seems very interested in SOA for “back office” computing since it can be very helpful in more easily and quickly delivering new telecommunication services (such as mobile TV, internet TV, voice over IP etc.) to the customer, and improving the critical “quality of service” to the customer.
As telecom services commoditize – and now the estimate is about half the planet’s population has some kind of mobile telephone – competition switches at least in part to the experience the customer has with a particular operator. Does the customer feel well cared for, liked, respected, understood?
The word “service” has now come up in at least three different ways – the software artifact, the telecom product, and in the relationship between the consumer and the provider. This definitely underscores the growing importance of the service concept in software.
One last thing – in Keith’s keynote he noted the high percentage, 90% or so, of transactions processed via the Web for easyJet (the easyJet founder was one of the featured speakers). Why can’t the telecoms do this? Because of the antideluvian back office systems…
ps the weather is indeed pretty nice here this time of year – not like back home in Boston, where it’s been raining so hard they’ve closed the public schools in several towns.