As another Action Week draws to a close, I’m reminded of what I like most about my job: being part of an organization whose ultimate aim is to help people around the world communicate better.
It sounds a bit ‘Pollyanna-ish’ (the always-optimistic heroine of a classic children’s book of the same name), but in the end (well more to the point from the very beginning), it’s what the Forum does.
Sure, there are politics and differences of opinion at Action Week. Alliances are most certainly forged over dinner and drinks, and there are rumors of quiet plotting by those hoping to gain a competitive edge. But the politics are always overshadowed by the accomplishment of real work. And there was a tremendous amount of work accomplished this week.
Collaboration teams made significant progress on 20 Catalyst proof-of-concept projects that will be demonstrated at TM Forum Live! 2015 in Nice, France in June. They also developed several use cases for big data analytics and worked on application program interfaces to connect devices in the Internet of Things. They took strides toward developing a privacy dashboard to help end users control their own privacy and discussed the idea of developing a ‘creepiness metric’ to help end users understand how and when companies are using their data – indeed understanding and measuring customers’ emotion has been a theme this week.
This was the largest Action Week ever with more than 170 delegates attending. We also had the highest number of service providers ever participating: They made up nearly 40 percent of attendees.
The boost in attendance was due in large part to the work TM Forum’s Zero-touch Orchestration, Operations and Management (ZOOM) team is doing to advance network functions virtualization (NFV). Nearly half of the packed room of attendees in the first NFV session on Monday were new to the project, and many of them made excellent contributions to the operational readiness and procurement; end-to-end management; DevOps transformation; and foundational studies teams within the ZOOM project.
The operational readiness and procurement team had a “eureka moment” according to ZOOM Co-lead Jenny Huang, of AT&T, when they realized that what service providers and suppliers need is an NFV Procurement Survival Kit to help them understand how to buy and sell NFV components. And the end-to-end management team made significant progress on how-to-guides for explaining how to handle end-to-end management across environments made up of multiple partners using products from multiple suppliers.
United Nations for digital services
“We had at least seven people from four service providers across three continents who were contributing,” says Joe Ruffles from Cisco who leads end-to-end management team within the ZOOM project. “That was pretty impressive.”
I like to think of the Forum like the United Nations or the European Union, as a group of contributors who may have their own agendas but realize the intrinsic value in cooperating. By putting our differences aside, we can accomplish mountains of work in just a few days.
Laurent Leboucher, Vice President, APIs and Digital Ecosystems, Orange, sums it up best:
“I am really impressed by the intensity and variety of work. We are a large number of very active contributors, so the feeling I have now is that there is a big shift from where we were…so many things are changing so fast.”