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PTC 2018: 40 Years and Growing PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 09:50

For 40 years, PTC has been telling us that big changes were on the way, even though the agenda in 1978 took place in a telecom world of analog switched voice.

Exponential growth means more services, more infrastructure, more demand, and more bits to everywhere and from everywhere. It means disruption. It means much more change happens in a given interval. Things are both amplified and compressed at the same time, without floor or ceiling apparent. Timeframes are squeezed, revenues and costs, too, in many cases. Disruption in an exponential environment reshapes players and industries. Many at PTC’18 foresee a significant consolidation of the industry in the near term that will power the remaining players even further.

Regardless, exponential change in such an industry has already rippled out creating a socio-economic impact of tsunami proportions—a perspective that was repeatedly provided at PTC’18 from many thought leaders. The Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) announced the winners of its PTC’18 Innovation Awards during its inaugural gala held during PTC’18, the fortieth anniversary of its annual conference.

In addition, PTC has made well received format changes that had the opening event in a ball room, and the keynotes in a ballroom in the TAPA tower.

PTC Innovation Awards

Launched as a fundraising platform to enable PTC to further pursue its mission to improve the quality of life in the Pacific Rim through the development of ICT, the Innovation Awards are designed to recognize the individuals and companies that have transformed and continue to transform the ICT industry and the markets PTC serves.

The awards covered six categories related to innovation within the ICT industry and were judged by a panel of seven jurors representing a broad cross-section of industry executives and thought leaders from a variety of network-centric industry segments. The jurors were RingByName CMO Matt Bramson, Salesforce Vice President for Strategic Research Peter Coffee, APTelecom CEO Eric Handa, DE-CIX International CEO Ivo Ivanov, Garnet Consulting Pty. Ltd. CEO Hugh McGarry, North American Hawaiki Cable President of Business Development Randy Neals, and HOT TELECOM President and Founder Isabelle Paradis.

Each candidate entry was evaluated quantitatively against multiple criteria, with a strict mathematical protocol used to combine the perspectives of each of the independent judges. There was no fee or sponsorship required to enter to safeguard the neutrality and objectivity of the awards.

PacketFabric took the award for Best Application/Service Innovation, as well as Best Networking Innovation Award together with Aqua Comms. The award for Best Regulatory Innovation was presented to Geeks Without Frontiers, while Telstra took home the Lifetime Innovation Award. Télécoms Sans Frontières was recognized for Best Quality of Life Improvement, and Cloudflare won Best Overall Innovation Award.

Runners up included Telstra, Sky and Space Global, Zayo Group, Epsilon, Saltyster, Olympusat Telecom, Heather Hudson, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, Bharti Airtel, and Global Marine.

The Award Committee was comprised of many industry leaders including Jeff Seal, Managing Partner at Telecom Review. “I’m so pleased with the level and breadth of submissions we had for the different categories, particularly for our first year, and am so grateful for all the judges, who worked hard and objectively to recognize our innovators,” said Tricia Paoletta, Chair of the PTC’18 Innovation Awards Committee and Partner at Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP.

In January PTC’18 gave plenty of insight on the developments taking place:

•Infrastructure and facilities build at connectivity and data center levels have rapidly increased because of exploding demand and a favourable investment climate.

•Subsea connectivity is cabling everywhere—including the Pacific island nations which astonishingly are within sight of effectively full international connectivity.

•Geopolitics is making itself felt from security assessments of foreign direct investment in a critical industry everywhere to constant pressure for better spectrum usage, and even UN-based oversight on seafloor activities that may impact the subsea telecom industry.

•What happens in a 5G era, and what will it do? 5G is still seen as the glue pulling future societies together, but the question mark remains.

•With several traditional markets disappearing, and new ones yet to appear, the satellite industry is arguably poised to find a new identity in an era of high throughput services.

•Back on the ground, telcos are redefining and rearchitecting themselves at the network level. Some say software-defined WAN technology and network virtualisation represents not only their future but their very survival as major players.

•Meanwhile, OTT players—not traditional telco entities—are continuing to shape the international landscape by building their own networks, effectively bypassing traditional telco structures. In aggregate terms, they are approaching half of the total build activity of the connectivity infrastructure on major routes. Is this an ascendancy? Should it be? Will OTTs ultimately sideline the identity of the telco?

There seems no danger of a let-up. The revolution is incomplete; big gaps remain in both coverage and capability. Google’s Vinton Cerf  suggests there is still a huge amount of work to be done, covering better multi-stakeholder involvements, transnational agreements, and a fundamentally people-centered Internet.

Half the global population still does not have Internet access, and coverage apart, he argues: “In today’s Internet, we are lacking safety, security, privacy, reliability, and interoperability.” He says fragmentation, a departure from basic ideas of an open Internet architecture and methodology, is now a distinct risk.