By Keren Halpern, Head of Product Marketing,
Optiva • March 8, 2022
Keren has over 15 years of experience in the telecom enterprise industry. She supports CSPs on their journey to adopt new innovative use cases in the rapidly evolving cloud, 5G, and IoT markets and beyond. Previously, she was a solution architect lead and storyteller for Amdocs and headed the presales team for Pontis.
After two years of work from home, MWC22 encapsulated my hopes for normality on the pandemic front.
1. To participate or not to participate? That was the question.
Many waited to decide about participating practically until the last minute. There were days near the end of 2021 when we struggled to decide whether to spend on what could be a high-risk event. Optiva management decided to bet on Omicron fading and people starting to travel. We committed to the event just two months before it happened. Luckily, we had a great internal team and external design and booth construction teams to help us build a strong presence. Thank you, Pro Expo and Marcomit, for your professionalism and success with a very short timeline.
2. How many visitors are enough?
It was not the same traffic as 2019 — maybe even 50% or less. But from my point of view, it was better. Customer delegations were smaller, but they were more senior, focused, and interested in talking after not meeting face-to-face for two years. For Optiva, there were more meetings than in 2019, and they were longer, more effective, and practical — with action items to follow up on and many new opportunities to unfold!
3. The disillusion of cloud.
The cloud reaches its proper position — not as a target but as a facilitator — of capabilities, work methodologies, new practices for software management and automation, and an infuser of innovation to drive improved performance, enhanced customer experience, and cost savings. Saying “cloud” is not enough. Vendors and telecom operators need to ask themselves what they actually need and how they can access it. The devil is in the details.
4. Long live the digital brands.
Transformation is a thing of the past. Or is it? The meaning of the word “transformation” has changed. Only 7-10 years ago, it meant a full rip and replace of existing solutions and architecture to transform and transition to new technologies. At MWC22, the cool approach for digital brands and MVNO offerings was demonstrated to be the best and most effective way telcos can gain market share and increase revenues. With up to 50% cost savings of acquisition, greater agility, and improved customer experience, it was a hot topic. And the more OOTB and faster time to market — the better.
5. The 5G holy grail is still out there.
Many of the use cases presented at MWC were around the metaverse. Telefonica had several great demos while some vendors talked about security and connected homes, industries, cities, and health-related devices. It is still too early to identify which use cases will gain the most traction, but telcos need to be flexible enough to experiment, have low risk, build a scalable partner ecosystem, and support innovative commercial models to achieve the true collaboration necessary to find the grail.
6. Will things go back to how they were three years ago?
My first MWC, which at the time it was called GSMA, was in Cannes. I was part of a delegation with a small startup. On top of all the meetings and cocktails, we went clubbing and bar hopping and almost didn’t sleep. My manager at the time said sleep is for the weak. Fast forward to MWC 2022. Barcelona has still not fully recovered from the pandemic. Restaurants close before midnight, and if you are lucky, you can find a hidden bar that ignores government restrictions. On the other hand, who wants to stay up all night when you have important meetings the following day?
7. Remote working and the importance of a coffee break.
When I joined Optiva three years ago, it was already a virtual company with almost no offices — like it knew the pandemic was coming, and it was preparing. We traveled and met each other at customer meetings and events, but that ended in 2020. As Optiva has grown, many new team members have joined, and although we have good Zoom relations, nothing replaces face-to-face human interaction over a cup of coffee. I look forward to continuing to meet our team and you at coming events that I am now more confident will take place.
Optiva annual sales meeting in Lisbon, here we come!
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Head of Product Marketing, Optiva
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