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This event review was written by Stefania Santunione. Santunione staffs our NETSCOUT Italy office.

Attending Total Telecom Congress gave me the chance to get the latest from a variety of different telecommunication companies, including companies such as Telefonica, Elisa, Swisscom, British Telecom (BT), and Digicel—some of the most important names in the international telecom business.

I built an agenda designed to get perspectives from these companies on their journey towards 5G. Even better, I got a global view from speakers. I heard from companies across a wide swath of European countries: Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Finland, and the UK (that last subject to some mildly argumentative comments about whether it was still Europe.) Globally, I also heard viewpoints from South America, Asia (referred to as disruptive Asia) Singapore, South Korea, and Japan.

The sessions gave me valuable insights into how 5G is driving global telecoms to reinvent themselves for a new economy. It was fascinating to hear the different approaches: 

  • Aggressive 5G innovators. Companies like Altice Portugal have invested heavily next-generation network infrastructures and are well on track to hit their target goal of connecting 5.3 million households via optical fiber by 2020. Now the company is calling on governmental support to creating a national 5G road map.
  • Long-term planners. In contrast, more conservative companies like British Telecom presented 5G journey as a long-term view that involved building a global ecosystem.
  • Organizational change drivers. ELISA talked about the importance of a smart factory mentality and a better work organization to face the 5G trip all together.
  • 5G disruptors. The ahead-of-time Asian operators showcased amazing futuristic presentations where the 5G infrastructure seems to be already connected and running.

NETSCOUT’s Dr. Martin Klapdor held a well-attended presentation and panel where he outlined the company’s road map for visibility and service assurance in a 5G world. His opening sentence summed things up nicely: “See it all. Or risk it all.” Klapdor went on to explain the value of NETSCOUT’s Visibility Without Borders. Very briefly, it is universally available Smart Data flowing across a connected world with no borders—pervasive visibility across any cloud, any network, any workload. As a result, service providers can deliver services and security assurance based on a customer experience perspective and inoculate infrastructures from service disruption threats.

The two-day show was packed with excitement, passion, and big ideas. I left with the sense that we are all an early part of a revolution that could dwarf the digital revolution of the ‘80s. We are inside the whirlwind, with the elements of the big ecosystem around us. We are among people that need to change culture, not to forget our heritage, to treasure it, but meanwhile looking forward to being in a global connected world without borders. 

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