Thursday, January 26, 2006

6th Annual Denver Telecom Professionals Future of Telecom

Tonight I attended the 6th Annual Denver Telecom Professionals meeting. Four local visionaries were to present their perspectives on the outlook for the year. The panelists speaking were:

Phil Weiser, Esq. Founder and Executive Director, Silicon Flatirons Telecom Program, University of Colorado (Moderator)

Gregg Sutherland, Partner, Ernst & Young

Dan Yost, Executive V.P. Products and Marketing, Qwest

Bill Mosher, VP of Marketing and Sales, Comcast Colorado

Michael Kalac, VP Enterprise Network Engineering, First Data Corporation

Phil, as usual, did an excellent job moderating the panel, and the panelists spent their time between talking about projects already in progress and a little about what is in store for the industry during the year. No one made any bold predictions about any major breakthroughs or mergers and acquisitions. There were a couple of gems if you could read between the lines. Suffice it to say the prognosis was for a calm year:

  • VoIP will continue its slow roll out.
  • Qwest will still push its DSL deployments and bundle four-play services.
  • Comcast will expand its popular OnDemand offerings and Digital Telephone service (VoIP).
  • Everyone will continue to work on operational and business improvement.
I wish that a venture capitalist and someone from a start up such as Digeo would have been on the panel because these are the people that truly have insight into the industry. 2006 will be more exciting than last year because some of the major disruptions occurring between wireline and wireless, telco and cable, and traditional media and Internet content providers. Here are just a couple of events that I see happening in 2006:
  1. 2006 will be the year that VoIP becomes mainstream. Businesses see the ROI on VoIP and the E-911 and CALEA issues can be solved. Last year more IP PBX were sold than TDM PBX. Locally Avaya and Level3 stand to benefit from increased VoIP deployments.
  2. Wireless and wireline services will become seamless for business customers and residential early adopters. Think IMS. Verizon Wireless, Sprint-Nextel, and T-Mobile will continue to make inroads to business customers at the expense of the incumbent wireline carrier.
  3. QoS will be offered by Internet service providers as soon as they convince Internet application providers (i.e. Google, Yahoo!, Vonage, etc.) and subscribers that the increase in cost is a small price to pay for a superior service experience and they will not debilitate any best effort services.
  4. BellSouth will experience a M&A event. AT&T will want to bring Cingular into its fold and make a bid for BellSouth's portion.
  5. Qwest will lose business customers to AT&T and Verizon and continue to investigate M&A events.
  6. Podcasting and Vlogs will change how traditional media and content distributors operate. The impact will be felt this year, but most of the traditional outlets will not fully embrace it because they are afraid of tackling the DRM issues and breaking from status quo.
The forum would have been much livelier if the speakers would have addressed some of these controversial issues. 2006 promises to be an exciting year as the industry continues its strong recovery and tackles some tough legal, regulatory, and societal issues with convergence. It promises to be a fun and profitable year those willing to actively participate.

Tag: DTP, Denver, telecom