TM Forum launches first Innovation Hub to accelerate solving the telecom industry’s biggest challenges

  • Founding members Accenture, Deutsche Telekom, Google Cloud, Orange, Reliance Jio, Telenor and Vodafone revealed as first TM Forum Innovation Hub opens its doors in Mumbai

Copenhagen – On the first day of its DTW23 – Ignite conference, TM Forum today launched its pilot Innovation Hub program. Designed to address the telecom industry’s most critical challenges, the Innovation Hubs aim to bring together the very best talent from across the global technology sector. These dedicated, collaborative teams will work quickly on priority projects, providing breakthrough, entrepreneurial thinking to deliver business impact and help reignite growth in the telecoms industry. The first, pilot Innovation Hub, is located at the Reliance Jio Corporate Park Campus in Navi Mumbai, India. It will host – both physically and virtually – teams comprised of talent from the initiative’s founding members: Accenture, Deutsche Telekom, Google Cloud, Orange, Reliance Jio, Telenor and Vodafone.

The Innovation Hub initiative builds on the Forum’s successful Catalyst program that has delivered hundreds of innovative, practical solutions to telco challenges over the past decade. Hubs are a new, unique way for the global telecoms industry to collaborate at speed, providing longer-term, dedicated resources to industrialise concepts explored by the Catalysts. The emphasis is on delivering ‘real world’ solutions with immediate business impact: working code and concepts proven in operational or shadow-operational environments.

Participating companies, including the founding members, contribute a range of expertise and resources to the hub, including experts, physical space, technology capabilities and professional services. Reliance Jio is generously providing the private space and facilities for the first Innovation Hub.  

“The number one challenge facing our industry today is urgently reigniting growth. As a result, industry-wide demand for collaboration and breakthrough thinking is greater than ever before. Following our pilot in Mumbai, we’ll refine and hone the model to create a global network of Innovation Hubs,” said Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum. “Our goal is to unite world-class, dedicated resources that are beyond the reach of most individual telecoms companies and free from the normal constraints of large corporate environments. The Hubs will enable teams to work on agreed, collective, mission-critical problems that hinder our industry’s growth. They will overcome the existing limitations of member collaboration in ‘volunteer’ resources or short-life innovation projects, enabling us to drive outputs faster.”

Mr Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio Infocomm: “The TM Forum Innovation Hub is not merely a collaborative space; it’s a catalyst designed to address the telecom industry’s critical challenges. By bringing together the best minds from telcos and the technology ecosystem, this initiative is strategically positioned to accelerate innovation across the digital ecosystem. Reliance Jio is committed to this transformative journey, and we’re honoured to offer our Mumbai campus as the first physical home for this ground-breaking initiative. Together, we are confident of creating real-world solutions that will significantly impact our industry.”

The first projects to be undertaken in the Mumbai Innovation Hub will be:

  1. Generative AI and Large Language Models – exploring the potential of Gen AI and LLMs for telcos, creating architectural blueprints for the adoption of GenAI together with supporting demonstrations.
  2. Adopting Open Digital Architecture (ODA) – technology debt and legacy retirement – establishing a set of migration patterns and a library of adapters, APIs and other assets to simplify and de-risk migrations and enable the implementation of a composable architecture.
  3. ODA Accelerator – showcase ODA Components being deployed and running on multiple hyperscaler instances of the ODA Canvas demonstrating a plug-n-play environment that leverages public cloud capabilities giving operators the choice of which hyperscaler to partner with which also leads to the standardization and transformation of the operational management of Telcos’ IT. 

The Innovation Hub and Hub projects will be managed by the TM Forum’s CTO office, with a new team based in Mumbai. Founder members have committed to providing dedicated resources for the first pilot projects, establishing the most effective ways of working, spanning the project lifecycle from concept to widespread market impact.

Kathleen O’Reilly, Accenture’s Communications, Media and Technology Industry Practices Chair: “The exponential change stemming from converging technology trends like generative AI, cloud and data transparency gives communications companies an opportunity for meaningful growth beyond connectivity. Our goal with this Innovation Hub collaboration is to help the communications industry explore the technology, data and talent needed to continuously drive innovation and solve problems with new solutions at pace.”

Peter Leukert, CIO, Deutsche Telekom: “Trust-based collaboration, cutting-edge technologies, life-boosting products, and the best people are the anchors of our self-definition, describing how we do what we do at Deutsche Telekom IT. Therefore, we are not only aligned with but deeply committed to the mission of the Innovation Hub program. With the help of our world-class experts in conjunction with leading talents from the industry, we anticipate great achievements, especially in the fields of Generative AI and Large Language Models. This will drive transformative change within our industry, creating value for all in telecommunications and beyond.”

Ankur Jain, Vice President, Google Distributed Cloud and Telecom, Google Cloud: “We share TM Forum’s commitment to fostering a collaborative ecosystem to accelerate innovation within the telecommunications industry. We developed a Google Cloud instance of the ODA canvas and are exploring the exciting industry-wide potential for generative AI. We look forward to working with our partners and customers in the Innovation Hub to unlock new growth and transformation opportunities, leveraging Google Cloud’s leadership in data, AI and cloud-native networks and technology.”

Koen Vermeulen, Group CIO, Orange: “We welcome the TM Forum’s initiative to launch a pilot Innovation Hub program aimed strategically at the global telecoms industry. Orange is proud to be one of the industry’s Leaders and to contribute to this pilot, based on the TM Forum’s Catalyst program, to which we have already been contributing for several years. ODA is a critical foundation for Orange to bring faster innovative products to the market and more efficiently.”

Amol Phadke, EVP and Group CTO, Telenor: “The TM Forum is providing an incredible platform for our industry to collaborate and innovate. With the Innovation Hub, we’ll be able to address key industry questions and develop standards to help answer big questions – like the use of AI and cloud for improving customer experience and business operations. In addition, the hub will enable us to explore new services in B2C, B2B and B2B2X, unlocking real value for our customers.”

Scott Petty, Chief Technology Officer, Vodafone Group: “Vodafone is an active contributor to the TM Forum’s collaboration programmes. Over time, these have continuously improved, from establishing high-level frameworks to co-creating tangible assets like open API and cloud-native architecture specifications. The Innovation Hub takes this collaboration to the next level. It brings together key stakeholders to develop new technologies that will ensure a sustainable future for both our industry and the billions of people we connect worldwide.”

The pilot phase is now underway and expected to conclude in March 2024. TM Forum members can apply to join an existing Innovation Hub project or propose a new one (in early 2024). To be considered to join a project, member companies will need to bring the distinct expertise the project requires, as well as meet the minimum dedicated resource commitment set by the project.

To keep updated on the work of the Innovation Hub program and its first cohort of companies, visit:

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