Convergence and Cloud – our week at MWC 2013

Mar 8, 2013

A week has now passed since the closing of the Mobile World Congress, and my sleeping patterns, diet and voice have just about returned to normal. Being on your feet in the exhibition hall for 12 hours a day takes its toll on the body very quickly, and it’s taken almost the same time for my brain to unscramble the many conversations and discussions I had at the show. But what a great week. Despite some inclement weather and an over-congested transport system, MWC 2013 will live long in the memory for the back-to-back meetings and continuous stream of interest and product enquiries in our busiest show ever.

A new feature of our presence this year was Cerillion Live – a twice-a-day schedule of open demonstrations on our stand, with all-comers welcome to drop in and check out the latest innovations in our pre-integrated product suite. Two themed demos making complex services simple and streamlining sales and product campaigns showcased the flexibility of our pre-integrated product suite, including the ease of building products and packages in our unified Product Catalogue; the comprehensive sales and post sales processes within CRM; and the intuitive management of convergent product bundles.

We also had an incredible response to our new cloud billing solution, Cerillion Skyline, which we previewed for the first time. Designed specifically for the cloud, but built on our 20 year heritage of delivering high performance billing and transaction processing systems, Cerillion Skyline is a powerful, multi-tenanted, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) billing application for the next generation of digital services and subscriptions. To find out more about Cerillion Skyline, you can watch our introductory video here.

Elsewhere in the exhibition, the Connected City drew lots of attention as the GSMA pulled together a collection of leading brands and niche technology providers to show us how to live a connected life. Some of this certainly appears to be solutions looking for problems – for example, why would you want to be able to start your vehicle with an NFC-enabled smartphone? However, the showcase undoubtedly provides inspiration for a lifestyle of the not-so-distant future.

As an exhibitor it’s not always possible to pick-up on the main themes of the conference, but there were two strong messages that were getting through loud and clear. Firstly, it seems that most CSPs are finally realising they are fighting a losing battle when it comes to taking on the OTT providers at their own game. So talk of partnerships between CSPs and OTT providers was high on the agenda at MWC and this is good news for everyone, not that we haven’t talked about this before.

Further cooperation can only help make services more compelling for the end-customer and create more value overall. However, CSPs will no longer just be able to sit back and collect the revenue for people using their networks, but must earn their share of the increased pie. Time for more action and not just words.

The other headlines were being made with the all too predictable complaints about over-regulation of the industry. Somehow MWC wouldn’t be the same without one CEO or other taking a cheap shot at the regulators, but I can’t help thinking that in so doing this just highlights the weaknesses of CSPs that are still thinking like CSPs. This is their traditional and comfortable position, but whilst it continues they are sinking further down the value chain and weakening their all-important customer relationships. Two steps forward with the OTT partnerships, but two steps back again with the regulators.

Back in the centre of Barcelona, once you could finally catch an FGC train away from Fira Gran Via, there were of course the usual array of parties and evening functions to attend. We had two fantastic nights in the Cerillion Tapas Bar, with our evening of Flamenco and Football proving a very popular draw on the Tuesday night, and Poulos Ponderings a big hit on the Wednesday. Never one to shy away from the limelight, we gave the inimitable Tony Poulos a microphone and a stage, and he soon had the audience in hysterics with his light-hearted review of the industry. A great way to wrap up a great week in the Mobile World Capital.

So that’s MWC done for another year, and the preparations begin almost immediately for 2014. Let’s just hope for better weather and some improvements in the transport system.

You can check out all the photos from our week in Barcelona on our Facebook page.

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