Big Brains Need Big Pipes

Traditionally a big hardware show,
SUPERCOMM has taken on a new look - something akin to the Consumer Electronics Show - in its final incarnation. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but certainly CPE and mobility devices were displayed en masse in booths emblazoned with the trapping of MTV-esque mass marketing - bold graphics, electronic music and dancing. Dancing? Yes, there was dancing - and at the Tellabs’ stand no less.

Of course the big wireless show run by CTIA started this transformation two years ago when it added the descriptor “entertainment” to its tagline. Entertainment was indeed a key theme at SUPERCOMM with IPTV, video streaming, MMS, ringtones, etc., among the hottest wares.

While the emphasis on consumer services brought sex appeal to a show floor filled with cabinets full of electronics and optronics, it also sends the message that telecom is forever changed. There is no turning back. The engineers are on board.

On second thought, I guess this is not such a surprise - today’s geeks are philosophically aligned to back the Internet culture and digital revolution. They are as much driving this transformation as the marketing folks. Indeed their devotion to open-standards computing is creeping into the telco environment, breaking up the stodgy, siloed approach that has been the norm for telephone companies rolling out new services.

An example of this is the IMS, IP Multimedia Subsystem, a wireless standard that is gaining traction with other standards groups in the wireline space for its ability to enable services across any network and any device. While true IMS networks are not deployed today and wont be for some time, service providers are looking seriously at migration to this type of platform. It’s a primary enabler for fixed-mobile convergence and promises to deliver “blended lifestyle services” that offer multimedia services according to user-defined preferences.

Intel’s Sean Maloney told attendees at SUPERCOMM there is going to be an exponential liftoff in computing power people will carry on their bodies. “In five years’ time, the dumbest cell phone will have more intelligence than the PCs used to create the Internet,” he says.

Such big brains will need fat pipes to feed them, he adds.

 Group Editor

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