By Susan Fourtané
BROADBAND WORLD FORUM 2017 — More than 4,200 industry leaders representing 1,500 companies from 79 countries gathered last week in Berlin at the Broadband World Forum Telecoms Conference & Industry Event (BBWF) to find solutions to their biggest challenges, and to keep pace with the latest technology trends and innovations. The one-of-its-kind global event focuses holistically on the networks.
The BBWF was held in London the past two years. In 2017, the BBWF was held for the first time in the German capital. This coincides with an exciting time of broadband investment in Germany. The German Federal Ministries will invest 20 billion euros to roll-out Gigabit connectivity in Germany, backed by 80 million euros from private investment. This year’s BBWF official operator partner was Deutsche Telekom (DT).
Why Berlin? Berlin is the center of the creative economy in Germany. Here, the digital economy intersects with the telecommunications industry. Berlin has the largest fiber-optic network in Europe. With 6 million residents from about 190 nations, the high-quality of life and a comparatively low-cost of living, Berlin has emerged as a lively high-technology oriented startup hub. After the announcement of Brexit in 2016, entrepreneurs and investors have found in Berlin a quick and “unbureaucratic” support during relocation.
Berlin Smart City strategy has positioned the city as one of the leading smart cities in Europe. With smart infrastructure, the “micro smart grid” is an example of the interaction of different energy producers and consumers with a high proportion of renewable energy.
More than 100 exhibitors shared the exhibition floor, which was bubbling with exciting features including the Innovation Showcase, OCP Experience Area, InterOp Pavilion, the UBB2020 and Gigabit Innovation Zone Free Content Theaters, and Chill and Charge zones.
The vendor community showcased more than 200 innovations in the latest technology and solutions, with live demos and product launches. The latest network technology and top content were matched with an A-list of 300 speakers giving life to the most important event for the global broadband industry.
Some of the hottest topics included next-generation networks; virtualization and the cloud; monetizing consumer and business services; and of course, the Internet of Everything (IoE).
The Broadband Awards held in an iconic venue offered several surprises, well-deserved recognition to the work done, as well as a healthy quota of motivation for next year, when we all will head to the German capital once again in the knowledge that we will be taking part in shaping the future of broadband connectivity.
Click through our gallery below to see highlights and to read a recap from this important event.
Photo credits: Susan Fourtané and BBWF
Before BBWF kicked off, Adtran gathered press and analysts at the old Deutsche Telekom Hauptstadtrepräsentanz, an iconic setting in the heart of Berlin. The elegant architecture converges an atmosphere where old meets new, past meets future, and where ADTRAN executives covered industry trends including the Gigabit Society presented by Dr. Iris Henseler-Unger, Managing Director of WIK, and the Gigabit Chase, a comprehensive overview by Ronan Kelly, ADTRAN’s CTO of APAC and EMEA Regions.
Fixed Wireless and The Future of 5G had Hossam Salib, VP cable and wireless strategy, and Steve Greaves, ADTRAN CEO, CCS, led the audience into the market evolution toward 5G and the end-to-end disruption we can expect to see. "5G enables new business models,” said Greaves.
Adtran won the Broadband Award for Best Fixed Access Solution.
An interesting fact about the old Deutsche Telekom building is that it was originally built as the Central Imperial Telegraph Office. The Representative Office is now considered the largest and oldest building from the early days of telecommunication that has been preserved.
"The network is beyond the human brain capacity,” said Jess Li, CTO Group at ZTE Corp. during his keynote presentation. He discussed how all physical resources serve as one shared resource pool and the creation of a virtualized IP service.
"SDN is different from 10 years ago,” said Li.
Will We Be Ready for 2020? Operators Discuss Goals
This was one of the crucial questions in several of the discussions at BBWF. Moderated by Ronan Kelly, president of FTTH Council Europe, a panel discussion gave insights on the state of the developments as 2020 is now approaching.
"There is an opportunity for the operator to make sure Wi-Fi is being delivered into the home,” said Gary McLaren, CTO, Hong Kong Broadband Network.
Jean-Francois Fallacher, CEO at Orange Polska, said there will be a complement between 5G and fiber: "They will be complementary. It makes sense for the future of 5G.”
Even though services are being rolled out for the 2020 target, operators are seeing delays in Extra Spectrum. "I can’t see that happening in 2020,” said Leo Lundy, CTO at Imagine Communications.
The Road to 2020: Regulations, Standards, and Open Source
A panel discussion moderated by Robin Mersh, CEO at the Broadband Forum, analyzed the relationship between traditional standards and open source.
"Vendors need to create value by themselves,” said Mersh.
"The industry needs to invest more. What is good about open source is the innovation dynamics,” said Don Clarke, principal architect, network technologies, CableLabs.
"Open source is by implementation, and there’s no doubt that implementation is what we want. In the past we standardize everything. Now you have to create the platform,” said Adrian Scrase, CTO at ETSI.
BBWF was a great time for breakfast briefings. ZTE held a very intimate and friendly press roundtable where Xiao Ming, the company's senior vice president, announced ZTE's future business and broadband strategy for Europe, and Germany in particular, including ideas on how to support development of the Gigabit Society. For this, ZTE is seeking new partners with operators in Europe.
In June, ZTE achieved a 1.8GB/sec download speed for the first time in the industry thanks to an innovative MHz solution based on R&D innovation.
"We are aiming to install the first commercial deployments of 5G in Europe by the third quarter of 2018 and to achieve a comprehensive market maturity by the first quarter of 2019,” said Ming.
Ming said that ZTE sees "positioning in the EU market as a strategic move” toward the company’s contribution to the global digital society with special focus on smart cities, IoT, and Industrial IoT.
The Forum’s objective is to establish interoperability in the broadband marketplace. The Broadband 2020 vision – launched in 2015 – continues unlocking the potential new markets. NFV, SDN, Ultra-Fast access, IoT, and 5G enable the delivery of exciting ultra-fast broadband applications and services.
In an interview with Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum, he made the importance of fiber to the distribution point (FTTdp) network, and the benefits to operators and their customers clear. FTTdp allows deployment of FTTH ultra-fast broadband network without having to install fiber at the customer premises. FTTdp also offers the opportunity to lower OpEx through reverse powering and remote connectivity configuration.
Mersh sees the following consolidating in 2020:
Chill and Charge. Bratwurst and Step Tracking
Of course, there was also an Oktoberfest bar offering happy hour every day for those willing to taste the famous German beer. Perhaps the calorie-conscious were not happy to know that there are 283 calories in one single stick of bratwurst. The well-known traditional German sausage was an important topic of conversation among the BBWF attendees, almost as important as broadband discussion, or the whopping 12,000 cups of coffee served.
The healthy bunch, those who track their steps, were happy to know they were keeping a good calorie balance, registering 20,000 steps a day or more.
5G will have a paramount impact in the automotive industry. Fully autonomous cars are expected to populate the streets by the early 2020s. Projects for flying urban vehicles are well on their way. With that in mind, a retrospective look at 92 years in the life of the most iconic and luxurious automobile of all times was simply something that couldn’t be missed while in Berlin for BBWF.
Celebrating the launch of the eighth-generation of Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Rolls-Royce Studio opened this month a four-month temporary exhibition in the BMW Haus on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin. All of the previous seven generations of Phantoms are also on display. The Phantom has set the standard in automobile luxury for almost a century.
The Broadband Awards 2017 were held Oct. 25 at the Meistersaal Berlin. The categories and winners of this year’s awards were:
Congratulations to all the winners!
Following a successful first year in Berlin, the BBWF will return to the German capital, Oct. 23-25, 2018, with a new add: The Open Telco Summit.
This new event, which will take place within the BBWF, is aimed at industry disruptors. The Open Telco Summit will focus on the potential of open-source software and hardware to drive innovation and advancement within the industry. In 2018, you can also expect to see more on open and programmable SD-access networks, application of SDN and NFV to enable end-to-end programmability of software-centric networks, and the initial focus on next-generation access: 10G PON, FTTdp, DCA, 5G.