DigiWorld 2013: Telecoms firms must embrace cloud and learn from OTT rivals

Dor Skuler, the vice president and general manager of the CloudBand business unit at Alcatel-Lucent, delivered a very thought-provoking speech at DigiWorld 2013.

His presentation revolved around the future of the telecommunications industry, and the threat posed to it by over-the-top (OTT) services like WhatsApp and Viber, which have exploded in popularity recently.

"We have given our lunch to the OTTS," he said, referring to his opinion that the telecoms industry is in desperate need of a makeover. Skuler believes that, while rival services have promoted themselves well and caught up to the established players, telecoms firms have made the process easy.

According to Skuler, telecoms companies are approaching modern-day problems with outdated, '1990s' solutions, and this has to change.

He thinks that the embracing the cloud is the best way to get back on track, since it can be highly-scalable, fully-automated, open source and inexpensive. Most of all, however, it can significantly improve time to market. According to Skuler, it is about time that firms took IT capabilities and adapted them to meet telecommunications needs.

However, he accepts that outside influences have also helped shape the current landscape. "Amazon changed the world for the software industry," he admitted, crediting the company with 'taking the complexity out' of the process for OTT services.

But all is by no means lost for the telecoms market, which is now in a position where it can learn from its competitors. What Skuler wants to see in the future is a greater focus from firms on becoming agile enough to adequately meet the requirements of consumers.