Spotlight on 5G Week

Last week I participated in two of the four sessions of Telecom TV’s Spotlight on 5G week on 5G Edge and 5G Cloud. The format included a pre-recorded discussion that i is published in the morning with then a live after show discussion at the end of each day.

The discussions were hosted by Guy Daniels and Ray Le Maistre. In the 5G Edge discussion, we looked whether 5G applications have been overhyped, the skillset in telco and synergies between the Cloud Service Providers and Telco.

I was a last minute fill in for my colleague Francesca Serrevalle on the Thursday after show session where we discussed in more detail the big news of the day AT&T selling their 5G cloud to Microsoft Azure. Also shared my first memories of MWC….

For a little behind the scenes image though, this is how I filmed the after show on Wednesday, from our campervan ‘Deets’ in the Peak District, testing a new 4G/5G capable antenna with a ruggedized wifi router fitted to my van.

Spotlight on 5G – TelecomTV

Next week I was hoping to be travelling to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2021. With a number of big players pulling out from the physical event and Colt continuing to take a wise precautionary approach to international travel I shall be participating remotely.

As part of the week I will also be involved in Telecom TV’s Spotlight on 5G series each day. I am part of a panel on Wednesday 30th June discussing the 5G & Edge opportunity and will be part of the live after show Q&A in the evening.

Roundtable: 5G Edge: A Winning Combination for Operators?

What are the strategic choices facing telcos as they look to realise the commercial opportunities of 5G and Edge? What are the optimum Edge scenarios available to them? Is the combination of 5G and Edge the formula for success?

  • Beth Cohen, SDN, Product Strategies, Verizon
  • Mark Gilmour, Mobile Connectivity Solutions, Colt Technology Services
  • Renu Navale, Vice President, Data Platforms Group, General Manager, Edge Computing and Ecosystem Enabling Division, Intel
  • Rolf Eberhardt, Head of Orchestration, Communications Technology Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Terje Jensen, Senior Vice President/Head of Global Network Architecture, Director 5G Readiness Strategic Program, Technologies and Services, Telenor

Details here: Strategy Outlook 5G Edge | TelecomTV

Telecom Blitz Week 9th June

LONDON, UK, 2 June, 2021 – Colt Technology Services, a leading provider of world-class network and voice connectivity to businesses in Europe, Asia and the US, today announced that Head of Mobile Connectivity Solutions, Mark Gilmour will speak at FierceTelecom’s “Telecom Blitz Week, Summer Edition,” taking place from 7 – 9 June, 2021.

Gilmour will address attendees on Wednesday 9 June 2021, between 11:00-12:00 pm ET, as one of three speakers in a session titled, “2021 Fiber Technologies and Strategies: Everything You Need to Know.”

The session abstract reads: “A couple of factors are driving momentum behind fiber build-outs in the United States in 2021. One is the deployment of 5G and the necessity of fiber for backhaul, and the other is motivation to close the digital divide, which became more urgent because of Covid. There’s real money on the table in both cases. The wireless carriers are spending capex to deploy fiber backhaul, and the fed is spending money via the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) to close the digital divide. What are the most current fiber technologies that telcos need to understand for 5G backhaul? What issues must be considered for rural deployments of fiber? And what’s the status of next-gen optical such as 400G and beyond?”

Gilmour, an industry veteran with more than two decades of experience, is charged with leading and expanding Colt’s mobile connectivity proposition and plays a pivotal role in driving the company’s mobile strategy. His contribution to the session will center on 5G transport.

The virtual event is free to interested parties, who can learn more and pre-register here.

Telecom Blitz Week: Summer Edition | Fierce Digital Tech Events

How Enterprises will benefit from 5G

Earlier this month I sat down with Richard Piasentin CSO & CMO at Accedian to discuss enterprises and 5G. It was supposed to be a 5 minute interview but we got talking…….. here is the full conversation, I don’t think we stopped enough for the editors to find a natural edit point… enjoy.

Join Richard Piasentin, Chief Strategy & Chief Marketing Officer at Accedian, and Mark Gilmour, VP Mobile Connectivity Solutions at Colt Technology Services, in conversation on the eve of signing a 10-year strategic partnership between the two companies as they discuss:

  • The potential of 5G in supporting enterprise customers
  • The innovations that can already be harnessed
  • Lowering barriers to entry and opportunities for new entrants
  • Hyper local connectivity and edge compute at hyperscaler flexibility
  • Supporting the growth of the connectivity ecosystem
  • The critical importance of visibility and assurance
  • The benefits yielded by the close partnership between Accedian and Colt

Not quite the electric dream

I have been a long time admirer and fan of the electric vehicle movement and have deliberated long and hard about whether or not it could work for me.

A couple of years ago I test drove the BMW i3 and really enjoyed the half an hour in the car, wishing that I had, had longer with the car.  Aside from the initial purchase price and quite worryingly depreciation costs, a major downside for us as a family was that it only had 4 seats.  Our second car needs 5 seats.

Roll forward a couple of years and I noticed that Nissan were advertising a 4 day test drive on their new and improved range Nissan Leaf, therefore I thought I would have another go at trying out to see if I could go electric. For a starter this one had 5 seats and also extended range over the earlier model Leafs.   So a quick phone call to my local Nissan dealership and the salesman informed me that a 4 day test drive would not be a problem and I could come down that afternoon to pick one up.   Excellent. IMG_0165 At the appointed time I arrived. The 2016 30KWH Leaf was 98% charged and ready to go when I arrived.  After discussions about the sort of driving Continue reading “Not quite the electric dream”

Even a wireless network needs wires – Next Generation Optical Networking Conference

Recently I attended and spoke at the Next Generation Optical Networking Conference held in Nice, France.

Key topics discussed during the conference included

  • 100G in the Metro,
  • SDN in the transmission/transport layer
  • IP/Optical Convergence
  • 200/400G Evolution.
  • Datacentre evolution & geographical spread

I spoke at two sessions during the four days.  First in one of the pre-conference workshops WDM-PON Networking. In this session I introduced Three UK and discussed WDM in the access environment for mobile backhaul and participated in a panel discussion with Fabienne Saliou of Orange Labs on the subject.

On the final day I presented to the conference during a section on Fronthaul & mobile backhaul. The title of my paper being “Even a Wireless Network needs Wires.”

I gave an example of a complex mobile backhaul environment and discussed some of the future requirements that architectures such as C-RAN may bring to the transport network.



The Rising Tide of Mobile Data.

Just recently I spoke at my first industry conference of the year, Transport Networks for Mobile Operators Conference held in London.  A good opportunity to strike up some new contacts and business relationships.

In my address I put forward the case for demonstrating that the global rise in mobile data traffic was no longer a tsunami but in fact more of a rising tide with the sea levels rising each year.  I presented statistics from the last 7 years within the Three UK network which has been leading the market in mobile broadband volumes in the UK to illustrate my point.   Being a scuba diver, one who looks for the turning of the daily tides and slack water, I found it interesting that whilst in UK waters we experience two tides (High, Low, High, Low) a day, in the terms of Mobile data usage, there is only one tide in a day.

The Mobile Data Tide
The Mobile Data Tides of the Day

The slide on the right taken from my presentation illustrates a typical midweek day in March 2014, with a low water mark around 5am and a high water mark around 10pm. Weekends also look like this with the axis shifted one hour to the right.  It seems the UK consumer likes to stay in bed an hour later on the weekend and stay up an hour later using their mobile devices.  Month on month, year on year the overall volume of data traffic has continued to rise and overall market and industry trends bear this out and the outlook towards the end of the decade and the development of 5G indicates this will continue.

Michael Carroll, reporting on TNMO 2014 for Fierce Wireless picked up on the analogy for one of his reports on the conference.  Link to report , thanks Michael.

There was a quite a lot of debate on the need for and use of backhaul for small cells, this will be explored further no doubt at the upcoming Small Cells World Summit and Backhaul summit at the Excel Centre, Dockland, London.  I will feature on a couple of panel discussions at that conference, debating the Small Cell Backhaul Demand and how to prepare for small cells.

In the next few weeks I will be attending and participating in the Mobile Network Performance Management Conference, Small Cells World Summit and The Next Generation Optical Networking Summit.


Driving Electric.

IMG_1074I have recently had my first experience of driving a true all electric car (the dodgems at the fairground don’t count) and I was impressed.

My electric vehicle was the recently released BMW i3 from Cooper BMW in Reading. For my test drive I was accompanied by Katherine from the product genius team (reminiscent of an Apple store) who quickly explained some of the nuances that I should expect during my test drive. Most notable the regenerative braking on the accelerator pedal. (I’ll come back to that).

After Katherine explained the controls to me it was my turn behind the wheel.  There were two things I noticed as I pulled away, the lack of noise and the instant response to the throttle pedal. It was the instant response to a dab of the throttle pedal that led to discovering just what is meant by regenerative braking as I would accelerate off through ill-judgment of the amount of pressure needed on the pedal and then immediately slow to a complete stop as I lifted off the pedal (triggering the regenerative braking) before then applying the normal brake pedal. A minute or two of jolty accelerate/brake driving around the tesco car park and then I was used to it and off we went around Caversham and Reading.  After 45 minutes of getting used to that accelerator pedal, I was very impressed with the around town driving experience.  In hindsight I would have liked to spend a little more time experiencing dual carriageways and the M4 to see how it coped in those environments, but there was nothing that I noted that would cause a problem.

This car proves that the technology is developing to enable real life all-electric driving.  Range is definitely the big question mark but can be addressed by a serious evaluation of the type of driving that one does.  Looking at the driving I do, I believe this car can manage for 80% of the journeys I do.  There is also the option of the range-extender little petrol generator that can be fitted to enable the other 20% of journeys.

The only negative of the experience is the upfront capital cost.  The BMW i3 is expensive for the car class that it falls into the premium supermini, even compared to the in-house marque Mini which is a full £10-15,ooo cheaper. It is however a self-perpetuating problem though, volume will bring the prices down, but at present this is still niche, a fascinating niche at that though.




Overcoming Hutber’s Law

Hutber’s law* states that progress doesn’t necessarily mean improvement and indeed means deterioration. How often is this proved correct? We can all cite an example when a perceived advance or change in the name of progress has not brought about improvement, especially to quality of life.
One of the interesting parts of my job working in strategy is looking at how future progress and change is going to bring improvements, either to our customers or our bottom line, the ideal solution is when both the customer experience and the bottom line is improved. Recently I have been taking a look at future innovations and technology changes in the mobile industry and in the wider industry.

Last week as part of this, I had the opportunity to visit the BT innovation centre at their research labs in Ipswich where they collect, investigate and promote innovation in technology. Continue reading “Overcoming Hutber’s Law”