MEF16 Takeaways: Energy + Urgency + Collaboration

My takeaways from¬†MEF16¬†can be summed up with three words ‚Äď energy, urgency and collaboration.¬†High energy was palpable throughout the four-day event, generated by attendees who represented more than 250 organizations from 30+ countries. Conference speakers and participants were¬†energized by an¬†urgency to accelerate delivery of the dynamic connectivity experiences demanded throughout our increasingly hyper-connected world. Ultimately, the consensus was¬†that industry collaboration is no longer a question of ‚Äúif‚ÄĚ ‚Ästbut ‚Äúhow and when‚ÄĚ.

Surveys of the MEF community are helping to measure industry progress toward more agile/dynamic, assured and orchestrated Third Network services. Topline research results from the most recent MEF-Vertical Systems Group study, Emerging Third Network Services Enabled By LSO, SDN, NFV & CE 2.0, were presented at MEF16.

  • Faster service provisioning¬†was cited as¬†the¬†top driver for deploying Third Network services by 88% of the 2016 survey respondents. This¬†was also the most important driver in our¬†benchmark 2015 survey.
  • Orchestration across multiple provider networks requires industry collaboration was the top challenge based on 91% of the respondents. Closely following was the most important challenge from the 2015 survey, Current OSS/BSS systems are inadequate to support dynamic services.

Research findings also showed that dynamic Ethernet service offerings deployed or¬†planned through 2017 are¬†on track, while plans for the 2018+ time frame are solidifying. At¬†MEF16, this trend was supported as¬†many network providers discussed¬†their revenue-generating services¬†or deployment plans. Notably, AT&T, Level 3 and Telstra ‚Ästcompanies with¬†dynamic Ethernet services profiled in our 2015 study¬†‚Äď shared updates on customer installations and service enhancements.

Collaboration was alive at MEF16 with the Proof of Concept Showcase (PoC), which included 14 groups demonstrating multi-vendor orchestration. Two of these groups were selected to receive MEF Excellence Awards for Third Network PoC. CenturyLink, Ciena, Blue Planet and RAD exhibited multi-vendor service orchestration using open APIs. Comcast Business, Sparkle, Tata Communications, ECI and Viavi demonstrated the provisioning of bandwidth on demand across multiple service/cloud providers.

The bottom line from MEF16 is that progress in the year ahead will require agreement on standards plus industry collaboration. The MEF community is actively working to make it happen.

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