Pipeline Publishing, Volume 3, Issue 11
This Month's Issue:
The Long Arm of Telecommunications Law
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Pipeline's 2007 Next Gen OSS Integration Summit Retrospective

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By Tim Young, with a special commentary by Wedge Greene

When asked by Pipeline about Intelliden's choice to attend IQPC's Next Gen OSS Integration Summit, Ann Latham says it comes down to the show's “laser-like focus” and its ability to bring in a qualified audience at the director level and above. Latham, Intelliden's Director of Corporate Marketing echoes a sentiment held by many who attended the second Next Gen OSS event, held March 5-7 in Boston. The show had between 100 and 140 attendees, depending on who is doing the counting, so raw numbers couldn't have been a major draw for anyone who attended. However, for companies like Intelliden, the focus is the thing. Like many companies, Intelliden has taken on the strategy of focusing on specific shows for specific content.

So are shows drawing in a hundred people worth the time, effort, and money it takes to attend? That all depends on which hundred people show up. According to Larry Ehrhardt, Senior Director of Communication and Media Solutions for Vitria, everyone wished the show's numbers had been larger, but the mix of vendors to SPs was very desirable at around 50-50. Furthermore, Ehrhardt asserted that this show attracted the buyers and decision-makers. In the boutique setting, vendors like Vitria were able to speak to every service provider and demonstrate their products to them. Latham agreed, saying that the event was superior, in terms of quality of attendees, to much larger shows. She mentioned a recent IPTV show in London that brought in around 2500 attendees, and said that most of them were “worker bees.” The Next Gen OSS show, in her mind, succeeded where the other show had failed. The Next Gen OSS Summit’s organizers strive to attract attendees from among service providers’ decision makers at the Director and VP level.

Vitria, like Intelliden, was one of the show's sponsors. Vitria used the opportunity to hint at a press release that was not officially released until March 19, which dealt with the launch of Business Accelerator, which they promote as the industry’s first open, agnostic enterprise-class integration suite built from the ground up for Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Event-Driven Architecture (EDA).

Ehrhardt also asserted that an intimate show like the Next Gen OSS Integration Summit discourages vendors from “power point noise” and the flashy sales gimmicks seen at the largest events and allows for candid discussions, product demos and case studies. That, according to Event Chair Norman Rice, III of CA, is part of the point. As he stated in the pre-show piece on the event that ran in Pipeline back in February, the goal of this

The Next Gen OSS Summit’s organizers strive to attract attendees from among service providers’ decision makers at the Director and VP level.

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show was to allow vendors an opportunity to listen, learn, and discuss the major trends within the industry. The show was also an opportunity, according to Rice, for CA to really establish itself as a fixture in this space, and maintain brand awareness. While everyone in the industry has, no doubt, heard of CA, many aren't sure what their role is in the OSS space. CA saw this show as an opportunity to amend that, but also to really devote time and energy to promote discussion and debate in real-world terms.

In that regard, according to Rice, the show was a success. As an outgrowth of the numerous panels present throughout the event, a level of honesty and open discourse was reached that was beneficial to all involved.

John Petrie of Progress Software moderated a panel on tackling data integration for OSS. According to Progress Software’s Olaf Kexel, the general consensus among SPs is that data management is very important, but hasn't been given the attention it deserves. The Data Integration panel included representatives from AT&T, BT, and Verizon, which is indicative of exactly the kind of service provider input that made this event worthwhile. It's easy to get vendors to talk about solutions, but when SPs can talk about problems in a realistic and honest way, that makes for informative programming. One source talked of having meaningful conversations with reps from BT, Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, Telecom Italia and T-Mobile, all within a relatively short timeframe.

That level of open discourse helped to unearth a few key issues. According to several individuals present, the need for standards was very much a part of the discourse. While standards have been an issue for years, the conversations was less hypothetical at this event, and more focused on action. “It was a call to arms,” said Rice.

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