TM Forum’s annual Telco/CSP conference, DTW Ignite 2024, is now a wrap, and after visiting Copenhagen with around 4,000 attendees, here are the top three things I learned through both speaking engagements and private conversations:


1. Practical Gen AI utilization is currently about saving time while learning to automate fully.


The “Generative” part of Gen AI can learn quickly, and guardrails are already in place for how fast Gen AI applies learning, so the pace of automation can depend on the complexity of the task.


An easy way to understand this practically is in the case of a customer service chatbot. The depth to which the chatbot can automate open text Q&A depends on the amount of customer service data available where customers have affirmed that the final answer satisfied their question. Today, most Gen AI customer service chatbots are adept at handling some level of customer queries and account lookup information before sending the customer to a live CSR - saving that CSR time. However, as the live chats between customers and CSR are “read” by the Gen AI chatbot over time, that same Gen AI can get closer and closer to full automation without involving a live CSR.


Now let’s talk eCommerce in the same context - at the same time as Ignite, Vodafone Group launched a YouTube video on the Economy of Things (EoT) - beyond the Internet of Things (IoT) where interrelated devices connect and exchange data, EoT describes the ability for interrelated devices to make automated purchases without human intervention. Applying a layer of Gen AI on top of EoT can quickly transform any purchase process, again going from a time-saving effort today (“Notify me when the price for this item drops to the lowest price for the last 12 months”) to an automation in the future (the Gen AI assistant of your choice asks, “Do you want me to automatically buy that for you when it hits the lowest price in the last 12 months, and do you want me to price check across all the retailers you’ve purchased from in the last 12 months?”).


2. Telcos/CSPs are quickly adopting TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA)


In my 20+ years in tech, I’ve been involved in a number of “industry standards” meant to facilitate the integration of disparate providers and customer onboarding processes. However, these standards ended up making integration more difficult rather than streamlined.


The TM Forum ODA, however, is doing an excellent job of balancing a blueprint that is structured enough with its’ Open APIs to provide real value in the integration layer while actively enacting change to ensure the same APIs evolve to meet the complexities faced by Telco/CSP integrations. It’s a prime reason that Broadleaf is a member of TM Forum, and I was glad to hear of the growing adoption, which is evident from personal conversations with CSPs from the Americas, Europe, MENA, and APAC.


3. Globally, CSPs focus on serving the SMB space through B2B Marketplaces.


During the Ignite conference, I had three meetings with different geographically based, multi-billion-dollar CSPs, who all stated the same problem: “We need to serve the SMB market better with a one-stop B2B Marketplace.”


Many third-party B2B Marketplace vendors provide access to hundreds of vendors across thousands of products, with pre-negotiated terms for resellers, automated bundles/promos, and even customer portals for self-service on product subscriptions and account tracking. At the same time, CSPs want to add their vendors and products, negotiate their commercials, put together their own bundles/promos, and expand a customer portal beyond the third-party B2B Marketplace’s vendor products. This is where Broadleaf fits as a first-party Marketplace platform!


For Telcos/CSPs who want to manage their own Vendor selections and commercials, Broadleaf can partner in handling integrations and technical onboarding while also integrating into the same network of third-party B2B Marketplace vendors and products.


Whether talking EoT, Open APIs, or B2B Marketplaces, coming out of DTW Ignite 2024, I’m more confident than ever that Broadleaf has the right technology to help your Communication Service Provider become a Digital Service Provider - and you can always book time with me to discover more!