think digital
ETNO
European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association

2015

| ETNO

ETNO ThinkDigital Interview: “I cannot predict the future, but we can only expect exciting new digital developments.”

Luis Jorge Romero, ETSI’s Director General explains how standardisation creates a healthy business environment and benefits consumers in the latest #ThinkDigital interview.

How to you see the networks of tomorrow evolving? What role will telcos play in this evolution?

Networks will continue to evolve. The ultimate aim for consumers is to always get the connectivity they need whenever they need it, and with the desired quality. To always have coverage. No throttling. No congestion. Though we might feel we are getting closer, we all know there is a long way to go.

These stringent requirements will obviously need the evolution of technology, but also the way in which this technology is deployed. So operators have many roles to play. Networks will keep on being key to connectivity – unless human beings develop the capability of telepathy of course! And operators will not only have to plan, deploy and make networks available to customers, but will also have to drive the requirements that will enable them to offer their customers what they demand. And at a reasonable cost, both in terms of capital and operational expenditures. As we know, connectivity doesn’t come for free. Networks have a cost that someone has to pay for.

As M2M, 5G and the Internet of Things are revolutionising Europe’s digital environment, what would your advice be to regulators and policymakers?

Regulators and policymakers should keep up with the advancement in technologies and the business models enabled by such progress. And the best way of so doing is to get closer and closer to those who are at the core of these developments, i.e. the ICT sector at large.

In Europe, regulation is heavily dependent on standardisation. There are close working relationships between the industry standardisation bodies such as ETSI, and regulators and policymakers at national and European level. These relationships should be developed, and this approach to regulation maintained.

Most of the key aspects to consider in the development of a given technology are discussed within standardisation bodies and trade associations. These bodies and associations allow for different views and thus provide a good source of contrasting information which helps understand what’s at stake.

The main role of regulators and policymakers is to help the market develop healthily. Understanding what’s coming would therefore help them better prepare to encourage investment in the relevant areas. In parallel, such an understanding can enable them to know in which areas regulation is inevitable, and where it can be reduced to the minimum required.

In what way does standardisation help create a healthy business environment for the telecom industry and how does this benefit consumers?

Standardisation is the coming together of all interested parties to develop the technical specifications of a given technology. It is thanks to standardisation, that the same technical specifications are used by different manufacturers to develop products. These products can therefore be interoperable - in theory. We all know that it takes a bit more, but it is all part of the standardisation process. The standardisation of a product also means that it can be produced in mass scale globally, which allows manufacturers to produce at lower costs (mass production). This in turn leads to a faster introduction in the marketplace, leading again to higher demand and hence more mass production and more affordable prices for the end consumer.

Standardisation is all about working to improve on the latest stage of development as opposed to  “reinventing the wheel”. This has a direct and positive impact on the pace of innovation in markets. When setting a standard, there are minimum sets of functionality, safety, security and quality that all products need to comply with, which is beneficial to the end consumer. And what’s more, policymakers can rely on standards to ease access to their markets.

And these are just a few of the positives of standardisation!

Technology is developing rapidly, can you describe the impact this will have on cities, cars and people?

We are already seeing how everything is getting connected. Some years ago the mobile phone became the only thing no one would forget when leaving home. This shows the thirst for connectivity in people. We are starting to see everything being connected to everything. These connected “things” will feed service providers (of any kind of service) with tons of very valuable raw data. In turn, the providers will be able to deal with all this data and start to provide very valuable information to our daily lives, enabling the management of all services within a city, making them more efficient and effective whilst less expensive. In principle, there should be no need to drive a car (except for fun, in a circuit) and car accidents should disappear – which I see as getting rid of a modern disease. People’s behaviour will for sure evolve with all the new facilities at hand. I cannot predict the future, but if we look back at only 10 years of our own ICT history and analyse the changes in behaviour that technology has induced in people, we can only expect exciting digital developments over the next 10 years.

By Joanne Mazoyer for #ThinkDigital, 21 September 2015

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Luis Jorge Romero, Director General of ETSI

Luis Jorge Romero has more than 20-years experience in the telecommunications sector.  At ETSI he has initiated a global standardization partnership for Machine to Machine communications, oneM2M, has overseen the rapid development of ETSI’s Industry Specification Group on Network Functions Virtualization, and has driven the implementation of the ETSI Long Term Strategy, an ambitious plan to prepare the institute for the future. Previously he has held diverse Director positions in Spain, Morocco and Mexico, predominantly with Telefonica. As Global Director for International Roaming and Standards, and Director of Innovation and Standards, he oversaw Telefonica's participation in global standardization activities, and participated directly in the work of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance and in the GSM Association (GSMA). Before joining ETSI in July 2011, he held the position of Director General of Innosoft and was also a partner and board member of Madrid-based Innology Ventures.


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