As I reflect on my recent participation at the ROCCO Genesis event in Lisbon, a two-day conference dedicated to innovation in roaming and interconnect in the mobile industry, I find myself torn between admiration for the event’s ambition and a sense of concern about the industry’s reluctance to fully embrace the future.

Firstly, I must commend the ROCCO team, led by Jason Bryan and Dhiraj Wazir, for their laudable effort in organizing an event of this magnitude. The Genesis event was an admirable attempt at sparking conversations around innovation in the mobile industry, with a line-up that included TelcoBoost Talks, Hackathons and an Innovator Lion’s Den, in addition to a number of thought-provoking presentations on innovation in general. The event’s agenda was a testament to the potential of such gatherings to serve as a platform for industry players to explore the future together.

State of CPaaS 2023

I was given the privilege to be part of the innovation kick off in the morning of the first day of the event, with a presentation on how Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) is creating opportunities and challenges for Communication Service Providers (CSPs). Based on our recent State of CPaaS 2023 report which looks at CPaaS beyond the traditional messaging/OTP domain, the presentation was met with enthusiasm, seemed to resonate with many attendees and led to a number of valuable discussions during the many networking breaks and at the excellent reception in the evening. Lisbon never disappoints in that sense.

However, as the event progressed, I observed a pattern that left me somewhat disheartened: the focus soon shifted back to the ‘business as usual’ approach, with discussions mostly revolving around incremental improvements such as messaging fraud detection, VoLTE, and wireless roaming.

While these topics are undoubtedly important, and especially fraud is a bit of a ticking bomb as it erodes trust in the entire messaging industry, they represent only a fraction of the innovation potential in the industry! The industry’s preoccupation with the past and present is overshadowing the compelling opportunities of the future, particularly in relation to CPaaS (beyond messaging) and network APIs. It’s as if my CPaaS presentation was a brief spark of inspiration that got lost in the more routine topics of the day.

It’s Time for a Real Genesis

This trend is not unique to the Genesis event but is rather symptomatic of a broader issue within the telecoms industry. We need to move beyond incremental changes and tackle transformative innovations head-on. As the ‘go-to’ platform for CPaaS, the CPaaS Acceleration Alliance (CPaaSAA) is dedicated to this mission. We believe that CPaaS represents a significant leap forward for the industry, opening up new avenues for value creation and customer engagement, in an era where customer experience and digital transformation are at the top of every enterprise’s mind.

The Genesis event was an important reminder of the work that lies ahead. I applaud the ROCCO team for their initiative and a very professional and enjoyable event, and look forward to greater collaborations between ROCCO and CPaaSAA in the future. Both organizations are committed to fostering innovation in the mobile industry, and together, we can make a significant impact.

As for the industry at large, it’s time for a real genesis. A genesis in how we think about innovation, how we approach problem-solving, and how we envision the future of (mobile) communication. Let’s not just talk about the future – let’s create it!

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Over the past 30 years Rob (co-)founded various tech companies, including one of the leading Dutch hosted voice providers (before hosted voice became the new normal). Today, he works with telcos/CSPs and some of the world’s leading technology providers on innovation and growth, especially in the rapidly changing world of cloud communications and CPaaS. Rob has this crazy belief that the strengths of corporates and innovators should be combined in new ecosystems to create optimal customer experience, new business models and solutions for some of today’s big problems.

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