Confessions of a Reformed Telecom Engineer that Escaped to the Edge of Clouds
August 17th, 2019
I probably know as much about the dual worlds of mobile and cloud as anyone and perhaps this explains some of the quirks in my personality. I actually started as a software engineer many years ago (although my professors in University might say they have no memory of that given where I ended up). Within Ericsson, I moved from software development to network rollout to mobile internet business development to marketing to business consulting to telecom innovation and back again; straddling the worlds of mobility, broadband, and cloud as they all developed in parallel. In 2014, at Ericsson I teamed up with Jason Hoffman to help in the cloud efforts (which is still pretty “Telco” oriented as you might imagine). Finally, for the last ~20 months at MobiledgeX, I’ve been deeply immersed in the full, crazymaking, dual worlds of Telco and Cloud (which perhaps explains my now even “edgier” personality — others would have to comment).
In this 5G-centric white paper, we’ve tried to capture the essence of these two worlds. They are intrinsically different because of the much broader use of standards in Telco (which is essential to the global system working), and how those standards then dictate a long, complex and expensive generational system, with the unfortunate need to sell the future that no one really understands until it emerges.
Even ten years ago, the worlds of cellular and cloud were pretty distinct, each marching to its own drummer. Now they are intrinsically intertwined: mobile access is an important and growing part of Internet use; making mobile access as good as it can be is important to the progress of the cloud. Each needs the other; each needs to understand the other as much as possible. Neither can just operate like the other — it’s more “complicated.”
The paper attempts to explain all of that to people without a great deal of mobile ecosystem experience. It was fun writing it in part because I did it with Peter Christy, a reformed industry analyst that Jason and I met while at Ericsson (when Peter ran networking coverage for 451 Research) and who has been helping us at MobiledgeX. We hope you find it useful (and readable). If you have thoughts on the topic, bring them on!