I was at the Comptel show in Orlando, FL earlier this week and everything appeared to be pretty much business as usual. The number of exhibitors were down about 10% from the last Comptel show, but overall the quantity and quality of business activity was good.
The interesting new development apparent at this Comptel show is the new emphasis on managed services and the emergence of cloud computing. I suppose capital limitations are forcing some operators to avoid capital outlays and prompting others to repackage their services to meet the demand.
I had been skeptical about cloud computing, thinking it was just another marketing buzzword for hosted services. However, Kelly Sparks, Chief Architect for Pac-West Telecomm, gave me an insightful description of their cloud computing plans. It will be much more than just hosted servicess. The Pac-West Telecomm cloud computing offer will leverage their private network in ways that cannot be matched by cloud computing services offered over the Internet.
Their plans make a lot of sense. They will not be competing with the likes of Amazon.com; instead, they will focus on customers and telecom applications that need a dedicated network and service level assurance (SLA). In some respects Pac-West will become a distribution channel for their cloud application vendors. An interesting new carrier business model that is beyond simple network management.