Analysts tip cloud to remain center stage at MWC 2022

TelcoDR’s Cloud City may not be on site at the Fira Gran Via this year, but a trio of analysts told Fierce they still expect to hear plenty of chatter about the cloud in the conference halls at MWC Barcelona next week.

The public cloud became an MWC focal point last year, when TelcoDR scooped up Ericsson’s abandoned floor space to build a Cloud City booth and jumpstart conversations about the technology’s role in next-generation networks. While Cloud City is going virtual this year, analysts said interest in the cloud certainly isn’t going away.

Futuriom founder Scott Raynovich said the cloud will “absolutely” be a major theme at MWC 2022 given “most organizations are figuring out where cloud, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures fit into their strategies for delivering new services and applications.” He tipped hybrid and multi-cloud support, Kubernetes and security to be key topics of discussion this year, adding he also expects “to hear a lot about private wireless, edge cloud and SASE services” as well.

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Moor Insights and Strategy Senior Analyst Will Townsend agreed cloud news will get plenty of attention, but predicted RAN-related items will take center stage. “Most, if not all, of the traditional infrastructure providers offer a Cloud RAN solution and I expect there will be announcements related to scale out and functionality enhancements,” he explained.

Roy Chua of AvidThink had a slightly longer list. He said show-goers should expect to hear more about network workloads run on hyperscale clouds and how regional and local clouds (like AWS Local Zones), mobile edge clouds and hybrid clouds need to be enhanced to support telco workloads. He said orchestration across clouds will be another point of interest, as will IoT workloads and the use of cloud-based artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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“Telcos are looking to tap the intelligence within those services for use in their businesses: revenue optimization; customer experience (CX) improvements including smarter self-service, recommendation engines, next-best-action assist for customer care teams; infrastructure and network operations optimization, including RAN optimization, network management and automation, including smarter assurance and self-healing/or assisted-root-cause and remediation solutions,” he said.

Under the radar

Though there is expected to be plenty of talk about the cloud at MWC, the analysts said there are a number of topics which deserve more attention than they’ll likely get. Chua predicted governance of data across clouds, sensitive data management, cost management and the telco skills gap to be among these. For his part, Townsend said he expects discussions around the “challenges that come with introducing cloud on-ramps and managing the subsequent telco complexities” to be lacking.

Meanwhile, Raynovich said it’s “still not clear which applications will emerge as killer apps for 5G and cloud edge services”. So he indicated he’d like to learn more about use cases including factory automation, computer vision and retail analytics.