Friday, 20 January 2017

Telcos whack their way to WCA glory

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Friday 02 December 16

London's biggest, poshest tent played host this week to a star-studded telecoms awards ceremony, replete with double entendres and gangland undertones.

Total Telecom's 18th annual World Communication Awards took a turn for the slightly sinister this year, when one of our esteemed judges warned that most of the audience was going to get whacked. "That's business," said Janet Watkin, CEO of customer experience analysis firm Ocean82, and now Don of the WCA, which is henceforth known as the capofamiglia of telecoms award ceremonies. Fortunately, Watkin meant "whacked" in the sense of being out-competed at the awards by a rival, rather than being taken from the WCA venue – which this year was the surprisingly warm Supernova tent on London's Victoria Embankment – given a fetching pair of concrete slippers, and tossed in the Thames…

Total Telecom's 18th annual World Communication Awards took a turn for the slightly sinister this year, when one of our esteemed judges warned that most of the audience was going to get whacked.

"That's business," said Janet Watkin, CEO of customer experience analysis firm Ocean82, and now Don of the WCA, which is henceforth known as the capofamiglia of telecoms award ceremonies.

Fortunately, Watkin meant "whacked" in the sense of being out-competed at the awards by a rival, rather than being taken from the WCA venue – which this year was the surprisingly warm Supernova tent on London's Victoria Embankment – given a fetching pair of concrete slippers, and tossed in the Thames.

"Come back stronger next year, and whack your competitors back," she advised.

Ably refereeing the proceedings on Tuesday night, like some sort of telecoms consigliere, was journalist and TV presenter Mariella Frostrup.

She made sure the whacking didn't get out of hand, that is until one of the category presenters went slightly off-script towards the end of the ceremony.

"I'm Australian and where I'm from, whacking means something completely different," said this particular individual – who shall remain nameless – before he was urged by Frostrup to get back on topic.

Speaking of which, the competition was particularly fierce this year, and only two telcos – PCCW Global and Vietnam's Viettel Group – won in more than one category each. There were also 10 highly commended runners up.

PCCW Global scooped the Innovation Award: Operator category, and the highly-prized Users' Choice Award, which is decided based on an Ocean82 survey of telcos' enterprise customers.

Meanwhile, Viettel's Burundi unit, Lumitel, deservedly won Best Brand and Best Operator in an Emerging Market, thanks to a pragmatic approach to launching in a developing country that saw Lumitel add a million customers in four months, giving it a 31% share of the market.

French incumbent Orange had reason to celebrate too, winning Digital Service Provider of the Year.

When it comes to repositioning itself as an enabler of the digital lifestyle, rather than a humble connectivity provider, Orange whacked its way to victory thanks to its all-encompassing Essentials2020 strategy.

Also worthy of mention in Total Telecom's tent of triumph were NTT Communications, winner of Best Global Operator; fibre-to-the-building provider Hyperoptic, which won the Broadband Pioneer Award; Vodafone Carrier Services, which was recognised for pulling off the Best Network Transformation Initiative; and Singtel, which put in another strong showing in the Best Enterprise Service category.

In addition, Deutsche Telekom's Bruno Jacobfeuerborn won CTO of the Year, while Telkomsel's Ririek Adriansyah was voted CEO of the Year.

The Internet of Things Awards (IoTAs) also returned for the third time, with AT&T the big winner, picking up the IoT Changemaker 2016 award for its comprehensive range of IoT solutions.

The full roll of honour follows below.

With political upsets in the U.K. and U.S. this year and the uncertainty they have created, it would be fair to say that at the beginning of Tuesday night's proceedings, there may have been one or two people in the audience questioning whether there is much about 2016 to celebrate.

But by the end of the night, the WCA again proved that when smart, capable people come together and get whacking, amazing things can and do happen.

As Frostrup said in her closing remarks: "the World Communications Awards will be back for the 19th time next year. Or, depending how Donald Trump gets on with North Korea, in 10,000 years."

Indeed, whatever happens, they'll be back, and they definitely won't be whack.

ROLL OF HONOUR

Most Innovative IoT Solution
Philips e-Alert
 
Best Smart Enterprise Initiative
Telstra Corporation - Smart Venue Solution
NTT Communications - IoT Platform [Highly Commended]
 
The Smart Cities Award
Bristol is Open - Programmable City Initative
 
Best Connectivity Solution
Cloudstreet Dynamic Profile Controller (DPC)
 
IoT Changemaker 2016
AT&T
 
Best Brand
Viettel Group - Lumitel
Orange [Highly Commended]
Telstra Corporation [Highly Commended]
 
Best Customer Care
Telenor Pakistan
Ooredoo Myanmar [Highly Commended]
 
The Social Contribution Award
Smart Communications - TechnoCart
TELIN [Highly Commended]
 
Best Enterprise Service
Singtel ConnectPlus Software-Defined Wide Area Network
Telstra Corporation - Global Cloud Service [Highly Commended]
 
Best Network Transformation Initiative
Vodafone Carrier Services
AT&T [Highly Commended]
 
The Cloud Infrastructure Award
Interoute - Virtual data Centre
 
The Innovation Award - Vendor
Vmware - vCloud NFV Platform
 
The Innovation Award - Operator
PCCW Global - GlobalView
Telekom Research & Development Sdn Bhd [Highly Commended]
 
CTO of the Year
Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO Deutsche Telekom AG and Director of Technology Telekom Deutschland GmbH
 
The Broadband Pioneer Award
Hyperoptic
 
Users' Choice
PCCW Global - winner
 
Best Wholesale Operator
Tata Communications
 
Best Operator in an Emerging Market
Viettel Group
Roshan [Highly Commended]
 
Digital Service Provider of the Year
Orange 
 
Best Global Operator
NTT Communications 
AT&T [Highly Commended]
 
CEO of the Year
Ririek Adriansyah – Telkomsel
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