Last week I attended the TM Forum Management World 2011 conference, which was held for the first time in Dublin, Ireland.  Over 3,500 attendees including nearly 200 service providers participated in the event, the largest group ever to attend the conference, which is sponsored by the TM Forum, a global industry association focused on helping simplify the complexity of running a service provider’s business. For me, the highlights of the event were in the renewed positive energy and focus of the delegates, vendors, and service providers in identifying opportunities for communication service providers to innovate and collaborate in new ways in order to address emerging opportunities in the communications industry.

Keynote presentations during the forum highlighted the diverse perspectives from traditional telecom operators and new participants in the communications industry. For example, Kevin Peters, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Business Solutions highlighted the network as a critical asset that is global, efficient, and robust with the ability to connect billions of smartphone devices and the growing number of machine-to-machine (M2M) end points. These connected devices use the network to provide intelligence and insight into the status of objects, items, and people. Stephen Shurrock, Chief Executive Officer, Telefonica O2 Ireland, highlighted the ability to deliver a wide variety of new mobile applications and services.

In contrast, Colm Long, Head of EMEA at Facebook highlighted the role of Facebook in connecting users, who are increasingly going mobile. Of the approximately 500 million Facebook users worldwide, 250 million of these users are accessing Facebook using mobile devices. In addition, Colm Long also highlighted the key goals of Facebook’s Open Compute Project, which will guide the firm’s future technology investments, including using efficient server technology, finding ways to use energy efficiently, and using an open architecture.

Innovation was also a clear theme at the conference. There were 20 Catalyst projects and case studies that highlighted new opportunities for communication vendors and service providers to collaborate and develop new, innovative solutions.  Examples of Catalyst projects include showing an example of the M2M service support platform, China Mobile’s plans to move OSS/BSS services onto a cloud environment, and applying best practices to business processes in the cloud. Overall, the conference highlighted a renewed sense of purpose, focus, and energy among vendors and communications service providers to identify new and innovative ways of working together and deploying services to customers who live in an increasingly connected, mobile world.  If you attended this event, it would be great to hear your impression as well.