Tradeshow Trend Watch: Connected Britain 2021
by Will Mitchell, VETRO CEO
Not Bad? Wicked Awesome!
Last week the VETRO team and I had the privilege of attending and exhibiting at Connected Britain. It was “not bad,” to borrow one of our favorite ironically subtle phrases from our British friends.
There were well over 2,000 attendees at this year’s two-day event, representing a broad spectrum of the telecom sector – from the largest global players to the freshest startups and potential disruptors.
We love Connected Britain because it gives us the opportunity to connect with our UK-based customers; but the educational programs that the event is known for are always incredibly valuable too. We enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of robust discussions around the progress and future of high speed broadband networks in the UK, and to learn about how we can best support our UK partners, customers and colleagues.
Here are a few trends that we picked up on at this year’s Connected Britain show:
Splice to see you!
Everyone was excited to have a human experience after many long months of virtual-only events. For our part, daily COVID tests became opportunities to see more of London on foot, and we were happy to transcend the screen for more meaningful connection.
Big Things are Brewing in Britain
The UK is picking up momentum towards achieving some audacious goals and visions, including an ambitious 85% Gigibit connectivity milestone and NetZero impact in the coming years. A connected country will yield economic, cultural, educational and public health benefits of which the impact can only be partially understood today.
Population Migration Matters
As we’re seeing here in the United States, rural connectivity in the UK continues to encounter both challenges and opportunities. There seems to be a similar urban to rural migration pattern in the pandemic as we are witnessing in the US, and that pattern may pick up steam as rural connectivity improves and expands.
(Not So) Slow and Steady: Build Fast or Build Right?
There is a massive amount of investment and monies being made available to fiber operators and a correspondingly large number of entities looking to build, operate and monetize fiber networks. Many stakeholders are talking about exit strategy from day one, portending a future shake-out, consolidation, and reset, much like other fledgling industries as they reach critical mass.
With all that money available, everyone is in a hurry to build. Here at VETRO, we don’t consider ourselves consultants – but we have seen a lot of patterns play out time and again in our decade-plus of serving telecom customers.
As they say, if you want something done fast, you have to make a choice: will it be cheap or will it be good? While it’s tempting to stake a claim on the future by building out quickly, taking the time to thoughtfully plan a dependable, long-term solution is the strategy that always wins in the end.
Managing Public-Private Partnerships & The Data Needs They Bring
Some of the winners of our current “gold rush” in both the US and the UK are the design-engineering houses who are providing support for many of the new entrants. This makes sense, as any newcomer to an industry as complex as telecom would prefer a trusted source of truth when planning.
These relationships yield momentum in deployment and project completion, but long-term data management and documentation are often overlooked at the project’s start. We urge those embarking upon these new projects to bring a collaborative fiber management platform in from day one to prevent the remediation of documentation debt – or worse, data loss – down the road.
We value the opportunity to connect with our clients and those interested in becoming clients at Connected Britain. Our platform continues to lead the way in providing a central hub for planning, designing, building and operating fiber networks. It was a privilege to share our capabilities at the show and we look forward to sharing more about our observations and hearing yours as well. See you in 2022!