TelcoDR, the public cloud telco evangelist and owner of software companies Skyvera and Totogi, will not be exhibiting at MWC 2022.
Despite riding into the show’s cut-down 2021 edition in a blaze of publicity and quotable barbs aimed at the event’s traditional big spenders, TelcoDR has decided its Cloud City event will take only a virtual form this year.
TelcoDR’s CEO, Danielle Royston, told TMN that we are just on the “wrong side” of the Omicron Covid wave, and that as a result there’s a danger top telco execs will be cautious about travelling to the event, and potentially getting trapped in quarantine protocols.
“The value of MWC for us is in meetings, and when we looked at where we were with Omicron, it looked a little different from 2021 in that we are on the wrong side of the wave. And so we felt that we could maximise the number of meetings by having a really great virtual presence.”
I think when you go and poll people about their attendance they are still a little bit on the fence
Last year, TelcoDR’s physical presence included a super yacht and an Aston Martin, a Jon Bon Jovi set, and a cast of dozens of human and robot booth hosts. Not to mention an on-stage keynote where Royston dubbed herself the Elon Musk of telecoms – just a day or so before the actual Elon Musk also dropped in via livelink to the event. So some might say it takes chutzpah to follow all that up by not renewing the following year.
Royston is unfazed. “I am the one who went seven months ago, they [the major vendors who withdrew from 2020 and 2021] haven’t been for three years. I was there outside of a wave, no-one else went and I built my flow. So they need to go because they haven’t been at MWC for three years.
“I would love to go but again the goal is it’s a deal making show, it’s a meeting event, and we’re in the middle of a very contagious wave – and I think when you go and poll people about their attendance they are still a little bit on the fence. We spent tens of millions of dollars seven months ago, and what we’re doing now makes economic sense.”
Royston confirmed that she expects to be back in 2023 – “I’m not pulling away from MWC” – and she pointed out that she is again speaking at this year’s event and that TelcoDR is listed as a featured exhibitor on the MWC App. Cloud City’s virtual exhibition platform is being built and hosted by TelcoDR itself, rather than being located within the GSMA’s own MWC site.
In March 2021, when Ericsson pulled out of the June event, Royston spotted a chance to grab a prolonged bout of publicity for TelcoDR and its new entity Totogi. A hastily assembled Cloud City exhibit gathered together a range of players, all with software that could be deployed in public cloud environments.
Since then Royston has announced the launch of Skyvera, born with the acquistion of Zephyrtel, and a $1 billion funding pledge from a private backer to enable her to make more deals.
“There’s two thousand software telco companies and I don’t hear them talking about public cloud, doing the hard work to take advantage of public cloud, so I think Skyvera’s going to be acquiring companies – I want to get the message out that I’m a buyer, I’m an investor. For this year we’re focusing on existing customers, we bought this company [ZephyrTel] and we’re really focussing on re-connecting with those customers and also making sure they achieve success.”