In an interview with Telecom Review, Peter Sany, president & CEO, TM Forum, gave us an idea about the association's history, yearly events and the catalyst program.

Can you start by telling us briefly about TM Forum's history and in which regions are you operating?
TM Forum was founded over two decades ago as a not-for-profit member association for IT and business collaboration and transformation. Today, our focus is primarily on digital business enablement.

We provide a platform for hundreds of global members across a wide range of industries - communications, technology, cities and municipal government, finance, healthcare and so on - to collaborate and partner to co-create, prototype, deliver and monetize innovative digital services for their billions of customers. TM Forum is a global organization and we as well as our members operate across all regions.

Our vision is to drive the next wave of digital business growth - the digitalization of every industry - by providing a common innovation platform to connect businesses, industries and ecosystems.

We do this in a highly practical and agile way through collaboration programs and communities which lead to rapid prototypes - ranging from digital business models to interconnectivity APIs - that have real world commercial applications.

Our main areas of focus include NFV management and orchestration, omni-channel customer experience, internet of everything (IoE) monetization, open APIs and digital platforms.

Complementing our collaboration programs, the Forum provides thought-provoking digital business research and publications, industry best practices and standards along with training programs to accelerate adoption, events and workshops which connect top business & IT leaders to learn, network and develop meaningful partnerships.

What are the main yearly events of TM Forum?
One of TM Forum's main goals is to connect business and IT leaders and practitioners to network, share knowledge and collaborate to bring innovative digital solutions and prototypes to market. In addition to our online collaboration communities, our conferences and events are one of the main ways in which we do this.

Our events range from large-scale conferences such as our annual flagship ""TM Forum Live!"" conference in Nice, France, which attracts over 3,000 senior businesses and IT leaders annually. This December, we're launching a new ""TM Forum Live!"" event in Singapore.

Twice per year, we bring together our collaborators from our member companies for Action Weeks, whereby teams work together to co-create and develop industry standards and best practices, as well as work on the Forum's popular Catalyst proof-of-concept demonstrations.

Speaking of Catalysts, we have a dedicated event coming up in Dallas this November which is all about showcasing the innovative demonstrations and enabling our members to make new connections, get involved in interesting projects and develop meaningful partnerships with other service providers, technology suppliers and systems integrators.

We just concluded in September a major annual event that we hold in Yinchuan, China, each year which brings together smart city leaders from industry and government. The Forum organized this event around a world-class cast of 300 top international executives and officials from cities and ministries, service providers, suppliers and academia.

These senior-level delegates and speakers represented 66 countries across 6 continents. And in close partnership with the Yinchuan government as the main sponsor and ZTE, overall this event brought together 1,000+ delegates - including practitioners from 105 international and 65 Chinese smart cities - to share experiences, best practices, their approaches and debate the road ahead.

Rounding out our events portfolio are sponsored workshops, which are regional in nature. These intimate gatherings bring together very senior business and IT leaders, generally between 40-80 individuals, to develop strategies across a wide range of digital business topics: NFV management and orchestration, omni-channel customer experience, internet of everything (IoE) monetization, Open APIs, digital platforms and more.

We know that you have around 850 members. What are the benefits and conditions of becoming a member in your forum?
Member companies join TM Forum on an annual basis. All employees of a member company receive member benefits, including:

Research & Content: Thought-provoking research and content - delivered via Perspectives, Case Study Handbook, Insights Reports, How-to Guides, and the TM Forum Inform web portal. Members enjoy unlimited access to an extensive library of content and get practical guidance based on members' diverse insights and experiences.

Conferences & Webinars: Large-scale events, including our flagship ""TM Forum Live!"" conference, executive workshops, collaboration events and webinars. Members join diverse business and IT executives for collaboration, expert guidance, networking and business development opportunities. Additionally, technology suppliers have the opportunity to showcase their solutions.

Collaboration Programs & Communities: Communities of knowledge and project teams which collaborate to develop digital standards, showcase them at events and via Catalyst prototypes, and drive widespread adoption. Members connect and collaborate with their peers, while enhancing their stature in the industry, to more rapidly innovate and develop actionable solutions to key industry challenges.

Best Practices, Standards, & Conformance: TM Forum Frameworx suite of community-driven, implementable best practices and standards which provide the blueprint and Conformance Certification for effective, efficient digital business operations. Members can streamline their operations, reduce risks and costs, and enable rapid design, development and deployment of new digital services.

Training, Certification, & Coaching: Hands-on training, individual certification and coaching for Forum-driven programs and standards. Members enhance their organization's productivity as well as their careers through onsite and online training courses and coaching.

Can you tell us about the Catalyst program?
Catalysts are proof-of-concept projects developed collaboratively by TM Forum members. These projects bring together companies large and small to create innovate solutions to common challenges demonstrating how this can be achieved leveraging key TM Forum best practices and standards ensuring scalability, reuse and reduced costs and risk.

Catalyst projects kick-off at our Action Week events, then the teams work together over a period of 4-66 months and develop their solutions that they demonstrate at TM Forum flagship events. The most recent set of Catalyst projects were presented at TM Forum Live! on May 9-12, 2016 in Nice, France.

At this event, a record-breaking 29 Catalyst projects were demonstrated. For detailed examples of Catalyst projects, as well as videos, please view: http://www.tmforumlive.org/the-event/proof-of-concept-catalyst-projects-2/.

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