IEEE-CS Logo           ISCC’02         IEE COMSOC Logo

Is there a future for Telecommunications?
Looking into today's situation and challenges lying ahead

Roberto Saracco

Future Centre - Telecom Italia Lab (TILAB)


The talk aims at providing a different viewpoint to the present situation of the telecommunications business and its foreseeable future. All development forecast is focusing on technology, market and economic and social aspects point towards a continuous growth of communications. Concerns about security and safety may also give a further boost to communications technology. Yet, why such a rosy outlook not understood, or valued, by the stock market? Why are we seeing see telecoms-related companies filing for Chapter 11 as never before? Why all these lay offs? Why after spending billions of Euros for getting 3G licenses, the same companies are now wondering what kind of service can be the golden eggs' goose? The talk is structured into four parts. The first part is an analysis of how and why we, as telecom business, got into this rough seas. The second is an outline of four major problem areas (broadband, 3G, data, service management). Next, the opportunities that innovation in technology are opening up are presented. The fourth and final part is a view on the evolution of telecommunications and Internet. Some of the questions that are left to the audience to ponder are: Where is the money? how do we link it to telecommunications? Is the Grid the next big thing? Other thought- provoking ideas will be presented as well.



Roberto Saracco [M'92-SM'00] is a computer science graduate and has a university degree in mathematics. He has been working in the telecommunications field since 1971 at the Telecom Italia Group Research Center, CSELT. He was involved in designing the first electronic exchange and data network in Italy (1980s). He became responsible for network management research, contributing to the international standardization of the Telecommunications Management Network (TMN) and led the team that developed the first Italian NM center.

For many years he has been involved in the definition of the research agenda for information and communication technologies (ICT) as member or chair of various European boards, including the Visionary Group charged with definition of life scenarios for the year 2010. Roberto chaired the IEEE Committee on Network Operations and Management (CNOM) ant Enterprise Networking Committee( EntNet) which which focuses on "end-to end" networked solutions for enterprises. He as also served as the secretary of the Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc (ABET). He is currently a member of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) Board of Governors and Director-Marketing. Lately he led a World Bank project to stimulate Latin America entrepreneurship in the network economy framework.

He is the author of many papers and books, and a co-author of The Disappearance of Telecommunications which was published by the IEEE Press in February 2000 (ISBN: 0780353870).