On its sixth annual event, MEF19 promises to showcase the tremendous digital transformation progress in the areas of global, cloud-centric services and related automation.  MEF 3.0, SD-WAN, Carrier Ethernet, Lifecycle Services Orchestration, 5G and Intent based networking are just some of the topics to be covered at MEF19, which will be held on 18-22 November 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Telecom Review sat down with Kevin Vachon, MEF Chief Operating Officer to get an insight into the upcoming event.

What can attendees expect from MEF19?

I always see the event as the place where all the critical thought leaders come together to share their perspectives, highlight development from the past year and establish new priorities and projections for the years ahead. There will be high-quality content in the MEF 3.0 workshops, plenary and track sessions. 

Not only are we hearing the vision of these leaders, but we are also going to see them in action. The MEF 3.0 Proof of Concepts (POC) showcase is an essential opportunity to witness the industry developments. Over 50 companies are participating in POC and showcasing all aspects of technical innovation and leadership.

What are the dominant themes of MEF19?

We are going to see the transformation of communication service providers to digital service providers. Automation remains a dominant theme. MEF19 focuses on accelerating the industry transition to dynamic, assured, and certified services across a global federation of automated networks. In previous years, we have seen many plans for adoption and implementation as well as Proof of Concepts. We are going to see a continuation of this progress.  For example, earlier this year, we had major operators announcing that they have gone into production with MEF LSO APIs for example. We are going to see more about the operator's plans to move forward with the area of automation.

The event is operating in its 6th year. What changes do you see year on year?

Well, there has been quite an evolution. When we began the event in 2014, it was called GEN14. This stands for Global Ethernet Networking. At that time, the event was focused on the transition to dynamic, automated Carrier Ethernet and was introducing MEF’s approach to end-end, global service orchestration – LSO. 

The scope significantly expanded with the evolution of MEF’s services work to include SD-WAN, IP, Optical and Security and as LSO gained industry recognition. Aside from GEN14, the most memorable events were the launch of MEF 3.0 at MEF17 and the significant interest in MEF’s new SD-WAN work last year at MEF18. Of course, LSO has shifted from concept to a published framework to plans, then PoCs and now production deployments, with the event reflecting this progress.

MEF is renowned for showcasing the newest innovations. What can be expected in this regard?

Given that there has been very significant interest in MEF’s initial SD-WAN standards and forthcoming certifications, it will be a significant focus at the MEF 3.0 Proof of Concept demonstrations and conference sessions. Attendees will also see how the full scope of MEF 3.0 services and LSO APIs come together to enable operators to build and deliver a comprehensive overly/underlay service suite as a critical component of their transformation strategy. Of course, looking forward, 5G, intent-based networking and edge computing will be part of the discussion.

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