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TelcoDR’s watch list for Google Cloud Next

Google Cloud Next (GCN), the hyperscaler’s big annual cloud conference, is happening earlier than usual this year: August 29-31. If you’re not planning to go to San Francisco to attend in person, or if you’re not already holding an event pass (too late—it’s sold out!), there are still plenty of interesting sessions that will be available to watch on-demand. My team and I have searched, scanned, and combed through the catalog to find the topics most relevant to telcos. You can find the “short” list below!

Historically, these events have been the place where hyperscalers make their biggest announcements of the year. But I wonder if we’re seeing a shift in the way Google Cloud is marketing to the telco industry. The hyperscaler announced a bunch of exciting new telco products at MWC this past February, and now, with new telco leader Ankur Jain at the helm, maybe the marketing strategy will change under his direction. Either way, annual GCN events have always been a “learn-fest,” so if you are a Google Cloud customer or thinking of becoming one, this show is definitely something you should pay attention to.

Here are my top three, must-watch GCN sessions for telcos, which are outlined in the list below:

  1. The future of telecommunications: How data, AI, and networks are changing the game
  2. Unleash your customer data and turn improved experiences into revenue
  3. How Google Cloud helps shape and transform telecom network deployment and monetization models

All said, this year there are more than 200 breakout sessions covering various topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), data analytics, security, productivity, and more. Of these, we found 42 sessions (21%) of the 200+ sessions to be focused on AI, leading all categories. I’d plan on attending some of these sessions—after all, the public cloud is a perfect place to run generative AI (genAI) workloads and Google Cloud is considered a leader in AI. (My guess is that Microsoft Ignite and AWS re:Invent will also focus heavily on AI as a topic—I mean, it’s the biggest thing since the desktop computer, the internet, and the iPhone.)

Be sure to catch the keynotes, too, as they always give a splashy, entertaining look at the big ideas of the moment, the company’s vision, and its strategy. If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, you can always look for a tech journalist’s summary afterward!

Here are all the sessions on our list:

Telco-specific sessions

The future of telecommunications: How data, AI, and networks are changing the game
DR’s top pick
This session is my number-one pick because it features Scott Petty, CTO of Vodafone. I’ve blogged about how I think this operator’s data project with Google Cloud is one of the most exciting and visible stories in our industry. I’ve eagerly followed blogs from Google, from the Neuron big data analytics platform, to the Nucleus “single source of truth” for the whole organization, to AI Builder, a scalable, unified AI/ML platform. I’m hoping this session offers new insight into those projects, as well as an update on what Google Cloud is working on now.
Unleash your customer data and turn improved experiences into revenue
⭐ DR’s top pick
Unless you’re Vodafone, you know you should be doing more with your customer data. Attend this session to hear about what you can do and why you should do it—get to know your customers and your business better, reduce churn, increase loyalty, and create new revenue streams. For telcos, cleaning up data to get it into a usable state is no small task and will take years to do; maybe this session will inspire you to get going.
How Google Cloud helps shape and transform Telecom Network deployment and monetization models
DR’s top pick
Want to build a killer network? This session is for you. Two technical leaders from Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile will talk about how they’ve collaborated with Google Cloud to manage and modernize their networks for 5G and the future. If you still haven’t chosen a hyperscaler, the speakers at this session could provide some valuable inside information about what it’s like to partner with Google Cloud.
How AI helps Telcos maintain cost-efficient and sustainable networks
Our industry is responsible for about three percent of global emissions—about 50% more than the aviation industry! We’re not the biggest polluter, but there’s plenty of room for improvement. In this session, speakers from Telefónica and Nokia talk about how they’re working with Google Cloud to build more efficiency into networks to reduce energy consumption and costs. It’s not easy being green!

AI and ML sessions

Transform contact center customer experiences with generative AI
Contact centers are an obvious use case for genAI. This session will cover a lot of ways that technology can improve customer experiences, with input from Google Cloud customers PayPal and GenDigital. My opinion: you should aim to make your contact center 50% more productive than it is today, either by doubling the throughput or requiring fewer people to do the same work. Set an aggressive, audacious, big goal when thinking about AI and the public cloud!
Enable rich conversational experiences with Contact Center AI
Check out this demo session if you want to learn more about how using Google’s conversational AI technologies and genAI can boost your customer experience and contact center. It definitely requires work to nail that natural language visitors expect when interacting with your brand. Put the work in—it’s worth it!
Demolishing data silos: Empowering enterprises with generative AI
More ideas for doing more with your data from Deloitte and Google Cloud. Speakers in this session will share details about a project that unlocked siloed data and made it available to workers. Since telcos have TONS of siloed data from all the on-premise applications they have running in their data centers, this is another workshop to listen in on.
Unleash the power of enterprise AI with NVIDIA and Google Cloud
AI, ML, and large language models (LLMs) are more accessible now than ever, thanks to the public cloud and purpose-built hardware, like NVIDIA chips. In this session, speakers from NVIDIA will talk about the company’s full-stack platform available on Google Cloud and illustrate potential use cases with real-world customer stories. But good luck getting your hands on an H100 yourself; the public cloud may be the only way to access chips that specialize in inference and training.
An introduction to Duet AI for Google Cloud
With engineering talent so hard to find and stretched so thin, I’m loving these AI-powered, code-completion tools that all the hyperscalers are launching. Google Cloud’s version is Duet AI, and it claims to offer more than just code assistance to help teams work efficiently in the cloud. This session will provide an intro to (and demo of) its many features, including assistance with writing and completing code, exploring data, and building simple apps. This is another place to set big goals and see if you can double productivity, either by doubling the throughput of the engineering team or being able to cut the team in half and getting the same output. With AI, you should see RESULTS.
Build your organization’s future on Google AI and machine learning infrastructure
In this session, which is geared to technologists, Google Cloud product experts explain their catalog of ML infrastructure: GPUs, TPUs, and CPUs, as well as compute, network, storage, and containers for AI, ML, and LLM workloads. Good session to attend for a general overview of Google’s capabilities.
Supercharge your generative AI model development with Cloud TPUs
And if you want to learn more about Google Cloud TPUs, check out this demo session, which covers how they accelerate AI and optimize efficiencies at massive scale. This is a great session to learn more about Google Cloud’s specialized chips, which will play a big part in genAI as I wrote in this blog, “It’s all about the chips.”
From vision to practice: AI applications in financial services
Like telcos, financial service firms have to meet data compliance regulations. That’s why it might be interesting to hear from HSBC (a bank) and CME Group (a derivatives marketplace) about how AI is helping them deliver more personalized experiences, identify new business opportunities, and combat risk and fraud. A good practical session that may give you great ideas to apply to telco!

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