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Marc Price of MATRIXX Software: “5G’s biggest changes will be felt in the business world”

5G’s biggest changes will be felt in the business world. Factories will be increasingly automated, technicians will use augmented reality to diagnose and repair things faster, and new kinds of commerce will emerge in smart, interactive spaces, where resources can be harnessed instantly to provide new experiences for entertainment, education, and of course our health. […]

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5G’s biggest changes will be felt in the business world. Factories will be increasingly automated, technicians will use augmented reality to diagnose and repair things faster, and new kinds of commerce will emerge in smart, interactive spaces, where resources can be harnessed instantly to provide new experiences for entertainment, education, and of course our health. We’ll see all of this come to be as consumers as well. As I mentioned previously, our society is becoming ever more connected and virtual. Where it would have been unthinkable before to have a meeting, tour a museum, or look at new furniture except in person, increasingly these can be done with emerging technologies that fulfill these tasks.


The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marc Price, CTO, MATRIXX Software.

As Global Chief Technology Officer, Marc Price accelerates MATRIXX Software’s worldwide growth through key software and solutions delivery initiatives. With almost thirty years of experience in the telecommunications market, Marc has held pivotal roles during the establishment of the real-time charging model, the changing landscape of digital transformation and the move to hybrid clouds and IoT. Prior to joining MATRIXX, he worked for Openet serving as CTO for the Americas where he led initiatives for software development, systems consulting and business development.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My first job out of school was with a company called AMS, building telecommunications software. Before I joined, I knew almost nothing about the field, nor did I realize it was about to change in a big way. In a short span of time, wireline phones diminished in importance, as the World Wide Web introduced broadband services into our lives, and then mobility and wireless services became ubiquitous.

From the beginning, I was involved in figuring out new ways to handle “pricing” of these services. A year into my new job, one of our senior executives pointed me towards a set of boxes, each with bound portfolios of telecom pricing tariffs. He said, “it’s your job to learn what all these mean and figure out how to create an abstract method of programming these in a configurable way”. I was hooked.

Can you share one of your ‘most interesting’ stories that happened to you in your career?

A few years into my career, nearly every European country decided to privatize telecom services. By then I was the resident expert on how pricing worked across the US companies in our industry. Throughout Europe, new companies were looking for experts to help them establish brand new carrier businesses. I jumped at the chance to help, spending months at a time in Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany helping to architect and deploy new business support systems for emerging companies. I made long-lasting friends with so many people in this period. I’ll never forget working late into the night in a Swedish data center, as under stress the team switched to Swedish and I battled to keep up with my limited, and newly acquired, language skills.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and why?

I really like Harold McAlindon’s quote: “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” I forged ahead in many new ways with my work, and it was formative, through new experiences, new cultures, and new challenges. A substantial part of the reward, however, was knowing that my work made it easier for those that came after me. Those businesses thrived after I left, and the software I worked on continued to deliver value long after I was gone. Most importantly, I learned to be a mentor. Sharing new insights and new ways of doing things became my true passion.

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Forging one’s own path doesn’t mean one doesn’t have mentors, and I’ve had great ones along the way. There were so many wonderful people who helped me early in my career, and this list includes Arthur Frankel, Susan Culler, Marty Rosensweig, Jim Anthony, and so many others that I can’t name them all. Arthur taught me development skills that have lasted a lifetime; Susan helped me realize I like working with customers; Marty helped shape my views on enterprise architecture; and Jim’s work ethic and management principles were a model I hold in the highest regard to this day. AMS was a close-knit family, and we had countless stories together. I learned to work hard towards common goals and enjoy myself along the way. These are the greatest lessons one can learn in the workforce.

Can you tell us about the cutting edge communication tech that you are working on or with? How do you think it will help people?

In the early 2000s, I was recruited into Openet to help shape what had been a mediation company into a rating and charging force for emerging 3G mobile broadband services. I recognized early that real-time interactions between networks and business systems would be a catalyst for growth in new services, and customers embraced these changes quickly, with the rise of the smartphone, apps, and new ways of interacting with the world around us.

Two years ago, I joined MATRIXX as CTO to prepare for another new journey. 5G will change the communications landscape again, like nothing before it. While our early paradigm for 5G is still grounded in 3G and 4G thinking, the technology is preparing us for a world of connected things — cameras, sensors, appliances, vehicles, robots, and wearables. These will help people in ways we have only dreamt of before now, in fields ranging from health and medical to convenience to entertainment. Augmented Reality devices may be the first near-term services with which we recognize that paradigm shift, as we did when the iPhone came out for broadband services. But unlike 3G, 5G will be more pervasive, with many different uses that contribute to different aspects of our lives, as our society becomes ever more connected and virtual.

How do you think it might change the world?

5G’s biggest changes will be felt in the business world. Factories will be increasingly automated, technicians will use augmented reality to diagnose and repair things faster, and new kinds of commerce will emerge in smart, interactive spaces, where resources can be harnessed instantly to provide new experiences for entertainment, education, and of course our health. We’ll see all of this come to be as consumers as well. As I mentioned previously, our society is becoming ever more connected and virtual. Where it would have been unthinkable before to have a meeting, tour a museum, or look at new furniture except in person, increasingly these can be done with emerging technologies that fulfill these tasks.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

The pandemic has been a “tipping point”. It has both hastened and hindered the rollout of 5G services. It’s accelerated the need for better speeds in hard-to-reach places, interactive communication services, and improved virtual experiences. It’s also slowed progress, as the inability to gather has impeded the progress of standards organizations across many time zones, and factories needing scarce parts due to shutdowns. Most of all, the pandemic has changed our outlook and our mindset. Where once things could only be done by gathering in a single place, we now know that virtual teams can be highly productive.

Collaboration is as important as ever. New tools are emerging to make this easier, and over time this will have a lasting impact upon our work environments and our schools. We must strive to make sure all can benefit from these improvements, and no one is left behind. The opportunity is there to ensure these “new needs” are fulfilled by emerging devices and services that will connect our world, without us having to venture far.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

For 5G to succeed and be widely adopted, it requires new business models, and a different way of thinking about pricing these services. From the earliest days, telecommunications services have largely been priced as a utility. This has involved cost-plus models and arbitrary measures of pricing connectivity that are removed from the business value delivered by the services. This worked well when telecom was highly regulated, and services were few and simple. It works poorly as the industry is evolving from serving voice and data into a position of providing dynamic resources on demand that differ greatly for different kinds of emerging applications and devices.

Telecommunications service providers need to consider new business models for emerging services in conjunction with an emerging ecosystem of new entities with whom it can partner for business success. This means connected device manufacturers, as well as entertainment and content companies. But it really means making it attractive for businesses of all kinds, large and small, to participate in newly emerging marketplaces to buy and sell resources as needed to create value. Innovations of this kind have changed the business of financial institutions, cloud development platforms, digital commerce companies, and now must change the way telecoms price and sell their services for the immediate promise of value delivered on the spot to businesses that can harness this to achieve market advantages.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

In today’s day and age, basic connectivity is a right, not a privilege. This should be true regardless of where one lives, and increasingly rural access rights are recognized as essential — a point that could not have been made more clear during the pandemic, as our children strove to get online, and workers sought to find a way to remain connected. Our industry is best served by thinking of basic connectivity as a minimum service level, in much the way we needed to build out electrification or roads to reach all corners of our countries.

The next big opportunity in communications as mentioned is to fulfill context-sensitive needs on top of that and monetize it accordingly. With changing dynamics in spectrum policy and economics, it is becoming easier than ever for any community or individual to achieve basic cellular connectivity. I would encourage this broadly, focusing the business of telecommunications on first, enabling this for all, and second, refocusing investment opportunities on harnessing capital to achieve meaningfully differentiated services on top of this, to fulfill the next generation of emerging devices and smart business opportunities. People everywhere will benefit if we first make connectivity universal and ubiquitous. I encourage our industry and communities everywhere to make this possible.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I engage regularly on LinkedIn, where I share articles, thoughts, and general progress from my work at MATRIXX and my contributions through my associations with 3GPP, Linux Foundation, Telecom Infra Project, and other various communities. Community work remains important to me, as I appreciate that we are all striving to make the future a better place together. Thank you for listening!

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.


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