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11 - 15 September 2020
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Media-Telecom Catalysts Programme FAQs

Media-Telecom Catalysts Programme FAQs

Media-Telecom Catalysts Programme FAQs

What are Media-Telecom Catalyst Projects?

Media-Telecom Catalyst projects are fast track proof of concept projects developed by multi-company teams. They are designed to address complex telco & media industry technology challenges by developing innovative solutions over an intensive three to four-month project path. Bringing together companies large and small, they are created and developed by ecosystem players (media & entertainment companies, service providers, vendors, IT & technology companies) and are managed through collaboration by TM Forum and IBC and showcased at their flagship global events: Digital Transformation World in Nice and IBC in Amsterdam. Catalysts enable much quicker R&D cycle times compared to in-house initiatives.

What is the purpose of a Media-Telecom Catalyst project?

The purpose of a Catalyst Project is primarily to prototype solutions to new business challenges based on standards and best practices, and to demonstrate the business value that can be achieved from implementing standards-based solutions. Catalysts also foster the development of extensions to standards as required by market changes, as well as encouraging the implementation of standards and best practices in commercial products. A useful by-product of Catalyst Projects is the validation of the state of readiness of the standards material, and Catalysts frequently produce change requests for the standards based on their findings. Test implementations can be made available within a Catalyst IPR boundary and reused within it over multiple Catalyst phases to significantly improve R&D efficiency.

The Media-Telecom Catalyst programme is all the more relevant in an evolving landscape of media-entertainment, technology and telecoms convergence, where often complex cross sector collaboration is required, together with new approaches to addressing innovation within the context of digital transformation.

Who is TM Forum?

TM Forum is the global industry association that drives collaboration and collective problem-solving to maximise the business success of communication and digital service providers and their ecosystem of suppliers. It is a neutral, non-profit member organisation, representing over 850-member companies, serving five billion customers across 180 countries.

TM Forum’s vision is to help communications service providers and their suppliers to digitally transform and thrive in the digital era. It does this by providing an open, collaborative environment and practical support for its members to rapidly transform their business operations, IT systems and ecosystems to capitalise on the opportunities presented in a rapidly evolving digital world.

TM Forum has been running its highly successful, telecoms and technology focused Catalyst innovation programmes for many years, at many action-oriented events throughout the world. Many innovative proof-of-concept projects have evolved from prototypes to full commercial implementation through the Catalyst programme.

Find out more about TM Forum’s Catalyst programme, here.

Why is IBC collaborating with TM Forum?

TM Forum & IBC have agreed to work together to support member and community stakeholders within both organisations in identifying and addressing specific, common challenges of convergence between the media, entertainment, telecoms and technology sectors through a fast track approach to innovation and digital transformation.

The collaboration begins with the Media-Telecom Catalyst programme, which provides a platform for these very different and diverse sectors to collaborate on areas of common ground to achieve technology solutions to challenges identified by media & entertainment organisations and telecoms service providers, that they could not ordinarily or easily achieve in isolation.

Why is IBC behind this, and what will its role be?

IBC has grown over more than five decades to become the most influential annual event for professionals engaged in the creation, management and delivery of electronic media, worldwide. Through its key role of convening the global industry, with more than 57,000 attendees to its annual event every year, IBC recognises the growing trend and gathering momentum of convergence between the media and entertainment industries and the online, technology, IT and telecoms sectors. It also recognises that cross-sector collaboration, and a faster approach to innovation is required, in a world of entertainment evolution that is moving at a rapid pace.

IBC’s collaboration with TM Forum to build on TM Forum’s highly successful Catalyst innovation programme introduces a proven framework for innovation as well as for  partnerships to thrive and grow. Through this approach, IBC looks forward to supporting its community by showcasing a series of successful Media-Telecom Catalyst projects that will culminate at TM Forum’s main event, Digital Transformation World in May 2019, and at IBC annual show in Amsterdam in 2019. 

The Media-Telecom Catalyst Programme is fully supported by IBC’s Board/ Owners, including IABM, IET, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, The Royal Television Society, The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE).

What kind of challenges could Media-Telecom Catalysts address?

There is a wealth of potential areas that could be addressed by Media-Telecom Catalyst projects. Key to identifying challenges and selecting Media-Telecom Catalysts is that they should be relevant high value industry user stories the Media & Entertainment industry is addressing, which also have a link to telecoms. Some broad, illustrative examples of current industry challenges and opportunities, ranging from Blockchain, AI, VR, AR & Mixed Reality and tackling piracy to anonymised measurement & metrics for mobile audiences, as well as new immersive techniques for broadcasters utilising upcoming 5G network technologies, can be found here.

Who sets out the specific Catalyst challenges?

The business challenge is set out by a ‘Champion’ of a Catalyst who is a provider of media & entertainment services. A Champion could be a broadcaster, an OTT, a content creator, production company, a rights owner or a provider of mobile & fixed telecoms services, for example. There can be any number of Champions of a Catalyst, but the minimum is one.

The Champion is a prospective buyer of the solution developed by the Catalyst team, who not only sets the challenge, but advocates the solution.

Who can participate in solving a challenge and joining a Catalyst?

‘Participants’ in a Catalyst are providers of technology and solutions such as vendors, system integrators, consultancies and enterprises for example, who design and build a solution for the Champions’ business challenge. There can be a number of Participants in a Catalyst, the minimum is four.

Who is eligible to join a Catalyst team? 

The role of ‘Champion’ (which sets out the business challenge) is open to any company which is a provider of media & entertainment services, such as a broadcaster, an OTT, a content creator, production company, a rights owner or a provider of mobile or fixed telecoms services, for example.

Catalyst ‘Participants’ (who design, build, project manage and who provide resources and build the solution) such as vendors, system integrators, consultancies and enterprises for example, must be sponsors or exhibitors at either IBC2018 and/or 2019 or members of TM Forum.

What support does TM Forum provide?

TM Forum provides project management, a collaborative working environment and tools, an IPR framework and face-to-face working opportunities. Together with IBC, TM Forum provides a marketing platform to showcase the innovation developed by the Catalyst team.

How does IPR work within a Catalyst programme?

Catalyst team members join a formal project with its own IPR boundary. Any IPR contributed into the project remains with its original owner, and there is no obligation to license this to other project members. IPR jointly developed within the Catalyst project is jointly owned by the team members.

Do I need to be a member of TM Forum or an IBC Exhibitor to take part in a Media-Telecom Catalyst?

As above, Champions can be any company which is a provider of media & entertainment services such as a broadcaster, an OTT, a content creator, production company, a rights owner or a provider of mobile or fixed telecoms services, for example – whether or not they are a member of TM Forum or an exhibitor at IBC.

Catalyst ‘Participants’ such as vendors, system integrators, consultancies and enterprises for example, must either be sponsors or exhibitors at IBC2018 and/or 2019, or members of TM Forum.

What are the fees to join a Media-Telecom Catalyst?

Champions do not pay a fee. Participants pay Catalyst Participation fees, based on company size defined by annual revenues. 

Showcases of the Catalyst solution at IBC in September 2019 and TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World event in Nice in May 2019 are included in the Participants Fees to join a Media-Telecom Catalyst, with options for additional regional events. For further information on fees for joining a Media-Telecom Catalyst, please contact: 

What are the benefits of joining a Media-Telecom Catalyst Project?

There are many tangible and significant benefits to being involved in a Media-Telecom Catalyst, aside from addressing and solving a specific, complex technology challenge for your organisation, these include:

  • Multiplication of resources (x5): Catalysts serve as extensions to your R&D departments, where resources are pooled by participating organizations.
  • Acceleration of R&D: With an R&D cycle considerably faster than most in-house R&D cycles the power of the Catalysts is undeniable. TM Forum manages each of these projects ensuring structured programs are in place, adhered to by all participants. All this comes at a fraction of the cost that you would have incurred internally.
  • Creativity from a multi-company team: Working with some of the brightest minds from outside your company helps bring fresh perspectives into the project
  • Testing Platform: Learn how your solution works with others in the industry in a hands-on environment. Receive real requirements and sincere feedback from the Champions and industry colleagues.
  • ‘Trust’ – a safe place to innovate: Explore new concepts without needing to expend time and energy to form commercial relationships – TM Forum takes care of contracts.
  • Innovation Leadership & Marketing Exposure: With substantial exposure before and during TM Forum & IBC events via Extensive pre-during and post-event marketing opportunities (web, newsletters, press interviews, videos, press releases, etc.)

What does a Catalyst team receive for their investment?

As the popularity and success of the Catalyst programme grows, the benefits and exposure are also increasing significantly. In terms of marketing and PR exposure, the benefits for Catalysts engagement range from virtual online showcases, professional studio video interviews & demos, blogs, written articles and presentations, awards submissions and of course showcases around the world – across both TM Forum and IBC channels and events. For more information on these opportunities, please contact 

Do Media-Telecom Catalyst Projects have to include a telecoms element, or can they be specific to a Media & Entertainment challenge?

Media-Telecom Catalysts will normally deal with business challenges at the intersection of telecoms and media & entertainment. They could, for example, address a challenge of cross-sector convergence, bringing together telcos or media & entertainment companies to set out a joint challenge, such as how to utilise new capabilities of upcoming 5G mobile networks and services as a proof of concept for say, remote production and editing.

What is the process and timelines for selecting Champions or Participants?

TM Forum & IBC will make an ‘Open Call for Catalysts’ to their members and communities on 15 October through to 14 December 2018 calling for both Champions and Participants to apply to be involved.

In mid-January 2019, we will begin a ‘Matchmaking’ phase whereby TM Forum and IBC will help Champions and Participants to identify additional companies with relevant technology and/or expertise to join their teams.

What is the process and timelines once Catalyst teams have been identified? 

Once the Catalyst project teams have been identified and assembled, the teams come together at the TM Forum’s Action Week* event in Lisbon, Portugal in February 2019 to develop project plans to solve their chosen business challenge. Once this has been achieved to the satisfaction of the Champion, the solution is showcased at TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World event in Nice, France in May 2019 and at the IBC Show in Amsterdam in September 2019 (as well as other international events, which are available as options).

*Action Week brings together Catalyst Project Teams in face to face meetings to begin work on demo scenarios, agree on roles and responsibilities and meet with TM Forum / IBCs’ Catalyst Programme management, logistics and marketing staff who will provide additional support.

Who selects the Participants for a Catalyst Project?

TM Forum, IBC and the Champions and Participants who submit proposals will work together during the matchmaking process to identify other Champions and Participants who can bring relevant technology and skills.

What is the specific role of Champions, and what resources are required from them?

Champions’ responsibilities include:

  • Helping to define the business challenge and validating that the project addresses a significant industry problem
  • Providing business requirements, clarifications and feedback for the use cases within the project
  • Validating that the proposed project deliverables will provide value to the industry
  • Giving feedback on solutions as they are developed
  • Promoting the solutions within their organizations and to the wider industry
  • Providing a ‘sponsor’ for the project, and a working level engagement contact (can be the same person)
  • Attend at least 80% of meetings
  • Attend showcase events and Action Week

What is the specific role of Participants, and what resources are required from them?

Participants’ responsibilities include:

  • Develop project plans and timelines
  • Develop solution design and executable deliverables including the proof-of-concept demonstration
  • Complete the necessary documents (charters, templates, etc.) as required by the Catalyst program
  • Harvest the learning and assets from the Catalyst to create best practices guidance and standards for the industry (eg TM Forum Open APIs)
  • Work collaboratively with other project team members
  • Attend at least 80% of meetings
  • Attend showcase events and Action Week

Who is responsible for providing resources to the Catalyst teams?

The teams participating on a Catalyst project provide resources from their own companies to work through the necessary project tasks, preparation of Catalyst demos and production of deliverables. TM Forum & IBC will provide support in the form of marketing, technical and project management guidance, project mentorship and are available to answer any additional questions raised.

How long do Catalyst projects last?

Catalyst Projects are designed to be rapid-fire, fast track proof of concepts and typically last three to four months from the action-oriented start of the process in February to showcasing the solution from May onwards at industry events. Catalysts often extend to a second phase to expand the scope or work on more advanced use cases.

Can competitors take part in the same Catalyst?

Yes, and this has proven to work to good effect in TM Forum’s own Catalyst programme, whereby competitive Champions and Participants have often engaged collaboratively to solve a specific, common challenge. Nothing of commercial sensitivity need be shared, and each Catalyst is supported by well-established ground rules and policies established by TM Forum over many years.

What are the outputs of the Catalyst project?

The outputs of a Catalyst project range from Whitepapers, Case Studies, Best Practice guides, lessons learned as input to other teams through to API specifications, Models, Frameworks & Reference Code.

What does showcasing Catalysts entail?

Media-Telecom Catalyst showcases will take the form of exhibition showcases demonstrating the solution to a challenge, in the form of a cluster of Catalysts at TM Forum’s  Digital Transformation World event in Nice in May 2019 and at IBC in Amsterdam in September 2019, with the costs of showcasing in these events included in the participation fees for a Catalyst (although there are additional options to showcase at other regional TM Forum events). The showcases are presented by the project teams with support from IBC & TM Forum and boosted by a full suite marketing programme to add context, visibility, and prominence to successful Catalysts.

Are there Awards for Best Catalyst Projects?

At the culmination of the Catalyst cycle, outstanding projects will be recognized with Catalyst Awards at IBC2019. More details will follow soon.

Where can Catalyst teams promote their projects to the industry?

Catalyst Projects and participating teams will be listed on both TM Forum & IBC websites and widely promoted through various communications channels. Once a Catalyst team provides details of their project, the information is made available on their own specific Catalyst web pages hosted by TM Forum. There are also multiple press releases created from Catalyst content that will be shared with all team members to promote within their own organisation.

How do potential Champions or Participants apply to get involved?

Either email for more information or click here to register interest.

Submission of specific challenges within, and beyond these examples, faced by any provider of media & entertainment services are very welcome. For more information, contact