HomeCXO InterviewsTelefonica is working "to ensure innovation finds its breeding ground in telecoms...

    Telefonica is working “to ensure innovation finds its breeding ground in telecoms networks”


    So said the operator group’s chairman, José María Álvarez-Pallete, at the South Summit yesterday.

    He added that the company is moving towards this end by opening network APIs to developers and continuing with projects such as Wayra, its innovation fund for a digital ecosystem of which Telefonica itself is part.

    Álvarez-Pallete warned of the risks of inequality that the profound changes brought about by technology, as people do not have the same access to the opportunities. He said, “It is key to manage the transition and not leave anyone behind”, he warned.

    He highlighted that the metaverse would move people deeper into the digital world and will be, “the most profound change the Internet has undergone since its birth…It is time to give a concrete purpose to all this technology, because it is people who give meaning to technology and not the other way around.”

    Álvarez-Pallete continued, “None of this can exist without the super connectivity provided by 5G and fibre networks, and with key technologies such as edge computing, the cloud and of course cybersecurity, essential for the new digital world”.

    He was recently appointed chair of the ERT’s Employability, Skills and Impact Committee. He noted, “Reskilling is one of the biggest challenges we face…We have one of the largest retraining programmes in Europe (Skillsbank) for our employees.”

    Telefónica’s commitment toinnovation is reflected in the creation of the Global Innovation and Talent Hub, which aims to turn the Group’s headquarters into a large, interconnected centre for 5G, AI, fibre, Edge Computing, Deep Learning, IoT, Cloud, Cybersecurity, Blockchain and video, according to Álvarez-Pallete.

    It comprises Universitas, the corporate university, the Digital Operations Centre (DOC) for cybersecurity and cloud to serve Telefónica’s business customers. Other elements include the guidance and training initiatives of Fundación Telefónica such as EnlightED, promoted with South Summit, plus initiatives like Wayra, Open Future or Telefónica Ventures, have recently been inaugurated in its facilities.

    South Summit is an annual gathering of investors, entrepreneurs and start-ups in Madrid.