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Bristol and TM Forum form Digital Futures partnership

[from left to right]: Nik Willetts, CEO of TM Forum with Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research

Press release issued: 16 May 2018

TM Forum, the industry association driving digital business transformation, has announced [Tuesday 15 May] a partnership with the University of Bristol that will help the University to develop its Institute of Digital Futures with industry-endorsed technical specifications using TM Forum's Open Digital Architecture, APIs and Lab.

The University provides the UK's largest Communications PhD programme and has attracted research-funding of £55 million for its work on future digital communications.  As the University develops its Institute of Digital Futures, it will adopt and co-develop TM Forum's Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and Open APIs as an architectural foundation to its emerging laboratory. TM Forum’s defacto-standards provide an open, industry-endorsed approach to connecting the burgeoning number of industry vertical digital ecosystems.

TM Forum's Open APIs have been adopted by the Linux Foundation and are used by more than 5,000 software developers, working in more than 750 companies, in 66 countries. TM Forum is also the co-founder of UK5G, a body established to encourage the adoption and roll-out of 5G technologies in the UK.  TM Forum’s emerging Open Digital Labs programme will both contribute-to and benefit-from the partnership with the University of Bristol.   

The University of Bristol recently demonstrated the world's first comprehensive urban 5G showcase as part of the UK Government's 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.  It is now working with the West of England Combined Authority to install 5G mobile technology at the Roman Baths in Bath, Bristol's MShed museum and science centre, We The Curious.  The University is building a new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus focused on digital innovation, which will house the Institute of Digital Futures, where TM Forum's assets will be deployed. The Institute of Digital Futures will be a state-of-the art research facility for internationally-leading research teams together with industrial and civic partners, unlocking an array of unprecedented applications of disruptive digital technologies.  

Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum, said: "The University of Bristol has been a member of TM Forum for several years and we have been watching its digital research capability deepen for some time.  TM Forum's breadth of industry membership compliments Bristol's research depth, and it's pleasing therefore, that we have found practical ways to collaborate on the development of an Open Digital Lab at the Institute of Digital Futures, at a time when our members are going through their own digital transformation and want real-world experimental testbeds."

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol, added: "The University is delighted to be collaborating with TM Forum.  The University is already pioneering innovative 'smart city' technologies and the £300 million new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus will benefit both people, businesses and the city. We look forward to welcoming TM Forum staff and members to Bristol to test and use new digital technology that will shape our future economy and society."

Further information

About TM Forum
TM Forum is an association of over 850 member companies that generate US$2 trillion in revenue and serve five billion customers across 180 countries. We drive collaboration and collective problem-solving to maximize the business success of communication and digital service providers and their ecosystem of suppliers around the world. Today, our focus is on supporting members as they navigate their unique digital transformation journeys, providing practical and proven assets and tools to accelerate execution and platforms to facilitate collaborative problem solving and innovation. Learn more at

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