The Future in Focus: At LINKS, telecom leaders unpack the opportunities and challenges stemming from new technologies
Ray Collins
Ray Collins, SVP of Infrastructure and Corporate Strategy at Liberty Latin America, opened the 2024 edition of LINKS, Liberty Network's thought leadership customer event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.


"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

This refrain from Charles Dickens is perhaps more relevant than ever. Tech innovations are changing the world, bringing a host of new challenges alongside new opportunities. That’s particularly important in the telecommunications industry, as technology sits directly at the core of how we serve our customers. 

That’s why Liberty Networks hosted our second annual LINKS event, bringing together over 100 of our customers, providers, and partners to hear directly from some of the world’s most innovative thought leaders. The conference was hosted in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – one of our most dynamic markets, where we have over 700 customers. Check out our event highlights here.

Liberty Networks is betting big on Latin America 

Ray Collins, the SVP of Infrastructure and Corporate Strategy at Liberty Latin America, kickstarted the day of presentations by underscoring the macro trends the Liberty Networks team has been seeing in the market:

  • Internet of Things (IoT). We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of data gathering across 30 billion active, connected devices, and this will likely accelerate at an increasing pace.
  • Data connectivity at scale. Consumers are driving a greater need for bandwidth. In the last five years, the amount of data transferred has ballooned from 30 zettabytes to 175. 
  • Data storage and access. Data-intensive processes are moving to the edge, creating hybrid environments. The goal: minimizing latency and optimizing overall application performance.
  • Cybersecurity. By 2025, we expect cybersecurity spending to double what it was in 2021. “In talking with our customers, we can clearly see that this is one of your top concerns,” shared Collins. 
  • Latin American digitalization. LatAm is leapfrogging into the future, jumping from 43% internet penetration in 2012 to 78% in 2022. 


That is why Liberty Networks is doubling down on LatAm with $250 million of investments across improving our infrastructure, developing new products and features, and prioritizing how we support our customers and their communities.

"For innovation to be worthwhile, it has to be useful to you," asserted Collins. How can industry players transform this innovation into business success? That was up to the expert presenters to share. 

Charting a path towards our exponential future 

The future is going to be incredibly different. So, what can business leaders do here and now to prepare themselves for this inevitable change? 

According to business consultant and Singularity University faculty member Paul D. Roberts, we need to keep three questions in mind:

  1. Am I thinking big enough?
  2. Am I thinking courageously enough?
  3. Am I thinking differently enough?


"Solve the present from the future," he said, contrasting the traditional approach of trying to predict the future from today’s perspective. 

In an age of rapidly developing, industry-defining technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the key for business leaders will be to learn how to unlearn the status quo. 

What do we need to unlearn? Everything from the economic models that we take as a given to our views of what makes us human to how we understand the process of aging.

Starting from zero: The Shazam story

This idea of unlearning was exactly what propelled the music-identifying app Shazam to the top of the charts across mobile phone app stores. Co-founder Chris Barton described this as his “starting from zero” philosophy. 

In his keynote address, he shared, “It’s first principles thinking.” But what does that actually mean for business leaders?

  • Building from basic truths
  • Applying creative persistence
  • Picking your obsession
  • Eliminating friction
  • Connecting to emotions


Following these five steps enables us to truly innovate: breaking down and questioning the assumptions we have about how the world works. Through this methodology, Barton and team were able to ultimately sell Shazam to Apple for $400 million.

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The very human nature of cybersecurity 

While Barton gained notoriety for his work at Shazam, John Sileo was making a name for himself in a different way: by falling victim to cybercrime.

But Sileo managed to turn this negative into a positive, leveraging his learnings to help businesses avoid the very pitfalls that landed him in hot water. 

He provided attendees with a framework through which we can understand and avoid cybercrime. “All security is personal,” he said.

"Cybercrime is the art of human manipulation," with more than 80% of attacks relying on human fallibilities. “It’s human failures, not technological failures, that are mostly responsible for cyber attacks,” asserted Sileo, noting that businesses too often throw money at the problem in the form of IT spend rather than considering the human aspects at the core of cybercrime. 

Understanding where AI is headed

Beyond cybersecurity, the other major tech innovation that is at the top of telecommunications leaders’ minds is artificial intelligence. Jeff Loucks, Executive Director within Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice, shared the results of the company’s survey of more than 2,000 corporate leaders, getting their opinions on AI.

He noted that the overall sentiment around generative AI is one of excitement and optimism with an undercurrent of uncertainty. "Businesses don’t want to fall behind and give their competitors an edge by not leveraging AI."

Looking ahead, Loucks urged the audience to adapt and maintain a beginner’s mindset – one of constant curiosity. "Scale your experiments to increase your learning, and don’t settle for efficiency gains," he said. "Rather, look for ways to use AI to differentiate your business from competitors."

Critically, Loucks underscored the importance of approaching AI carefully. "Don’t ignore risk mitigation. Move ahead in a way that is very measured in terms of controls and be careful as this technology advances."

Industry leaders weigh in on the effect of new tech

In a conversation moderated by Paul D. Roberts, Liberty Networks assembled a panel of leading telecommunications experts to weigh in on these macro trends:

  • Daniel Abraham (Digitel)
  • Javier Villamizar (Solistica)
  • Rolando Roncancio (Universidad de la Sabana)
  • Tomislav Topic (Telconet)
  • Jeff Loucks (Deloitte)


"With the change in new technologies, customers are increasingly looking for us to push the boundaries of what’s possible," shared Abraham.

The last couple of years have led Villamizar’s team to see an increased focus on technology such as cloud computing and storage. But he noted that cybersecurity, corporate governance, and environmental sustainability have also been important focal points.

Tomislav shared that Telconet is developing its proprietary LLMs. The company is working alongside officials in Ecuador to analyze footage from 20,000 cameras. "Tools like co-pilot are only growing, and we’ll continue to need more programmers."

With talent in mind, Roncancio emphasized the importance of education. "We have to use tech, but we also have to develop the people who are going to create the technology and use it," he said. 

For his part, Loucks shared that we should be prepared for an upcoming shift in the world of content. "The whole idea of what entertainment is, what it costs – these paradigms are blowing up."

How does Liberty Networks see the future?

The event also offered an opportunity for two of Liberty Network’s leaders – Carmine Sorrentino (VP, Chief Commercial & Operating Officer, Wholesale) and Daniel Neiva (VP, Chief Commercial Officer, Latin America B2B) – to provide the company’s insights on how these macro trends will affect the telecommunications space in a conversation with Daniel Torras from Altman Solon.

"It is very important to have international connectivity," shared Sorrentino. "Look at the volume of users – they’re always more omnipresent, and the volume of data is increasing exponentially," added Neiva.

That’s exactly why Liberty Networks is preparing for this future growth, both through the constant expansion of our network and the innovative mindset that guides everything we do.

"There are many barriers we’re facing: electricity, multi-cloud environments, access to talent," noted Sorrentino. But Liberty Networks is prepared to adapt to and thrive in this new normal alongside our global partners. 

Follow our LinkedIn page for more insights from this year’s LINKS event.


Liberty Networks is a leading infrastructure and enterprise connectivity provider in Latin America and the Caribbean, connecting approximately 40 countries with nearly 50,000 kilometers of submarine fiber optic cable and 17,000 kilometers of terrestrial networks. At Liberty Networks, we partner with enterprises, carriers, and business communities, leveraging our expansive network infrastructure, next-generation solutions portfolio, and data center network to provide a solid foundation that enables business success across the region. To learn more about Liberty Networks, visit and follow us on LinkedInX, and YouTube.


Liberty Networks
Media Relations:

Claudia Restrepo

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