“At Telefónica, we like to put passion into everything we do,” Guillermo Gavilán

Meet Guillermo Gavilán, Opengateway and Global Digital Service Platforms Manager. Discover his professional career.

Meet Guillermo Gavilán, Opengateway and Global Digital Service Platforms Manager. Discover his professional career.

Guillermo Gavilán

Reading time: 6 min

How long have you been with Telefónica and what is your assessment of your time here?

I joined the company in 1999 in the intelligent network development area of Telefónica Móviles, just when we were preparing for the dreaded “Y2K”. At that time it seemed that all the machines were going to go crazy with the change of digits, although logically this was not the case, and hundreds of people worked to ensure that this did not happen. In this centenary year, I personally celebrate my “silver jubilee” in this company. My career has always been linked to the world of technology and digital transformation. I believe that at Telefónica the great constant over time has been continuous change.

I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the convergence of the different fixed, mobile and data networks; the unification of customer management, customer service and billing systems and also the incredible transformation of our advanced analytics and business intelligence capabilities, all of this accompanied by a continuously changing organisation and excellent colleagues. As the philosopher Heraclitus said, “everything flows, nothing remains“.

Is there any project at Telefónica that you feel particularly satisfied with or proud of?

Twenty-five years is a long time and I have had the opportunity to work in four very different areas. First in the area of mobile services development where we set up the Movistar Corporate service to manage fixed and mobile calls for large account customers, where I learned what it really means to develop real-time and mission-critical systems.

The second stage was very nice doing innovation projects also with large accounts, I especially remember the e-Health projects where we were dealing with real doctors and patients. That’s where I learned what it means to be truly customer-oriented and to understand that behind all the technology there are very diverse people and that we can help them a lot. In the third stage, I worked with the big data centres that serve all the information systems. The most challenging project was to set up the new CPD of Tecno Alcalá, a large company project. There I learned how we can set up and manage our supercomputers, which have a spectacular computing and storage capacity. The Julián Camarillo CPD alone has a power supply capacity similar to that of the entire city of León.

I currently manage the Opengateway and Global Digital Platforms unit, from which we operate different services, from support for the company’s digital channels, management of home routers, chatbots based on artificial intelligence, interactive applications for television and more recently we have launched the Opengateway project where we are developing alliances with other leading companies such as Microsoft, Google or Amazon to jointly offer new digital services to the industry.

What we are learning from this stage is how to manage and optimise development processes at a global level, where it is no longer a question of doing things for Spain, but of collaborating with global areas to work in alliance with other countries and start to build a more global vision of the company.

What do you think Telefónica has contributed to society?

It is clear that a large telecommunications operator such as Telefónica forms part of the technological backbone of any modern society, such as means of transport or energy generation and distribution networks. But I believe that Telefónica contributes something more, especially in Spain, which is where the company was born, and I believe that there is a special bond between Spanish society and Telefónica. We have filled the streets with booths, we have raised the pavements in every neighbourhood, we have entered the living rooms of every house with telephones of every colour and design.

We have an excellent television and entertainment channel, and we have built the entire communication and digitalisation heart of our large and small companies. I believe that beyond the role we play in the modernisation of a country, at Telefónica we have a commitment to society that goes beyond putting up networks. We like to put passion into everything we do, connecting people and connecting with people, all while providing security and generating trust.

Where do you see Telefónica in the future?

Until now, people and companies have been, are and will continue to be the main focus of our company, but we are on the threshold of the great revolution of robotics and artificial intelligence. Until 4G our networks were designed for people and businesses, but from 5G onwards our networks are starting to be designed for robots, autonomous elements and artificial intelligence. Autonomous vehicles, drones, industrial and home robotics and all the major artificial intelligence systems are already starting to generate a demand for communications and technological services that has never been seen before. We need high-performance networks, capable of responding as fast as a robot thinks, and all of this must be programmable and dynamically manageable.

It’s not just about having super advanced networks, our way of managing the network is also going to change radically. Bots don’t call 1004 or go to a shop. Robots use APIs. At Telefónica we are preparing ourselves in these two ways: hand in hand with 5G and its evolutions, we are building the best networks, and hand in hand with projects such as Opengateway, we are opening up to the entire industry through programmatic APIs so that third parties, robots, AIs, etc. can build new and more advanced digital services thanks to our capabilities.

Could you live without a mobile phone?

Yes you could, but life would be much more difficult. I wouldn’t be able to capture moments of my daughter’s life on camera at any time, I wouldn’t be able to talk to family or friends anywhere, I wouldn’t be able to combine work and personal life as I do now, I wouldn’t be able to work outside the office, I’d get lost driving in unfamiliar places, I wouldn’t be able to do the shopping… or enter a password without receiving a confirmation message on my mobile!

The mobile phone is the main gateway to the modern digital world and having that gateway in your pocket makes life so much easier. This does not detract from the need for responsible and appropriate use of digital services in general and mobile phones in particular, one should not take away from the other.

Help us solve one of humanity’s great enigmas: the potato omelette… With onion or without onion?

Without a doubt, with onion and, if possible, with free-range eggs and undercooked. At home I prepare it without onion because my 9-year-old daughter doesn’t like it, but little by little I’m offering her onion in different dishes and in the omelette itself… I’ll see if I can get her to like it.

What crazy idea would you like Telefónica to do for its centenary?

Telefónica has a lot of history and behind that history, I’m sure people have many anecdotes of all kinds. You could make a special on Movistar Plus+ about 100 years of history where people and employees tell anecdotes, show old telephones, how things used to be done. Telefónica is part of the history of Spain and many other countries.

Nominate another colleague to appear in this section

I would like to nominate my colleagues Javier Sanz Domínguez and Nuria Fernández Varela.

In #Thespanishomelettething tag section we interview Telefónica’s employees on a variety of topics, while trying to solve one of humanity’s greatest dilemmas.

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* This interview is aimed at Telefónica’s employees


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