Telco 2020 Vision: The 4 Characteristics of Underlying Technologies (Part 2)

February 3, 2014 Paul Davey

featured-teleco2020In part one of this series, we introduced a vision for Telecommunications companies in 2020. It’s basis was 1) what customers will want in the future and 2) the financial drivers of CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs. While the vision portrays new services, all growth services must add a key capability—the ability to perform real-time analysis of streaming network and subscriber data to trigger new kinds of actions and deliver above the new bar of current customer expectations.

Underneath this overarching capability, a plan must be in place to deliver technology with four underlying characteristics:

  • Increased Agility
  • Greater Speed to Market
  • Improved Scale
  • Lower Cost

The Four Underlying Characteristics of Next-Generation Telecom Services

1. Increased Agility

Agility is about faster iterations through application development, data extraction, and analysis to improve business results. For telecommunications companies, it is about fast ingestion of network data, big data connections to customer information, and applied business rules to trigger new actions in real time. With this type of agility, services learn from global customer-base usage patterns and use customer behavior as a research and development tool to design new, better services. On the other side, operators typically take months to develop a new service and even more months to deploy it. Learning from customer behavior is very limited as there have been no end-to-end systems that identify and predict individual customer behavior on the network. The continuous learning from customer behavior on the network can also be applied to trigger location-based service offers, address churn events as they happen, help optimize networks, and even create individual user experiences to deliver upsells or protect high-value customers.

2. Greater Speed to Market

OTT service providers have moved to virtualized IT infrastructures and platform automation. The long and slow task of building a computer environment to meet the needs of a new service or business function has been reduced to a few minutes work and some mouse clicks. There remains effort in capacity planning to ensure sufficient compute, memory and storage; however, the task of configuring and building is reduced to a few moments. For operators, there has been some leverage of virtualization techniques to improve IT and data center cost efficiencies. Yet, the majority of billing, provisioning, customer care, and network operations requires long, slow manual planning and building processes. Manual processes bring human error and cost alongside the elapsed time taken. Operators must move to a faster mechanism for network configuration and build for infrastructure, platforms, and application services.

3. Improved Scale

With scale comes complexity, with complexity comes cost and risk, with cost and risk comes slowness. Global networks have grown to a scale not fully understood in their original design. As fixed and mobile merge with TV and cable, machine 2 machine and other networks, the number of endpoints serviced in any network should be expected to increase by anything up to 10x current levels. Operators need to be able to achieve service levels for these endpoints as they grow. They must use the same tools as the internet juggernauts who analyze and operate on massive data sets.

4. Lower Costs

This is a complex concept that includes technology acquisition, maintenance, risk, real-estate, people and processes amongst others. Efforts to reduce cost are constrained by risk as much as they are by reducing the price of technology. Recent efforts to reduce cost by moving software and services out of the corporate data centers and into public clouds have proven one thing—they don’t deliver the cost benefits that were promised. When coupled with security risks, the real costs savings have been even harder to find.

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How Pivotal Helps Next-Generation Telecommunications Companies

Delivering Agility

Pivotal Real-Time Intelligence (RTI) for Telecommunications delivers agility by providing an architecture that searches for patterns in the network signal stream as they occur—analyzing both big and fast data to trigger rules and actions. The solution gives developers a platform to iterate through application deployment, usage, data analysis, and improvement cycles more rapidly. The capabilities can be used for closed-loop, real-time learning about customer behavior, and the architecture can easily be incorporated into existing operational support systems, web-based applications, set-top-box data streams, mobile services, billing, and customer care apps as well as new service propositions based on network traffic intelligence or location. Pivotal RTI is also built on the Pivotal One PaaS, powered by Cloud Foundry and many other open source software components.

Delivering Speed to Market

With the automation delivered by Cloud Foundry and Pivotal CF, application layers are abstracted from the underlying cloud, virtualization, and infrastructure layers. New applications or additional capacity can be added automatically in minutes, and the architecture enforces cloud-centric scalability patterns. Developers gain a friction-free environment that can reduce cycle times by an order of magnitude.

Delivering Scale

Pivotal One is designed as architecture with linear cost/performance scale. As scale increases, there is no additional overhead due to complexity—automation resolves the complexity. The architecture is designed for both scale up and scale out. It provides for at least another 10 years of scale requirements and provides very high levels of performance, even for extreme transaction processing scenarios. Pivotal One includes a real-time big data grid, SQL engines for Hadoop, and powerful analytics.

Delivering Lower Costs

Pivotal One is based on many open source components and supported by a globally resourced business and ecosystem. We have seen open source software work in operating systems, web servers, app servers, and data stores, reducing costs in a variety of software segments. Pivotal One delivers via an open source architecture built to run on low-cost, commodity infrastructure, designed to be extended, and supportive of open source applications, development tools, and frameworks like Spring, RabbitMQ, and Hadoop.

Connect with us at the Mobile World Congress:

  • Along with EMC and VMware, Pivotal will be present at the Mobile World Congress.
  • Join us in a private meeting room or for talk to us about demonstrations.
  • Our telecommunications experts will be available to discuss how we’ve solved problems across networks, B&OSS, care services, platform hosting, real-time signal stream analysis, data sovereignty, big data, Hadoop, analytics, and more.

Learn more about the Pivotal products covered:

About the Author

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