TM Forum Live 2014: Can Comptel and GE Bring More Than Fiber Fulfillment to Operators?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Comptel and GE collaborate to extend federated inventory management to streamline operator service fulfillment of fiber services
  • The alliance’s initial focus on fiber/FTTx applications undercuts its long-term potential to solve operator service fulfillment challenges in orchestrating IoT/digital apps within service packages

At the TM Forum Live! event that took place last week (June 2-5, 2014) in Nice, France, Comptel and GE collaborated to launch their collaborative federated inventory solution targeted at operator fiber and FTTx deployments. The collaboration expressly aimed to support operator objectives in federating access to the immense volume of data distributed among physical and logical inventory systems. Meeting the burgeoning operator demand for automated inventory management orchestration has driven expanded supplier investment as evidenced by Huawei’s acquisition of Fastwire.

The combined Comptel/GE solution includes:

  • The Comptel Fulfillment platform designed to extend order fulfillment across multiple service platforms within operator networks.
  • The GE Digital Energy Smallworld Physical Resource Assignment (PRA) product designed to automate the generation of physical paths and assign the physical resources required to deliver customer service requests.

Curiously, the Comptel/GE alliance targeted fiber/FTTx applications for generation of the first use cases of the combined solution. Curious because the European Union’s local loop unbundling (LLU) regulations have effectively stifled FTTH service deployments throughout Europe. As a result, incumbent operators have relied more on VDSL2, HFC/DOCSIS, and wireless (4G/WiFi) to drive a significant portion of their service packaging innovation. So why should Comptel engage GE for seemingly narrow-gauged fiber-centric inventory management applications?

The alliance wields the potential to drive operator service fulfillment and inventory orchestration beyond fixed services, such as fiber, let alone wireless. GE’s portfolio depth and global channels extend to wide array of applications, such as home, energy, health, and transportation, which could drive an expanding array of operator use cases that target integrating Internet of Things (IoT) and other digital services within established operator service packages (voice, data, video, and TV). For example, operators have already bundled home security and energy monitoring into triple/quad-play packages in order to diversify revenue streams and improve customer retention rates. In addition, orchestrating and fulfilling IoT applications, such as health monitoring and Internet-enabled smart appliances into operator service packages, play to the strengths of GE’s corporate DNA.

A wide variety of operators, including DT, Swisscom, Telstra, Chorus, Vodafone New Zealand, Fastweb, Cox, ONO, Orange, and Bharti Airtel, already use the GE Smallworld Network Inventory product. The combined operator customer footprint of GE and Comptel (290 operator customers) provides the channel foundation for the alliance to evolve their collaboration to better address the burgeoning digital services challenges of the world’s operators in the area of federated inventory management. The Comptel/GE alliance can prove a precursor for GE to step up and apply its Smallworld inventory management technology toward capitalizing on operator aims to scale and orchestrate an expanding array of specialized services aimed at verticals. Otherwise Comptel and GE risk forming an also-ran service fulfillment partnership that plays to a market segment (i.e., FTTH) with limited near-term upside in the European theater.


Leave a Reply