2014: Year of the Gigabit?

Erik Keith

Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

• 2014 will go down as the year that Gigabit access became a tangible reality, with more than 100 substantial deployments attracting mainstream media attention and garnering some limited consumer mindshare.

• Cable operators, after first dismissing the need for Gigabit services, flip-flopped in 2014, asserting their own DOCSIS 3.1-powered Gigabit service roadmaps, to counter the various rival threats.

2014 was a pivotal year for fixed broadband access. More specifically, Gigabit access. While Gigabit residential broadband services have been available in some selected markets for years – most notably, Hong Kong – and a handful of operators in both Europe and North America have also offered Gigabit services (Hyperoptic in the UK, EPB in the US), these have been the extreme outliers, representing a tiny fraction of FTTH customers, let alone fixed broadband users. The Google Fiber footprint still numbers less than 10,000 subscribers at this point, despite the hype.

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Comarch: Providing a Beacon into IoT Innovation and Integration?

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:• Comarch used its recent Comarch User Group event to tout the location-detection and customer loyalty benefits of its Comarch Beacon technology.

• Comarch can improve the channel prospects of its Comarch Beacon solution by enlisting and touting operator and iOS/Android developer support.

Comarch provided an update on its Comarch Beacon solution at its recent Comarch User Group event. The Comarch Beacon is designed to enable businesses to have personalized communications with customers within close proximity to the business location. The technology is supported by proximity-detection technology which supports two-way communications, including location-detection challenging indoor locations. The solution is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Since the Comarch Beacon product must contend with a vast array of overlapping and alternative IoT sensor solutions, how does Comarch plan to promote the solution?:

Beacon Use Cases: Comarch sees its beacon technology having the most impact in the retailer segment. For example, within mall environments the beacon can pinpoint customer preferences upon their entrance at a store location to store management. This capability would apply to loyalty program and other opt-in participants. Likewise smart device users can access incentive programs and other useful data. These capabilities can appeal to operators keen on using location-based apps to improve their service packages as well as improve customer loyalty through retail partner programs that pool and share loyalty rewards and incentives.

Indoor Detection: Unlike GPS technology the Comarch Beacon solution uses proximity detection technology that work within indoor environments such as shopping malls and resorts. The lack of indoor location detection has proven in a barrier in advancing adoption of location detection technologies for smart device applications and services. Comarch avoids obliging customers to cut their teeth on inconsistent and unproven location-detection technologies.

As Comarch develops and markets the Comarch Beacon solution, what are the key concerns and barriers the company needs to address to boost its market acceptance?:

OSS/BSS Integration: Comarch may have missed an early sales and marketing opportunity to enlist operators to boost retail adoption of the Comarch Beacon solution, putting more focus on the retailers themselves. Since the Comarch Beacon technology requires compatibility with iOS and Android devices, operators have both the incentives and means to encourage retail/customer adoption of the technology. Moreover, as an OSS/BSS supplier Comarch can drive operator integration of IoT communications, such as beacons, within their evolving OSS/BSS implementations.

iOS and Android Developer Influence: The Comarch Beacon technology relies on compatibility with iOS and Android smart devices. As a result, Comarch may need to prove it can influence the iOS and Android developer communities to support its beacon technology among a wide array of IoT beacon/sensor alternatives. Without such developer support, Comarch risks its Comarch Beacon technology becoming a pedestrian location detection app that underwhelms consumers and customers.

Overall Comarch can improve the channel prospects of its Comarch Beacon technology by proactively engaging and enlisting operators to use the solution to improve their own service packages and retailer relations. Furthermore, Comarch needs to show it can motivate iOS and Android developers to devote resources in the direction of Comarch Beacon to prove it can drive improving customer loyalty among retailer brands.

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Comverse: Betting on the Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform to Boost Cloud BSS Prospects

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• Comverse unveiled its new Comverse Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform designed to advance operator and enterprise cloud BSS objectives

• The competitive prospects of the Comverse Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform are enhanced by complementary innovations in areas such as software licensing models and cloud security

Comverse recently introduced its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform, powered by Kenan FX | CX | AX, at the TM Forum Live! Digital Disruption event. The newly overhauled Kenan suite targets emerging enterprise, operator and cloud service provider objectives to use cloud technologies to scale and differentiate their digital service packages. By delivering the Kenan module-based solutions via the cloud, Comverse asserts it enables operators to put focus on their customers and deliver services faster through a tailored approach that meets their specific business needs.

Since Comverse must compete against a wide range of BSS solutions that target monetization realization apps, how does the company plan to differentiate and advance its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform within the operator, cloud service provider, and enterprise channels?:

Kenan FX Revenue Management: Leveraging the Kenan FX product’s origins in multi-play postpaid billing and revenue management, Comverse positions the Kenan FX module as providing the on-premise financial framework required for comprehensive customer lifecycle management. Comverse can claim to produce the latest refresh of revenue management tools to differentiate against the sea of competing BSS solutions with revenue management modules.

Kenan CX Cloud BSS: With its October 2014 release, Comverse asserts the Kenan CX provides the cloud BSS framework that meets the cloud security requirements of operators and their customers. This includes worldwide and regulatory support alongside billing operations service bureau resources.

Kenan AX: The Kenan AX module is targeted for launch at the beginning of 2015. It is designed to provide a web framework for combined recurring and usage, any-time any-service modeling. The key differentiator Comverse claims is a carrier grade web architecture and design that avoids the limitations of third-party OTT web frameworks.

As Comverse touts its latest revenue management proposition further into the operator, enterprise and cloud service provider channels, what are the key concerns and barriers the company needs to address?:

Licensing Model Innovation?: As Comverse fills in additional development details for its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform during the course of 2015 it could boost the channel prospects of its solution by addressing the benefits of the Comverse software license model. With rivals such as Huawei ready to trumpet garnishment of BSS business from Comverse, it needs to produce software licensing innovation to complement its latest technical advances. Moreover key rival Ericsson introduced its Software 15A release to shepherd emulation of IT software models, such as better-defined software packages and transparent pricing models, into the telco space boosting its overall cloud proposition.

Cloud Security Credentials: Comverse is right on target to include cloud security as a highlight in the Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform rollout. Consistently, operators have identified cloud security as a top rolling concern in scaling cloud technology to support an expanding array of apps. However, Comverse needs to firm up its cloud security story and development to gain an upper hand on BSS rivals who have thus far neglected putting cloud security in the center of their BSS roadmaps for 2015 and beyond.

Overall Comverse can revitalize its BSS competitive prospects with successful execution of the Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform road map. The Kenan brand name continues to command customer respect in the revenue management segment enabling Comverse to boost the channel prospects of the new platform. Now can Comverse also produce additional innovations in areas such as software licensing and cloud security to further boost prospects for the new platform?

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Intel and Amartus: An Alliance Long on Ambition in Meeting Operator Service Orchestration

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• Intel and Amartus target new operator service orchestration demands with an approach that relies on delivering run-time, programmable, end-to-end service orchestration for cloud, WAN, and SDN/NFV applications

• The Intel/Amartus partnership needs to devote more attention toward why operators need to adopt the Amartus Chameleon SDS solution against an array of orchestration alternatives and how it fits into operator NFV MANO plans Intel and Amartus recently issued a solution brief that targets delivering runtime, programmable, end-to-end service orchestration for operator cloud, WAN, and SDN/NFV applications. Intel and Amartus propose combining Intel Xeon servers with the Amartus Chameleon SDS (software-defined service orchestration) to meet the new service provisioning and orchestration demands of supporting SDN/NFV implementations. The pair have identified that operators require more than adoption of SDN/NFV to meet their emerging next generation service provisioning challenges.

As Intel and Amartus must contend against a wide range of service orchestration solutions, how does the pair plan to differentiate and advance their service orchestration proposition within the operator channels?

Elasticity and Automation: Intel and Amartus target the top operator priority in using SDN/NFV to render their WAN and cloud services more automated and elastic. Both companies advocate adopting an end-to-end service orchestration approach that is purpose-designed to scale the new class of pay-per-use type of services enabled by SDN/NFV technology. This positioning enables Intel and Amartus to claim an orchestration solution that avoids the limitations of traditional OSS platforms due to their incompatibility with emerging SDN/NFV architectures and overall inflexibility.

Unified Service Orchestration: Intel and Amartus advocate that operators adopt a unified software-defined service orchestration platform that is purpose-designed to support dynamic, run-time programmability for any service or technology. The integrated Amartus SDS/Intel Xeon server solution is already based on run-time programmable principles that can support model-driven service and network orchestration. This approach allows the alliance to assert their solution avoids the fragmented service support drawbacks of legacy OSS platforms due to their hard-wiring for specific services and technologies.

As Intel and Amartus market and advocate their service orchestration proposition further into the operator channels what are the key concerns and barriers both companies need to address?:

NFV Orchestration Battles: Intel and Amartus will need to address how their service orchestration solution can meet emerging operator NFV management and organization (MANO) demands. Intel and Amartus must convince operators that their service orchestration proposition deserves to prevail over the plethora of competing orchestration solutions flooding the market today that seemingly defy meeting operator unified management objectives. To this end, the partnership needs to demonstrate support and compliance with NFV MANO requirements that avoid the over-hyped compliance claims of rivals that plagued the embryonic phase of NFV MANO development.

Proving New Channel Competencies: Intel and Amartus must contend with a wide variety of competitors, including network and IT equipment suppliers, claiming some version of an end-to-end (E2E) service orchestration solution. This will make the partnership’s marketing efforts more challenging to execute successfully, since few if any rivals will concede the Intel/Amartus approach is unique. In particular, Intel must prove to operators it can meet the distinct demands of E2E orchestration on the network side of operations and not just the IT side. This could extend the sales cycles of the partnership as Intel sets out to prove its operator channel competencies extend beyond processors and servers and into virtual network function (VNF) infrastructure, VNFs and NFV MANO.

Overall Intel and Amartus can make inroads with their E2E service orchestration proposition since operators are in the midst of considering network architectural overhauls that span cloud, WAN and SDN/NFV considerations. However the alliance needs more than good timing to convince operators to adopt their approach since rivals will prove keen to dilute their E2E service orchestration claims. Moreover, operators may oblige Intel and Amartus to prove an extra level of competence in extending Amartus Chameleon SDS management compliance to the NFV MANO domain.

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Monolith Software: Can New Patent-Backed Organic Knowledge Base Automation Technology Gain Operator Adherents?

Ron Westfall

Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • The U.S. Patent Office granted Monolith Software patent number 8,756,301 for its “systems and methods for organic knowledge base runbook automation.” The patented technology targets streamlining operator service assurance processes.
  • Monolith Software needs to address how its organic knowledge base automation technology and AssureNow portfolio support the emerging policy control and assurance priorities of operators for new apps such as VoLTE.

Monolith Software recently unveiled its receipt of a U.S. patent grant for organic knowledge base automation aimed at simplifying and unifying service assurance applications. The patent extends to Monolith’s AssureNow solution, designed to automate service assurance processes. The AssureNow product processes events and applies the policy purpose-designed for each event, such as remediation of a problem, discovery of more information or required correlation to other data sources. Should the event prove unknown, the operator can choose from a set of existing policies to apply to the unknown event or designate a new policy. AssureNow uses an embedded wiki knowledge base to enable operators to organically grow and collect intelligence around network resources, services and customers. Read more of this post

Python, Puppet, Chef, ONIE and ODM – New Terms for the Service Provider Equipment World?

Glenn Hunt

Glenn Hunt

Summary Bullets:

  • IT and network jargon begins to co-mingle, but is this bilateral cross-pollination or one-sided?
  • Who’s courting who in the mashing together of the network, data center and cloud?

Over the past few months, it has become apparent that service providers, as a group, have nearly all endorsed the idea of transforming their networks in order to capture the benefits of a more agile and flexible platform from which they could provide XaaS (anything as a service). One of the initial barriers, which still remains, is the obvious disconnect between the terminology used by the network folks and their counterparts in the IT world to accomplish similar functions – like programming languages and installation processes. Read more of this post

HKT Vectors Across a Digital Divide in Hong Kong

Erik Keith

Erik Keith

Summary Bullets:

  • Hong Kong Telecom, which serves over 500,000 customers with FTTH connections, is now deploying VDSL2 vectoring technology to address previously underserved broadband subscribers, and will leverage G.fast for further bandwidth/service upgrades.
  • Even in one of the highest-density cities in the world, with pervasive fiber, copper remains relevant, with VDSL2 vectoring enabling fiber-speed services where FTTH implementations are not feasible or cost-effective.

Hong Kong, as one of the most densely populated areas on Earth, as well as one of only 10 Alpha+/++ cities (centers of global finance and trade), has been a long-time poster child for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services. With more than seven million people living in a geographic area of just over 1,100 square kilometers (426 square miles), Hong Kong’s population density ranks behind only Macau, Monaco and Singapore. For clarification, there are dozens of cities worldwide that are more densely populated than Hong Kong (at least 15 in India, and 10 in the Philippines), but Hong Kong’s population is clustered into some extremely high-density areas including Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, which was once the home of a Walled City where 33,000 people lived in an area the size of one city block (see here).

Getting back to the plot… Read more of this post