What Was Hot in 2015: The Technologies, Topics, and Events You Cared About

Peter Jarich
Peter Jarich

Summary Bullets:

  • In 2015, SDN and NFV continued to dominate our “most read reports” list, with 5G gaining interest as well.
  • Beyond specific technologies, major vendor moves – partnerships and acquisitions – garnered plenty of attention.
  • Ignoring smaller vendors or less buzzed-about technologies could be dangerous if it leaves vendors and service providers exposed to disruptive market forces.

In an attempt to provide insight into a wide array of telecom network trends and technologies, it’s only natural that some of our analyses will be better read than others. That attention may be due to any number of factors, but interest in the topic is generally the most important driver. In other words, reports about topics that people care about should be the most read, with the top analyses of 2015 pointing to the most important trends and themes of the year.

Re-capping our Top 10 event analyses and advisories (topical reports beyond company and product assessments that get visited multiple times throughout the year) is not a straightforward process. Top-read analyses of one event, from different angles, for example, do little to indicate anything beyond a strong interest in that particular acquisition or partnership. That said, looking at a cross-section of the year’s top analyses provides insight into what vendors and service providers in the telecom space cared about last year.

What did those reports include?

More than just being widely read, these reports averaged about four times the readership of the average Service Provider Infrastructure analysis from January 1, 2015 through the end of December. As a whole, what do they tell us?

  • The Importance of SDN and NFV. As with last year, software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) analysis dominated our top-read reports. For operators attempting to develop a SDN/NFV strategy, an interest in understanding the technologies is logical. For vendors attempting to tap the new investment opportunity, the interest makes even more sense.
  • The Breadth of SDN and NFV. SDN and NFV are both distinct technologies, and there are multiple facets within each. From VNFs to MANO to vCPE and the linkages between SDN and 5G, you see this breadth reflected in the reports that obtained the most interest over the last year. If one aspect got more attention (and readership) than others, however, it was MANO – doubtless driven by relative confusion around the topic.
  • 5G Definitions and Strategies. Following SDN and NFV, 5G analyses received a lot of interest in 2015. While virtualization will factor largely into 5G deployments, there is a much more basic relationship between the interest in SDN/NFV and the interest in 5G; in both cases, the market is grappling with a new set of technologies that look to define network architectures and investments for years to come. In the case of 5G, a lack of clear definitions and timelines obviously stokes the interest.
  • Vendors vs. Technologies. Beyond 5G, SDN/NFV, or any other technologies, individual vendor strategies and moves were big news in 2015; interest in Nokia’s planned acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and the strategic Cisco-Ericsson partnership generally topped readership into any technology-specific analysis. On the one hand, the strategies of major market movers are always of interest, particularly as major M&A activities could change the entire telecom landscape. On the other hand, this sends a reminder that vendor dynamics – more than the technologies they sell – are always a critical component to moving the market forward.
  • Products vs. Technologies. A focus on specific technologies or vendor strategies should not obscure the fact that networks are built from products. It’s encouraging then to see product-level analysis – from new router and server launches to VNF and 5G product strategies – show up at the top of our report readership.

Of course, the fact that some reports are read more than others points to a potential problem: the topics and analyses that aren’t as well read. Whether focused on smaller vendors or less buzzed-about technologies, ignoring these spaces could leave vendors and service providers vulnerable to new threats. Looking at the least-read reports of 2015, some of these threats are very real.

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