Nexign and Bubbletone Go Exclusive and Double Down on Telco Blockchain Prospects

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Nexign and Bubbletone augmented their relationship, agreeing to exclusive terms across sales, business, and product development to ensure they sustain competitive differentiation in the early stages of the telco blockchain market.
  • As Nexign and Bubbletone double down on their alliance, they must produce operator endorsements to validate their differentiation and first-mover marketing claims.

In October 2018, Nexign and Bubbletone officially unveiled the decision to take their existing partnership to the next level by entering into exclusivity terms across their sales, business, and product development efforts. Forming an exclusive partnership is a rarity in the telecommunications supplier market, and it demonstrates Nexign and Bubbletone’s determination to press their early inroads in the emerging telco blockchain market. Equally important, the new terms remove concerns that the alliance could lose focus if either Nexign or Bubbletone started forming multiple blockchain and BSS partnerships (see: Nexign and Bubbletone Ready to Turbocharge the BSS Market with Embedded Blockchain Applications,” August 13, 2018).  As a result, Nexign and Bubbletone are on a stronger footing to pursue their joint goal of earning operator trust and accelerating the adoption of blockchain innovations.  The partnership identifies innovations like capturing new revenue streams from roaming visitors and eliminating intermediaries as key reasons for operators to embrace blockchain technology. Continue reading “Nexign and Bubbletone Go Exclusive and Double Down on Telco Blockchain Prospects”

The Telco Blockchain Bandwagon is Ready for Take Off

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

• Blockchain is generating many headlines, mostly related to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and the prospect of a new paradigm for fully secure and trusted transactions.

• Telcos are now getting on board what is being billed as the next $1 billion opportunity but must figure out how to work with their suppliers in building new capabilities, ranging from the elimination of hated roaming fees to new connected device services like drone deliveries.

As telcos continue to struggle across the board with declines in both revenue and profitability, blockchain is emerging as a technology with the potential to radically transform the telecommunications industry as well as many other industries. A recent forecast by ResearchAndMarkets predicts revenue from the telecom blockchain will increase by an 80%+ compound annual growth rate over the next five years to nearly $1 billion, while consulting stalwart Accenture sees the potential for a $1 trillion global telco blockchain ecosystem. Even with the wide variance in market forecasts, there is a broad industry consensus that blockchain will grow significantly and play a powerful role in transforming the telco business model and overall industry. Continue reading “The Telco Blockchain Bandwagon is Ready for Take Off”

Whale Cloud: ZTEsoft’s Rebrand Makes a Whale of a Marketing Difference

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Whale Cloud formally debuted its new brand name as the telco software unit of parent company Alibaba, expanding its cloud portfolio range and market ambitions.
  • As Whale Cloud sheds its ZTEsoft identity and prior affiliation with ZTE, it must further clarify its portfolio in relation to Alibaba Cloud’s offering and put more emphasis on 5G capabilities.

In August 2018, Whale Cloud formally unveiled its new brand name and portfolio as the telco software unit of parent company Alibaba and a key partner in Alibaba Cloud’s software service ecosystem, shedding its ZTEsoft identity. (A follow-up official announcement and press release is expected in September 2018.) Whale Cloud’s rebranding follows on Alibaba’s acquisition of ZTE’s stake in ZTEsoft for $190.6 million in February 2018. With the new brand, Whale Cloud strengthens its identity as an integral unit of Alibaba, further distancing the company from the ZTEsoft namesake and historical affiliation with prior parent company ZTE after a three-month shutdown for not complying with terms of a settlement reached with the U.S. government in March 2017. ZTE’s struggles created public relations fallout for the ZTEsoft namesake, fair or not, despite the fact that ZTEsoft’s separation from ZTE Corporation was already well underway. Continue reading “Whale Cloud: ZTEsoft’s Rebrand Makes a Whale of a Marketing Difference”

The Politics of AI is Surging: Operators Must Be Aware of National Security Dimensions

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:                

  • In May, the Trump administration formed a Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence, convened under National Science and Technology Council – sending a clear message that AI is a vital technology in determining the future direction of the U.S.
  • The AI task force ensures AI development will definitely take on a political dimension – especially on defense issues – but the benefits to key U.S. technology segments such as telecommunications is uncertain.

At a White House Forum on AI held in May, the Trump Administration announced the formation of a new White House AI Task Force. The new “select committee” will comprise senior R&D officials in the federal government, who will be tasked with advising the White House on interagency AI R&D priorities; consider the creation of federal partnerships with industry and academia; establish structures to improve government planning and coordination of AI R&D; and identify opportunities to leverage federal “big data” to support a growing national AI R&D ecosystem. Continue reading “The Politics of AI is Surging: Operators Must Be Aware of National Security Dimensions”

Telco Software Corporate Rebranding: Key to Enabling New Growth Strategies and Long-term Competitiveness

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:           

  • In 2018 telco software suppliers Nexign, Optiva, Federos, and Nokia Software are using new brand names to power corporate strategic priorities such as penetrating new geographic regions and executing portfolio makeovers.
  • By using new brand names, telco software vendors demonstrate their strategic commitment to meeting emerging market demands and sustaining long-term competitiveness in a shifting and challenging market landscape.

 

Telco software vendors are constantly adapting new marketing and branding strategies to meet emerging market demands and shifting competitive dynamics. Nexign, Federos, Optiva, and Nokia Software are recent high-profile examples of vendors who are using new corporate namesakes as an integral element in boosting their long-term competitiveness. Continue reading “Telco Software Corporate Rebranding: Key to Enabling New Growth Strategies and Long-term Competitiveness”

New Telco Software AI Portfolio Enhancements Answer Operator Imperative to Master Customer Experience

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Telco vendor suppliers are boosting their AI credentials with Nokia recently unveiling the latest version of its Cognitive Analytics for Consumer Insight software, bolstering the Consumer Experience Index (CEI) with automated machine learning (ML) capabilities, the latest ecosystem solution aimed at driving operators to deliver real-time, personalized experiences and better compete against the major digital brands.

• Telco software suppliers, such as Nokia, should demonstrate multivendor credentials and build out an AI-specific services practice to further differentiate the solution and fulfill the full spectrum of operator digital business demands.

Operators are fighting for their long-term competitive survival. Top-tier digital brands such as Amazon, Google, Alibaba, and Netflix, are winning customer experience and satisfaction battles virtually across the board. In order to fight back operators must fulfill four major digital business objectives: Continue reading “New Telco Software AI Portfolio Enhancements Answer Operator Imperative to Master Customer Experience”

Omnichannel Rising: Operators Must Meet Emerging Customer Omnichannel Demands or Lose to the Digital Brands

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

• Operators are consistently performing poorly in customer satisfaction surveys, bearing the brunt of customer ire in how they must deal with them.

• Operators must now provide reliable, personal omnichannel experiences in order to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Failure is not an option since operators must deliver the omnichannel goods or face competitive oblivion.

Operators are unpopular with their customers. Customer satisfaction surveys regularly confirm that over-the-top (OTT) players, including major digital brands like Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, and Netflix, excel in providing good customer experience, especially in relation to operators. To add insult to injury, operators are seeing their revenues decline, including even from data services – their workhorse source of revenues.
Continue reading “Omnichannel Rising: Operators Must Meet Emerging Customer Omnichannel Demands or Lose to the Digital Brands”

TEOCO Goes Airborne to Differentiate Its Service Enablement Portfolio, but 3D Radio Challenges Await

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • TEOCO has launched its AirborneUTM platform, aimed at operator delivery of drone-powered services to verticals such as agriculture and energy, providing a clearly differentiated UAV service enablement platform.
  • However, TEOCO must expand ecosystem support for its AirborneUTM platform, especially enlisting UAV specialist partners, to ease operator adoption of drone-based service delivery and better manage the complexities of 3D radio environments.

In February 2018, TEOCO unveiled its AirborneUTM solution targeted at enabling operators to deliver drone-based Internet of Things (IoT) services to industry verticals such as agriculture, energy, and transport. TEOCO is integrating radio-signal-space (3D radio coverage), airspace, environmental data, cost, and regulatory information into a single platform, allowing operators to operate autonomous flight plans and missions. TEOCO is emphasizing that unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) operations require 3D radio connectivity to provide the command and control, communication, authentication, and tracking capabilities essential to supporting and scaling UAVs such as drones. The platform is designed to enable operators to rapidly register drones while also complying with regulations, especially including support for ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS) flights, which are not restricted by the distances pilots can see. In addition, the platform uses machine learning to enable real-time airspace control and open interfaces to ease integration into vertical ecosystems like agriculture and utilities. TEOCO is clearly differentiating its portfolio by launching a UAV-specific platform aimed at operators, contrasting with service enablement competitors like Huawei and Ericsson which are only supporting UAV services as one of many potential applications on their respective digital transformation platforms. Continue reading “TEOCO Goes Airborne to Differentiate Its Service Enablement Portfolio, but 3D Radio Challenges Await”

MWC18: Netcracker’s 5G Monetization Solution Readies Operators for 5G Business Case Journey, but a Winner Is Essential in 2018

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Netcracker unveiled its new 5G monetization solution at Mobile World Congress 218, aimed at delivering the 5G use cases essential to justifying massive operator investments in 5G technology.
  • However, Netcracker must further sharpen its portfolio development and marketing on a breakthrough 5G use case, with e-health a leading candidate, to jump-start 5G monetization and avoid overextended, spread-out pursuit of effective 5G business cases.

At Mobile World Congress 2018, Netcracker launched its 5G monetization solution, publicizing growing operator demand for commercializing emerging 5G services, particularly during their transitions from 4G services to 5G services. Netcracker’s solution is developed to solve core 5G monetization challenges such as delivering the dynamic network slicing and distributed edge computing essential to executing new digital business models and extracting value from 5G offerings. Moreover, Netcracker is stressing that its solution meets the emerging requirements in building 5G use cases such as fixed wireless access, virtual/augmented entertainment and collaboration, remote medicine, and industrial robotics. By using open source software and distributed domain orchestration, the solution supports the cloud-native microservices architecture needed to lower the upfront costs of flexibly deploying services in order to arrive at delivering successful commercial 5G services. Continue reading “MWC18: Netcracker’s 5G Monetization Solution Readies Operators for 5G Business Case Journey, but a Winner Is Essential in 2018”

EXFO: Astellia Acquisition Foretells New Differentiation in Service Assurance Market

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • EXFO is advancing the completion of its acquisition of service assurance specialist Astellia, expanding its mobile assurance portfolio and customer footprint.
  • However, EXFO must use the Astellia acquisition to forge competitive differentiation in areas like fixed-mobile convergence assurance and 3D geolocation applications.

In December 2017, consolidation of the service assurance market heated up. EXFO announced the opening of its all-cash voluntary tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of assurance specialist Astellia that EXFO does not already own, following the off-market acquisition of 33.1% of Astellia’s equity. The move follows Nokia’s 2017 acquisition of OSS supplier Comptel, due in good part to Comptel’s FlowOne closed-loop service assurance assets. The acquisition bolsters EXFO’s existing service assurance footprint, adding Astellia’s base of 120 operator customers. Equally important, EXFO locks up Astellia’s mobile service assurance expertise, augmenting its existing fixed and mobile assurance portfolio. However, EXFO cannot rest on its laurels in nearing the completion of the Astellia acquisition. In 2018, EXFO must find ways to differentiate its portfolio through the integration of the Astellia assets, as operator demands for automated assurance in complex multi-play service environments will escalate and will not wait for slow-on-the-draw suppliers because of integration distractions. Continue reading “EXFO: Astellia Acquisition Foretells New Differentiation in Service Assurance Market”