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”

TCS Analyst Day: TCS Is Ready to Radicalize Agile Software Development

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • TCS promoted its agile software development strategy at the company’s TCS Analyst Day, advocating a radical departure from traditional software development approaches, particularly in the scoping and budgeting areas.
  • With its articulation of agile software development requirements, TCS gains a marketing boost in driving more agile software development, but must strengthen DevOps-related standards credentials and address the specific requirements of telcos.

At the recent Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Analyst Day, throughout various sessions and its ‘Perspectives’ publication, TCS advocated the case for agile software development requiring profound changes in budgeting and scoping. Research indicates that nearly two-thirds of the features built into systems using traditional (i.e., waterfall) software development processes are rarely or never used, and the 20% that are used provide 80% of the value to customers. Traditional methods entail scoping system requirements which warrant a detailed estimation based on extensive upfront requirements of the whole system. In parallel, cost estimates are based on detailed upfront estimates of system scope and schedule. Continue reading “TCS Analyst Day: TCS Is Ready to Radicalize Agile Software Development”

Amdocs Tosses Hat into Smartbot Ring, but Adoption Hurdles Loom

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Amdocs introduced its Smartbot offering at Mobile World Congress Americas and followed with demos at the Amdocs Digital Summit, pre-integrating Amdocs’ aia intelligence platform and Microsoft Cognitive Analytics capabilities in delivering innovative, personalized, self-service interactions to digital operator customers.
  • Amdocs confronts adoption barriers, as operators must first adapt and automate their operations and business processes to deliver real-time, interactive Smartbot capabilities to their digital customers.

At the Mobile World Congress Americas show and follow-up demos during the Amdocs Digital Summit, Amdocs rolled out its new artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based Smartbot solution. The pre-integrated solution uses Amdocs aia intelligence platform with Microsoft Cognitive Services, specifically Microsoft Language Understanding Intelligent Service (LUIS) and Text Analytics API, to enable personalized, self-service interactions with operator customers. The Amdocs Smartbot targets enabling operators to streamline and improve the customer experience, such as predictive care and smart promotional campaigns, using the Cognitive Services-enhanced understanding of natural language and human emotion. Continue reading “Amdocs Tosses Hat into Smartbot Ring, but Adoption Hurdles Loom”

Alibaba: Potential ZTEsoft Acquisition Ambitions Signal Competitive Upheaval in Telco Software Market

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Alibaba generated industry headlines during the summer of 2017 due to speculation it was poised to acquire ZTEsoft and heavily invest in China Unicom.

• While the rumored acquisition has yet to take place, Alibaba’s potential expansion into the telco software realm affirms the expanding influence of Webscale platforms in telco software architecture evolution and telco digital business models.

Throughout the summer of 2017, Alibaba’s potential acquisition of ZTE’s software unit, ZTEsoft, for ~$440 million and a large investment in China Unicom produced widespread speculation that the Webscale stalwart is ready to expand its presence in the telco software segment. Alibaba covets ZTEsoft’s software assets to strengthen its hand in driving the build-out of cloud and mobile services throughout telco networks, especially data center applications. The rumored acquisition underlines the growing trend of telcos investing more in software-centric solutions, such as software-defined networking (SDN), DevOps, and OpenStack, to prepare their networks to meet the massive scaling demands of Webscale-originated traffic including 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) services. This includes delivering the intelligence and flexibility required to support vast, low-latency throughput among the data centers that serve the most popular Webscale brands, including Alibaba. Continue reading “Alibaba: Potential ZTEsoft Acquisition Ambitions Signal Competitive Upheaval in Telco Software Market”

Netrounds and Cisco Polish Orchestrated Assurance Credentials but Operator Readiness Uncertain

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Netrounds and Cisco expand their relationship to include the certification of Netrounds Virtual Test Agents (vTA) technology on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) servers targeting increasing operator demand for orchestrated assurance capabilities.

• Netrounds and Cisco confront adoption barriers as many operators exhibit fear of failure toward automating assurance processes without more use cases and rivals offer single-vendor, pre-integrated alternatives.

In June 2017, Netrounds and Cisco expanded its partnership targeting growing operator demand for orchestrated assurance. The collaboration entails the compatibility certification of Netrounds vTAs with Cisco UCS servers building on Netrounds existing certification and integration with Cisco Network Service Orchestrator (NSO). The move boosts the market profile of Netrounds’ automated service activation testing and active monitoring solution through the channel and certification alignment with Cisco. Both Cisco and Netrounds strengthen their hand in driving orchestrated automation as compatibility certification is an essential feature in spurring operator automation of assurance processes. However, the collaboration must show it can provide the solution capabilities needed to drive the full range of orchestrated assurance requirements and faces adoption barriers as operators continue to investigate which assurance processes are best suited for automation. Continue reading “Netrounds and Cisco Polish Orchestrated Assurance Credentials but Operator Readiness Uncertain”