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”

Operator Resistance to Automation is Slowly Breaking Down, Especially in Security

John Byrne – Service Director, Global Technology Telecom and Software

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco’s new Cybersecurity Report shows that networks are facing an increasing level of threat from a growing number of threat sources, and attacks from malicious actors are getting more sophisticated.
  • Now enterprises and communication service providers need to embrace analytics, automation and artificial intelligence to help identify threats and mitigate damage from attacks.

A new Cybersecurity Report from Cisco reveals some scary statistics that confirm what most public network operators – AT&T, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Comcast and the like – already know  too well – network security is leaky, getting more so, and the attacks are coming from more “threat vectors” than ever. And public network operators – which are perhaps the most vulnerable targets given their access to millions of enterprises and consumers – need to engage in a never-ending battle to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. That, in turn, means CTOs and security executives will need to move much more aggressively on the three “As” – analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and automation – in order to prevent breaches, mitigate damage, protect sensitive customer data.

The Cisco report calls out a few of the concerning proof points:

  • Malicious e-mail and spam remain as key points of vulnerability since they deliver malware directly to end devices such as smartphones and laptops at the click of a button.
  • The incidence of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks is growing – 42% of organizations reported this kind of attack in 2017 – and the attacks are doing more damage and getting harder to root out.
  • Encryption is growing as a way to ensure web traffic remains secure, with 50% of web traffic encrypted in November 2017, up from just 38% the year before. Unfortunately, malicious actors are also getting better at using encryption to conceal malicious code used to infect unwitting Internet users.

After factoring in lost revenue, lost customers, missed opportunities, and out-of-pocket costs, Cisco estimates 53% of all cybersecurity attacks last year resulted in financial damages in excess of $500,000 to the affected enterprise.

There is some good news though on adoption of the three “As”: Cisco reports that 83% are relying on automation to help lock down security, with nearly 3/4 using some form of AI, while 92% of enterprises report that behavior analytics have been effective in helping to recognize malicious network activity and limit its damage to the network. Given the continued reluctance of many operators to embrace automation broadly within their network operations, their willingness to accept the importance of automation in network security is a good sign; going forward, as operators embrace virtualization, cloud-native microservices, and DevOps, automation will become increasingly vital to manage networks that are becoming exponentially more complex to operate and maintain. Continue reading “Operator Resistance to Automation is Slowly Breaking Down, Especially in Security”

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”