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”

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”