Monday, December 19, 2016

Predictions 2017: The Age of Collaboration and Interoperability

by Daniel Kurgan,
CEO, BICS

2016 proved to be a remarkable year for the telecoms industry. In its crudest form, mobile was previously synonymous with the core voice services provided by operators. And while voice remains one of the biggest revenue streams for MNOs, the digital revolution has sparked a new age for communication. New, branded digital experiences – messaging apps, chat bots and even the Internet of Things – have pervaded mobile devices globally, as consumers expect instant connectivity and seamless services, wherever they are in the world.

As operators and internet service providers make great headway in giving subscribers the ultimate user experience with faster, more qualitative and cost-effective voice and data services,  2017 – despite its imminent challenges – could prove to be a turning point for the industry as a whole, with new revenue opportunities and partnerships to be reaped for those who have readied themselves to take advantage.

The abolition of EU roaming charges will force significant change in the industry

June 2017 will mark a huge juncture in mobile history as EU regulators abolish roaming charges, allowing subscribers to use their mobile phones abroad as they would at home.
The abolition of roaming charges in Europe for consumers will have a knock on effect for wholesalers, who will be under increasing pressure to reduce their own fees. However, roaming traffic is expected to grow significantly as more subscribers will be inclined to switch on data roaming as they travel. This surge in usage of mobile voice and data services abroad should offset the impact of the changes in legislation.

The wholesale telecoms sector will experience a period of upheaval as the new measures come into place. However, the blow could be softened by the decision made by EU ministers in December 2016 to cap wholesale rates. Essentially, this will give mobile operators and wholesale carriers time to adjust. Either way, mobile operators will need to adapt if they want to reap the rewards of the industry’s digital transformation.

The Internet of Things will spark new services and revenue streams

In 2017, we will witness more convergence across the telecoms space as service providers develop cross-platform propositions to support content services, and also look to diversify in order to target vertical markets.

The IoT will be a key driver of this transformation, as an increasing number of industries become reliant on mobile to provide the connectivity and infrastructure needed to support IoT implementations. IoT has become integral to the growth of smart homes, smart factories, automated production lines and the emergence of driverless cars.

We have already seen several deployments of global IoT solutions, but in 2017 these are likely to gain traction as more and more equipment manufacturers and enterprises look to embed global connectivity into their devices. Wholesalers will play a key role in bringing disparate players from other markets together, helping to drive collaboration that will support innovation in telecoms.

Increased M&A activity will prompt collaboration to take advantage of industry opportunities

Wholesalers are set to play a crucial role in the development and transformation of the telecoms industry in 2017, acting as a facilitator of new partnerships across the sector.

In 2016, we saw a number of high-profile M&As as major operators looked to enhance their digital propositions to offer content and media services. This was evident in the U.S. with the Verizon- Yahoo M&A and the recent move by AT&T to acquire Time Warner. On the consolidation front, the UK incumbent BT acquired EE, the country’s largest mobile operator.

In 2017, we’ll see similar activity again, but on a micro-level, as mobile operators and pure-play telecoms businesses look to partner with digital service providers, cloud communications companies and even fintech companies to embed mobile and rich communications services into their core proposition. In order for these players to capitalise on the opportunities before them, they will need to look at partnering with wholesalers, retail service providers and vendors to help make the connections, share assets and intelligence in order to develop and roll out new services and to new markets in order to differentiate.

About the Author

Daniel Kurgan, Chief Executive Officer, BICS Daniel Kurgan was appointed CEO of BICS SA/NV on March 2nd 2007 after being COO from July 1st 2006 onwards. He started his career as Contracts Manager at SABCA (biggest Belgian aerospace company, subsidiary of French Group Dassault), where he negotiated and managed major industrial sales, subcontracting and purchase contracts with customers like Boeing, Airbus, Aerospatiale (EADS), Asian governments, and suppliers like GEC Marconi and Litton.

Daniel joined Belgacom’s Carrier Division at the start of the carrier's commercial operations in January 1997, where he held several positions including International Account Manager, Head of International Relations & Sales, Sales Director (domestic and international wholesale) and VP International Wholesale, in charge of Sales & Marketing, Buying & LCR, and Customer Service and Network. In 2005 Daniel was VP Commercial of BICS, and contributed to the spin-off of Belgacom’s international carrier business.

Daniel graduated from the Solvay Business School of the University of Brussels.

Fujitsu Demos Open ROADM Interoperability in AT&T Field Trial

Fujitsu completed an Open ROADM interoperability field trial on AT&T’s network using the Virtuora multivendor software-defined networking solution and 1FINITY open hardware platform.

The trial was an extension of the Open ROADM Multi-Source Agreement (MSA), which defines interoperability specifications for Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs), including the ROADM switches, transponders and pluggable optics. The goal of the MSA is to move away from a traditionally closed ROADM optical transport network and toward a disaggregated open transport network, while allowing for centralized software control.

The multivendor field trial consisted of a 100 Gbps optical wavelength in the Dallas metro area carrying live customer traffic. Fujitsu provided transponders and ROADMs from their 1FINITY open hardware platform (1FINITY T300, 1FINITY L100/L110) connecting to high capacity IP/MPLS routers. The 100G wavelength was provisioned using the Virtuora SDN Network Controller, which was integrated into the AT&T ECOMP architecture via REST APIs.

“As an Open ROADM MSA member, Fujitsu shares our customers' vision for software-defined optical networks,” said Rod Naphan, chief technology officer at Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc. “Our 1FINITY hardware and Virtuora multivendor software platforms were designed based on the principles of openness, scalability and interoperability – which translate to cost savings, faster services deployment and improved network performance for service providers. We will continue striving to help customers like AT&T achieve their network vision.”

http://www.fujitsu.com/us/products/network/

AT&T Activates First Open ROADMs with Ciena and Fujitsu

AT&T recently activated a 100 Gbps wavelength in its production network in the Dallas area that uses Open ROADM-compliant technology. Specifically, AT&T connected 2 high capacity IP/MPLS routers with transponders and ROADMs provided by Ciena and Fujitsu.

Open ROADM project is a project underway with the backing of AT&T and a goal of driving faster innovation and open software control for the Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADMs) used in optical transport networks. An Open ROADM Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) defines interoperability specifications for Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexers (ROADM). Included are the ROADM switch as well as transponders and pluggable optics. Specifications consist of both Optical interoperability as well as YANG data models.

In a blog posting, Andre Fuetsch, President of AT&T Labs and CTO, said the newly installed ROADMs support full software control according to the published Open ROADM specification. NetConf/YANG APIs are used for controlling and managing the optical network. The 100G wavelength was provisioned using an SDN ROADM Controller developed by Fujitsu and integrated into the AT&T ECOMP architecture.

http://about.att.com/innovationblog/open_roadms
http://openroadm.org/home.html

VMware Acquires Plumgrid

PLUMgrid, a start-up offering an Open Networking Suite (ONS) for clouds based on OpenStack, confirmed that its technology, intellectual property, and many of its employees have been acquired. Media sources cited VMware as the buyer.  Neither company commented on financial terms or other highlights of the deal.

PLUMgrid,which was founded in 2011 and is based in Santa Clara, California, pioneered the concept of providing programmability and extensibility in the data plane by introducing the notion of an IO processor with the canonical operations of Parse, Lookup, Update, and Modify and distributing them in software defined data centers.  The company built and delivered a platform-based SDN architecture designed to provide network virtualization, network automation and security across any hypervisor, any container, any device, and any hardware.

http://www.plumgrid.com/plumgrid-blog/2016/12/an-update-on-plumgrid-for-customers-and-partners/


IEEE Kicks of 5G Initiative

IEEE is kicking off a 5G Initiative with the purpose of engaging professionals worldwide from industry, government, and academia to work to solve the challenges associated with 5G and lay the foundation to realize its many opportunities.

The IEEE 5G Initiative, which includes contributions from many IEEE societies, has several working groups for which it seeks volunteers from both industry and academia to participate.

IEEE 5G Initiative working groups are focused around activities like its 5G Roadmap project, which will identify short (~3 years), mid-term (~5 years), and long-term (~10 years) research, innovation, and technology trends in the communications ecosystem for the purpose of establishing a living document with a clear set of recommendations. Other working groups will develop standards, organize events and conferences such as the IEEE 5G Summits and IEEE 5G World Forum to convene professionals working on 5G, establish educational materials, conduct 5G training, and contribute to publications such as magazines and journals.

The co-chairs of the IEEE 5G Initiative are Ashutosh Dutta and Gerhard Fettweis. In the private sector, Dutta serves as Lead Member of Technical Staff at AT&T. Fettweis serves as Senior Research Scientist at the International Computer Science Institute and as Vodafone Chair Professor at TU Dresden. Both Dutta and Fettweis serve on the IEEE Communications Society’s Board of Governors and Dutta also serves as ComSoc’s Industry Outreach Director.

“5G is not only evolutionary, providing higher bandwidth and lower latency than current-generation technology; more importantly, 5G is revolutionary, in that it is expected to enable fundamentally new applications with much more stringent requirements in latency and bandwidth," said Dutta. “5G should help solve the last-mile/last-kilometer problem and provide broadband access to the next billion users on earth at much lower cost because of its use of new spectrum and its improvements in spectral efficiency.”

https://www.facebook.com/ieee5g/

Ixia Ships First 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) Test Solution to Carrier

Ixia announced the first shipment of a 400 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) test solution to a major, worldwide carrier.

“Ixia continues to lead the market in developing validation solutions and our list of firsts continues to grow,” said Dennis Cox, Chief Product Officer at Ixia. “Over the past 15 years, Ixia has been first to develop test systems supporting 10GbE, 100GbE, 40GbE, 25GbE, and 50 GbE, and now 400 GbE.”

Ixia noted that it was the first vendor to successfully and publicly demonstrate leading edge, IEEE802.3bs draft compliant 400GbE technology at several industry events in 2016. These demonstrations, held in Japan and Germany, confirmed that 400GbE technology, including key elements such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) running Ixia intellectual property, CFP8 connectors, and optics, are available and ready to build the next generation of high speed networking products.

http://www.ixiacom.com

NeoPhotonics to Sell Low Speed Transceiver Business to APAT Optoelectronics

NeoPhotonics will sell its Access and Low Speed transceiver product lines to APAT Optoelectronics Components Co., of Shenzhen, China. The transaction is valued at approximately $26.4 million, inclusive of post-closing payments under a Transition Services Agreement.

In 2015, and for the first 9 months of 2016, the Low Speed Business generated $92.8 million and $50.7 million in revenue, respectively, and gross profit of $16.7 million and $9.7 million, respectively. Net assets for the business were approximately $18.0 million as of September 30, 2016.

Commenting on the transaction, Tim Jenks, NeoPhotonics Chief Executive Officer, stated, “After a comprehensive evaluation of the alternatives available for the Low Speed Business, we believe this transaction will best benefit our shareholders, customers, and employees. This transaction underscores our objective to focus our efforts on growing high speed optical networking products and solutions based on our advanced hybrid photonic integration technology platform to meet customer demand.” Jenks continued, “We believe the Low Speed Business will benefit from APAT OE's expertise in Access and PON products while continuing to provide quality products, support and services to customers.”

http://www.neophotonics.com

See also