Monday, January 19, 2015

Blueprint: 2015 - The Year of Voice

by Phil Twist, Vice President of Networks Portfolio Marketing, Nokia

Look around the room you're in right now. Chances are you see technology that has only been around for a short time. You may be reading this on a tablet or smartphone that is less than two years old. And while your phone calls may not sound much different than they did decades ago on a landline, the technology behind it all has been rapidly evolving. And with developments such as 4G and ubiquitous Wi-Fi setting the stage, we’re rapidly approaching the next iteration of voice.

The past several years have seen the development of underlying technologies that stand to redefine telecommunications, and in 2015 some of these innovations will begin to bear fruit. Here are a few key developments to look for in 2015 that will have a profound impact on the telco industry.

The Next Stage of the Telco Cloud

It starts with the next phase of something that has been around for more than a decade. By now we’re familiar with the cloud and how it can benefit us as consumers and as businesses by increasing flexibility in a variety of ways. Internet companies, for example, have the agility within their infrastructure to rapidly develop and deploy new services to attract customers and generate revenue. Up to this point, we have not seen this within the telco industry. Now, however, operators are taking the next big step by actually deploying commercial clouds within their infrastructure that will be responsible for providing traditional network services and delivering new innovative services to customers.

Cloud-based infrastructure will provide major benefits when it comes to flexibility in the product development cycle. Rather than develop a product and slowly integrate it into a legacy infrastructure with lengthy testing, operators will enjoy a much shorter innovation cycle, and the freedom to rapidly adopt new ideas – and discard those that prove untenable. The result for operators is increased capacity and new opportunities to generate revenue. For customers, the benefit is greater choices when it comes to the services and providers they use. But it’s also something more fundamental – simply better communication.

Voice over LTE

With LTE now available all over the world and the almost ubiquitous availability of Wi-Fi, the path has been cleared for two major developments in the way voice services are delivered and consumed. One of these is Voice over LTE (VoLTE). We have seen the first deployments of this in 2014, and it will become more mainstream in the coming year as more providers roll it out to customers.

VoLTE is a transformational technology that brings voice communications into the 21st century. Anyone who has ever had to say “D as in Delta” during a phone call knows the limits of clarity, as traditional networks limit the audio frequencies that are transmitted in order to save bandwidth. VoLTE, however, provides true high-definition audio that delivers the full spectrum of sound to the user for crystal-clear communications to greatly improve the user experience.

Not only does this benefit the customer, but telco operators experience dramatically improved efficiency in the use of the network. As one of the first services based on cloud technology to be deployed, VoLTE delivers 15 times the efficiency of traditional network architecture, allowing call volumes to expand while reducing total bandwidth demands. This frees up more resources for carrying data, which is still seeing an explosion in demand. And the provider that can deliver such improved service to customers is likely to be rewarded with improved customer loyalty.


The innovation will continue in 2015 with the rise of Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWifi). Like VoLTE, VoWifi takes advantage of improved network infrastructure for new means of providing voice service – in this case, extending the use of Wi-Fi to complement 4G networks. With cell towers being outdoors and potentially far from the user, some wireless customers suffer from poor indoor reception. But while their 3G or 4G connection might be weak, wireless networks have popped up nearly everywhere.

VoWifi takes advantage of this ubiquity by delivering seamless voice communications over the wireless network to complement the provider’s network. With cell and Wi-Fi coverage working together, poor signal strength becomes a thing of the past. VoWifi also means that by connecting to Wi-Fi when it’s available, the customer can make local calls without worrying about roaming charges. And with better service, tools that have suffered from poor performance – such as video calling – become true communication tools that can be used anywhere. The end result – operators providing better service and customers enjoying more productive communications.

The innovations coming to service providers and customers in 2015 all begin with significant network improvements that break through the impediments to innovation, yielding new services including VoLTE and VoWifi. And as operators’ infrastructure becomes more powerful and dynamic, watch as more tools are developed to increase the power of communication. The future of voice communication is bright – watch as it all begins unfolding in 2015.

About the Author

Phil is VP of Networks Portfolio Marketing for Nokia, covering forthcoming technologies, radio and core infrastructure for GSM, WCDMA, FDD-LTE and TD-LTE, as well packet core, subscriber data management, packet networks, industry-leading OSS and Customer Experience Management software and the full suite of Global Services including network planning and optimization services, system integration, implementation, care and managed services.

Phil has been active in the telecoms industry since 1984 and has extensive experience working with operators to implement innovative solutions and achieve business success. In his earlier positions at Nokia Siemens Networks and Nokia Networks, which he joined in 1999, he was global Sales Director for Vodafone, head of the Customer Team responsible for Hutchison's business in the UK, and head of a Business Development team. Phil has a Masters degree in Electrical Sciences from Cambridge University and an MBA. He is married, has three daughters and lives in Hampshire, UK.

About Nokia Networks

Nokia Networks is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. From the first ever call on GSM, to the first call on LTE, we operate at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology. Our global experts invent the new capabilities our customers need in their networks. We provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence to maximize the value of those networks, and the services to make it all work seamlessly.  //