Monday, January 5, 2015

Blueprint: Collaboration to Drive Telecoms Market in 2015

2015 looks set to be another fascinating one for the telecoms sector as we begin to see the next stage of evolution in services and business models. Following the rapid adoption of LTE, we are likely to see an increasing number of operators further developing their offering and introducing VoLTE, LTE roaming and other advanced 4G services.

OTTs and MVNOs are also looking to expand their portfolios and customer reach by breaking out of their silos and moving into more mainstream telecoms services. The current market evolution has created a scenario where, in order to deliver the optimum customer experience and maximise revenue, the sector as a whole needs to break out of their individual mind-sets and adopt a more collaborative approach.

For instance, in order to deliver quality of experience and reach their goal of breaking out of their silo-based models and widen the range of services they provide, OTT players must engage with both operators and infrastructure providers to take advantage of their footprint and network services.

Mobile operators too must collaborate in order to provide a range of interoperable services normally associated with OTT providers, including file transfer and VoIP services. Many operators have already recognised the value in offering enhanced messaging services, usually the realm of the Internet players, with RCS adoption. There are encouraging signs widescale adoption is not far away. Recently, BICS conducted a survey of industry executives on their attitudes and plans for RCS adoption and found that two thirds of operators were looking to go live by the end of 2015.

In Europe, further adjustments to roaming charges and other regulations are expected, which will further open up the telecoms market. This will give way to a number of new niche MVNOs founded on innovative roaming-only premises. For carriers, these regulatory developments will offer opportunities to improve roaming monetisation through the launch of enhanced roaming services such as tailored packages for specific customer types. This will further stimulate usage as consumers receive a higher-quality user experience relevant to their needs.

Commercial LTE services are now available in over 100 countries according to GSA figures announced in October, and many suppliers have extended this commitment to offering customers the highest data speeds wherever they are in the world by introducing LTE roaming agreements. In 2015, we can expect this trend to continue and the widespread use of further enhanced services, including HD Voice and VoLTE.

The enhanced user experience brought about by next generation new voice services will invigorate the voice market, enabling operators to better monetise voice.

With market consolidation continuing and so many dynamic factors in play those who succeed will need to have a compelling offer across the range of services including voice, messaging, GRX and signalling. Operators will also look to their infrastructure providers to offer far more than just the transport network, seeking intelligent services that facilitate monetisation, innovative packages and efficiencies.

To satisfy demanding end-users innovation is key. The best way to achieve this is for all the players in the mobile ecosystem to work collaboratively to create benefits for all parties and ultimately the end customer.

About the Author

Daniel Kurgan is CEO of BICS SA/NV. He 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.

About BICS

BICS delivers best-in-class international wholesale solutions to any communication service provider worldwide. Through its Mosaic portfolio, a comprehensive, flexible and innovative suite of solutions designed to be used individually, or collectively, BICS meets the existing and future requirements of the global telecoms industry. BICS is headquartered in Brussels with regional offices in Bern, Dubai, Madrid, New York and Singapore.

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AT&T Developer Summit: SDN, NFV, IoT and WebRTC

 AT&T is the first U.S. carrier to launch support for Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC).  The announcement, which was made at the annual AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas, paves the way for voice and video calling from web browsers to mobiles and landlines without the need to install any software or plugins. The AT&T Enhanced WebRTC API is now available in an open beta program and offers several enhancements to the basic WebRTC standard.

Some highlights from AT&T Developer Summit and keynotes:

  • Software-defined networking will drive the biggest transformation at AT&T in 30-years, said John Donovan, Senior Vice President, AT&T Technology and Operations. He said the open movement is essential to AT&T's networking strategy, especially OpenStack, which is now deployed in 20 sites. Donovan also confirmed a 5-year, $5 million commitment to back ON.Lab's open source, SDN Open Network Operating System (ONOS) for Service Providers.
  • The AT&T NetBond ecosystem now includes 11 cloud service providers and is part of the AT&T Mobile Cloud. Sungard Availability Services and Blue Jeans Network are the newest AT&T NetBond members. Sungard AS will manage, backup, and recover data and applications. Blue Jeans Network will give people the tools they need to collaborate over video, virtually whenever and wherever.
  • AT&T is expanding its Digital Life home automation services with new products from Lutron Electronics, Samsung, Qualcomm Life, and LG Electronics.
  • Lutron Electronics will offer devices such as window shades and lighting controls, that can be programmed through the Digital Life app. Samsung Techwin’s newest Wi-Fi IP camera will also be added to the Digital Life camera automation offerings, providing high-quality images with Wide Dynamic Range (WDR), Samsung Light Enhancer (SLE) technology and advanced motion detection to reduce false alerts.  Qualcomm Life’s 2net Platform and Hub is a medical-grade device connectivity platform and standalone gateway that allows customers to seamlessly transmit biometric data such as blood pressure or weight, via the Digital Life app.  LG’s webOS Smart TV’s with AllJoyn capabilities could receive notifications and alerts from the Digital Life system - such as if someone is at the front door or even be alerted if there is a leak in their basement.
  • AT&T Work Platform extends BYOD functionality by allowing specific data allotments and services to be charged to an enterprise while personal services on the device remain unchanged.  This reduces the need to manually calculate employee stipends for personal devices. AT&T is working with MobileIron, AirWatch by VMware, and Good Technology to enable such capabilities.
  • AT&T announced the commercial availability of the M2X Data Service, its first Internet of Things (IoT) managed service for developers.  The company also unveiled a Beta Version of AT&T Flow Designer, which is a new cloud-based visual development tool aimed at speeding the development time required to build new IoT applications. Typical IoT-focused solutions can be complex as they require application integrations at the device, network and application layers.
  • Subaru of America is the latest car company to join the AT&T Drive program for automotive connectivity.S TARLINK is the Subaru in-vehicle platform that provides hands-free connectivity, entertainment, and safety services to Subaru vehicle occupants. Subaru will offer owners STARLINK with a built-in AT&T 4G LTE communications module capable of offering features including stolen vehicle recovery, automatic collision notification, remote vehicle services such as lock/unlock via a smartphone device and monthly vehicle health reports. 
  • There were more than 4,000 attendees at the AT&T Developer Summit.

NTT Com Opens REST API Gateway to Customers

NTT Communications activated a new API Gateway that enables customers and partner companies to use their own systems to directly view and control information to operate and maintain business services. The API Gateway, which leverages NTT Com's network and cloud services, is available from delivery centers in Japan, the USA and Europe.

Initially, the following NTT Com services will be compatible with the new gateway: Arcstar Universal One, Arcstar Universal One Virtual, and Arcstar Universal One Mobile Global M2M, Enterprise Cloud, Cloudn, Nexcenter colocation, Arcstar UCaaS (Unified Communication), Arcstar SIP Trunking (External telephone), and Enterprise Mail.

NTT said the chief advantage of an API Gateway is that it les corporate customers to use NTT Com services faster and more efficiently.  The gateway standardizes API specifications for NTT Com services and simplifies deployment on the systems of customers and partners by leveraging the REST API and OAuth industry standards. Information on specifications and deployment will be readily available through a developers' portal. The gateway has multilayered security, including Web Application Firewalls, protection against DDoS attacks and unauthorized API access.

The gateway is offered to NTT Com customers and partners who use the NTT Communications Business Portal. There is no charge to use the gateway. Interfaces in Japanese and English are available.

SK Telecom Activates World’s First Tri-band LTE-A Service

SK Telecom activated the world's first commercial tri-band LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service, boasting downlink speeds of up to 300 Mbps by aggregating three component carriers in three different frequency bands: 20MHz bandwidth in 1.8GHz band, 10MHz bandwidth in 800MHz band, and 10MHz bandwidth in 2.1GHz band.

At peak speed, the service is capable of downloading a 1GB movie in only 28 seconds.

In order to provide tri-band LTE-A service, base stations that support three different frequency bands are required and all three component carriers must intersect.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 S-LTE is the first tri-band LTE-A capable device.

SK Telecom said that since it has already secured Wideband LTE-A coverage in the main areas of all cities across South Korea - meaning that it already has in place 800MHz and 1.8GHz base stations - it can offer tri-band LTE-A service by simply adding 2.1GHz base stations. The company plans to build more than 26,000 2.1GHz base stations within the first quarter of 2015 to provide its customers with the fastest mobile telecommunications service in Seoul/ Seoul Metropolitan Area, central areas of all cities nationwide as well as all subway lines in Korea.

SK Telecom also has plans for 4-band and 5-band carrier aggregation on its roadmap to realizing 5G service.

Broadcom Speeds Wi-Fi Forward with 4x4 MU-MIMO Chip

Broadcom debuted new 802.11ac chips for high performance and mass market retail routers, wireless cable/DSL/PON gateways and set-top boxes (STBs).

The new BCM4366 incorporates multiple 802.11ac Wave 2 features, including a MU-MIMO implementation, which delivers up to a 4x speed boost, and optimizations for broadcast-quality video.

Some key features:

  • NitroQAM modulation for higher peak throughput
  • Capable of 8x8 5G WiFi XStream configuration with 8 client MU-MIMO support
  • Dedicated hardware for enhancing video distribution while maintaining best-in-class data performance
  • Enhanced receiver performance in the presence of interference for better range
  • Enables 160MHz aggregation for mobile devices taking upload and download speeds to the next level
  • Zero Wait DFS allows access points to connect to more 5 GHz channels and achieve higher capacity to deliver better performance

The new portfolio also includes the BCM53573 and BCM47189 dual-band 2x2 5G WiFi SoCs for affordable and mid-tier residential routers, wireless repeaters, power line and MOCA Wi-Fi bridges. These two new SoCs are the first to integrate a 2x2 802.11ac radio on a single chip with a CPU and Ethernet switch, which reduces cost while delivering the powerful benefits of 5G WiFi to the entry-level segment.

"Broadcom continues to deliver the industry's highest performing 5G WiFi solutions," said Manny Patel, Broadcom Director, Wireless Connectivity. "The new 4x4 5G WiFi MU-MIMO architecture enables our customers to design faster, higher capacity, longer range access points that are equipped to address the growing number of connected devices in the home and continued demand for high quality wireless video streaming."

New ETSI Group Focuses on Millimetre Wave Transmission

ETSI has created a new Industry Specification Group (ISG) to work on millimetre Wave Transmission (mWT) in the 30GHz to 300GHz range, where there is one order of magnitude of more spectrum available in this band than in lower bands.

Specifically, ETSI’s new Industry Specification Group on millimetre Wave Transmission (ISG mWT) will facilitate the use of the V-band (57-66 GHz), the E-band (71-76 & 81-86 GHz) and, in the future, higher frequency bands (up to 300 GHz) for large volume backhaul and fronthaul applications to support mobile network implementation, wireless local loop and any other service benefitting from high speed wireless transmission. The first meeting will be held this month.

Huawei: 2014 Sales Expected to Hit US46 Billion, up 15%

Huawei's 2014 sales revenue were expected to reach US$46 billion in 2014, an increase of over 15% year-on-year, according to a New Year message posted by Ken Hu, Huawei's Rotating CEO.

A key area of progress over the past year has been the consolidation of the company's SoftCOM telecom network architecture, deeply integrating the concepts of cloud computing, Software-defined Networking (SDN), and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). Hu said these solutions "will reshape the telecom industry in four areas: services, operations, network functions, and network architecture. We have helped carriers with their comprehensive businesses transformation and network evolution."  Hu also highlighted the company's Service-driven Distributed Cloud Data Center solution; its OceanStor converged storage system, its IoT-oriented agile gateway; and its agile data center networking and agile branch solutions.

Looking forward to 2015, Hu discusses on-going structural changes inside the company along with efforts to "glocalize" operations in the 170 countries and regions in which Huawei operates.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Nokia Networks Takes Over Panasonic's Base Station Business

Nokia Networks has taken over key parts of the wireless network business of Panasonic System Networks Company Limited (PSN) in Japan.

Under the deal announced last July, Panasonic has handed over its LTE/3G wireless base station system business for mobile operators and related wireless equipment system business. The deal includes fixed assets, more than 300 employees and relevant contracts from Panasonic to Nokia Networks.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nokia Networks said the acquisition enhances its existing mobile broadband capabilities and strengthens its market share for base station systems and related wireless equipment in Japan.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Luis Martinez-Amago Appointed CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell

Alcatel-Lucent appointed Luis Martinez-Amago as CEO of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell (ASB).

Mr. Martinez-Amago previously served as president of Alcatel-Lucent’s activities in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He has has run several Alcatel-Lucent businesses, including its fixed access, applications and wireless transmission divisions. He has been based in London, Vienna, Antwerp, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona, where he joined the company 26 years ago.

Commenting on Mr. Martinez-Amago’s appointment, Yuan Xin, chairman of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell said: “Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell has been a key pillar of Alcatel-Lucent for the last 30 years and will continue to be so with Luis at its helm. He will apply his outstanding capabilities in the continuation of ASB’s journey inside and outside of China”.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

SingTel Tests Ericsson's In-building Radio Dot

SingTel is conducting a field trial of Ericsson’s Radio Dot System at Changi Business Park across both its WCDMA (3G) and LTE live networks.

Ericsson's Radio Dot System is a small antenna element or “dot” which delivers mobile broadband access to users. Dots are connected and powered via standard internet LAN cables (Category 5/6/7) to indoor radio units that link to a base station. The Radio Dot System leverages the same features found in Ericsson’s macro base station. Ericsson said this allows the indoor network evolves in lockstep with the outdoor network.

Infonetics Research Acquired by IHS

Infonetics Research has been acquired by IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), which provides information, expertise and analysis to support the decision-making process of businesses and governments. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Infonetics will be integrated into the IHS Technology group, which includes 10 major market coverage areas, including Automotive and Transportation; Consumer Electronics; Displays; Industrial, Security and Medical Technology; Information Technology (IT); Materials and Cost Benchmarking; Media; Power and Energy; Semiconductor and Components; and Telecommunications.

"The synergy between IHS and Infonetics is significant," says J'Amy Stewart, CEO and co-founder of Infonetics Research. "IHS has a global salesforce in 32 countries, very complementary technology coverage, and the majority of the Global Fortune 500 and U.S. Fortune 1000 companies as clients."

Australia's NBN Co Incorporates Optus HFC into Roadmap

Before the break, Australia's NBN Co announced plans to acquire key elements of the Optus hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) cable network.

NBN Co seeks to progressively take ownership of the Optus coaxial access network in those parts of the country where it represents the fastest and most cost effective way to deliver fast broadband to families and businesses.

Under the previous government, NBN Co and SingTel Optus had agreed to the progressive migration of Optus subscribers to the NBN and the eventual decommissioning of the Optus HFC network. NBN Co now plans to incorporate copper and HFC alongside fibre, fixed wireless and satellite technologies, to reduce the overall cost of the project.

“This deal will bring down the overall cost of building the NBN and enable us to complete the rollout much earlier than originally anticipated with less disruption to residents and communities. What’s more, making use of technologies such as HFC – rather than decommissioning them – enables Australia to capitalise on the significant investments being made globally in broadband technology," stated Bill Morrow, NBN Co CEO.

NBN Co also updated its 2015 roadmap, stating that construction of the NBN will have commenced or be complete for around 3.3 million Australian homes and businesses by June 2016.  Currently, about 309,000 premises across Australia are connected to the NBN.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Telstra's Acquisition of Pacnet Brings Asia-Pac Submarine Cables

Telstra announced plans to acquire Pacnet Limited, which owns and operates a pan-Asian submarine cable network and offers managed services and data center services to carriers, multinational corporations and governments across the region, for US$697 million acquisition is subject to completion adjustments.

In addition to its submarine cables and 21 landing stations in China, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, Pacnet’s core assets comprise an integrated network with 109 PoPs across 61 cities in the Asia-Pacific region, along with 29 data centers in key locations. Seven of the data centers have Tier III accreditation. In addition, Pacnet controls two of the five fibre pairs on the Unity trans-Pacific submarine cable network connecting Japan to the United States.

In the year ended December 2013, Pacnet generated revenues of US$472m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$111m. Pacnet is headquartered in both Singapore and Hong Kong with approximately 815 employees across 25 offices (including PBS China).

Telstra Chief Executive Officer, David Thodey said the acquisition was aligned to Telstra’s growth strategy and was a significant step for Telstra as it continued to expand the business beyond Australia.

“Asia is an important part of our growth strategy. We believe this acquisition will help us become a leading provider of enterprise services to multinational companies and carriers in the region,” stated David Thodey, Telstra's CEO.  “The enterprise services market is evolving rapidly and Pacnet will strengthen our networks; data centres and submarine network as well as boosting our service offerings and people capabilities."

Pacnet Chief Executive Officer Carl Grivner said: "The addition of Pacnet’s subsea fibre network, data centre assets, capability in China, and dedicated employee base to Telstra's world-class infrastructure and management will give it the ability to accelerate business growth in the region.

Elemental Lands Investments from Sky and Telstra

Elemental Technologies, a start-up focused on software-defined video (SDV) solutions for multiscreen content delivery, announced a $14.5 million series D round of funding led by Telstra and joined by Sky in the UK, along with participation from existing investors.

Elemental, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon, uses software-based video processing to distribute video over IP networks. Elemental helps media companies connect consumers with video content across multiple screens – including connected TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones, set-top, and other IP devices – using software-defined video solutions to ensure high quality, high definition viewing experiences.  Elemental’s key multiscreen accounts include the BBC, Comcast, Foxtel, HBO, Media Prima, NHK, Telef√≥nica, and TrueVisions.

“Telstra’s equity investment, soon to be combined with a commercial agreement that is currently being negotiated, will allow the company to integrate solutions from Elemental into the company’s network. This will provide media and broadcast customers with access to an award winning video solution for multiscreen content delivery and offer flexibility and scalability to ensure a great customer experience," stated Telstra Ventures Managing Partner, Mark Sherman. "We also plan to use Elemental’s solutions internally, across our large portfolio of media properties such as IPTV, Foxtel on T-Box, AFL, NRL and BigPond movies to deliver high quality video performance across a multitude of devices for customers.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sierra Wireless to Acquire M2M Service Provider for $90M

Sierra Wireless agreed to acquire Wireless Maingate AB, a provider of machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity and data management services for US $90 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in February 2015.

Wireless Maingate, which is based in Karlskrona, Sweden, provides managed M2M connectivity and information management services to more than 500 customers across Europe, reaching a subscriber base of more than 500,000 connected devices. Maingate’s value-added services include leading-edge over-the-air subscription provisioning and tailored connectivity solutions for a broad range of M2M industries. The company claims a strong base of recurring revenue and expects 2014 turnover of over US $19 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of US $6 million. Sierra Wireless expects the transaction to be immediately accretive to earnings.

“The acquisition of Maingate is a strong strategic fit for Sierra Wireless, helping us to accelerate our device-to-cloud mission with the addition of leading edge wireless M2M connectivity and managed services,” said Jason Cohenour, Sierra Wireless President and CEO. “Maingate has a strong base of top-tier M2M customers and a proven technology platform that we believe will enable market expansion and accelerated services growth through our channels.”

NJIT: The Evolution of Wireless Networks

The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering program has created an infographic that traces the development of wireless technology from Gugliemo Marconi's wireless telegraph in the 1890s to the emergence of 4G technologies, followed by predictions for the coming decades.

New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

Windstream Deploys Cyan for 100G Metro Upgrade

Windstream has selected Cyan to help upgrade its regional and metro networks to 100G utilizing Cyan’s Z-Series packet-optical hardware. Initial deployments of this new infrastructure are underway with the introduction of a new packet-based 100GbE network across major Windstream markets.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cyan said its Z-Series Packet Optical Platforms have been an important part of Windstream’s network architecture for many years, initially serving wireless backhaul and consumer broadband applications,  The Z-Series will now support a wide-breadth of high-performance applications across Windstream’s footprint.

“Windstream is clearly taking the lead in evolving their regional and metro networks to 100G and we’re proud to support them in this transformation. This evolution was discussed early in our relationship with Windstream and it’s exciting to see it now coming to fruition,” said Mike Hatfield, President, Cyan.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Cisco Seeks ITC Exclusion Order Against Arista

Cisco has filed a petition request with the US International Trade Commission asking for an exclusion order to blocking Arista from importing and selling products that use Cisco’s patented technologies in the United States.

In a blog posting, Mark Chandler said the petition cites the same twelve patents asserted in Cisco's recently filed lawsuit against Arista.

In response, Charlie Giancarlo, a former Cisco executive who now sits on Arista's Board of Directors, writes on the company blog that Arista "invented a new operating system and basically re-invented the switching market to become more software and merchant-silicon driven." He refutes any copying comparison to Huawei and quotes Mahatma Gandhi: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."

  • Earlier in December, Cisco filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Arista Networks, claiming that a dozen key switching features covered by 14 different U.S. patents held by Cisco were copied.  Specifically, Cisco's complaint cites the following technologies that are incorporated by Arista in their entirety into Arista’s products:
  • System Database (“SysDB”) (Arista uses Cisco’s networking device implementation covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,162,537)
  • Zero-Touch Provisioning (“ZTP”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,290,164)
  • On Board Failure Logging (“OBFL”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent No.7,340,597)
  • Control Plane Policing (“CoPP”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,224,668)
  • Spanning Tree Loop Guard(Arista uses Cisco’s implementations covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 7,460,492 & 7,061,875 )
  • In-Service System Upgrades (“ISSU”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation described by Cisco Patent No. 8,356,296)
  • Virtual Port Channels (“vPC”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent No 8,051,211)
  • Access Control ListsImprovements (“ACL”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 7,023,853 & 6,377,577)
  • Private Virtual Local Area Networks (“Private VLANs”) (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent Nos. 6,741,592 & 7,200,145)
  • Generic Command Interface (Arista uses Cisco’s implementation covered by Cisco Patent No. 7,047,526)
  • CLI Command Data Translation (Arista uses Cisco’s implementatio

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blueprint: 2015 and the Rise of the Multicloud Enterprise

by Chris Sharp, Equinix VP of Cloud Innovation 

Those enterprises deploying hybrid and multicloud infrastructures will be the ones to watch in 2015 and beyond. According to Gartner, global cloud adoption is expected to reach $250 billion by 2017, with 50% of enterprises having hybrid clouds.

It’s exciting to be in the center of this skyrocketing market, along with our pioneering cloud partners and enterprise customers who are leading the way in hybrid and multiclouds migrations. Earlier in 2014, we introduced the Equinix Cloud Exchange, which automatically enables the provisioning of one-to-many virtual, cloud connections on-demand.  The Exchange’s unique hybrid and multicloud interconnection capabilities have compelled leading platform providers Google Cloud Platform, Cisco Intercloud and IBM’s SoftLayer to come onboard.  They join AWS and Microsoft Azure and our expanding ecosystem of more than 450 cloud service providers (CSPs) in bringing cloud services to a growing global market.

From our vantage point, we can clearly see how the cloud industry is lining up to expand its footprint and forever change the IT landscape. Here are some critical trends in 2015 that we believe are making cloud more integral than ever in how companies conduct business well into the future.

The number and types of cloud services embraced by enterprises will rise

Responding to ever-increasing pressures to reduce costs while increasing productivity, enterprise IT departments will sharply increase their adoption of cloud services, definitively shifting the balance from client-server to cloud-delivered applications. While it is currently assumed that most enterprises use 30 to 40 cloud services, most applications continue to be delivered on-premise. By the end of 2015, most enterprises will have the majority of their data storage, backup, disaster recovery and business intelligence applications delivered by CSPs. A recent survey by Dimensional Research, showed that 77% of IT professionals are planning to deploy to multiple clouds within the next 12 months.

Hybrid cloud will be everywhere 

From the Fortune 500 to small and medium enterprises, companies in every sector and every geography will embrace hybrid cloud architectures and service delivery. Hybrid cloud strategies offer businesses the best performance at the lowest cost, whether users are accessing collaboration applications via the public cloud or performing disaster recovery via a private cloud within a multitenant data center. Finding a company using only client-server applications could be extremely difficult by the end of the year. However, there will always be those cases where making the change to cloud does not make technical, business or “political” sense.

Global expansion will be driven by the cloud from now on  

High-growth enterprises, driving increased revenue through globalization, will increasingly turn to cloud services, regardless of geographic location. Why build expensive and expansive data centers and applications worldwide and hire the local IT support staff needed to run them, when you can lease them from a growing pool of global providers? Why commit CAPEX when there’s much more cost-effective OPEX solution? Global cloud deployments speed time-to-market, keep costs low and maintain consistency of providers and services. In 2015, CIOs at winning companies will commit to the cloud and never look back.

SaaS will be demanded 

CIOs will require SaaS delivery of the applications they need as a foundational element of RFP development and application selection criteria, eschewing on-site deployments. Winners in the software industry will recognize that server-based deployments are the exception, not the rule, and will place the majority of their development and sales focus on SaaS.

Self-provisioning cloud services will become the norm 

While cloud services offer clear benefits in terms of cost reduction and increased performance, how companies select, secure and maintain them is in flux. Few CIOs have comprehensive visibility into the hundreds of cloud providers developing applications and other services that can help their companies excel. Smart companies will even outsource the outsourcing of their cloud services. The rise of a new type of uber-cloud provider – with the unlimited ability to access and interconnect multiple cloud providers and the software technology necessary to dynamically and seamlessly provision connections on demand  ̶  will greatly accelerate hybrid and multicloud adoption.

Enterprises will say “Farewell” to vendor lock-in

Companies will continue to adopt a variety of best-of-breed solutions that ensure performance and flexibility, which provide choice and interoperability. This gives both network and cloud service providers who have embraced opportunities to peer with others through third party exchanges multiple opportunities for success. Those who rely on vendor lock-in will be scrambling to re-evaluate their previously successful business models.

Third party multitenant data centers will dominate 

The current trend of businesses (cloud providers and enterprises alike) migrating to multitenant data centers will dominate the cloud landscape. According to the 2014 Talkin’ Cloud100 survey, 86% of cloud providers host their services in colocation data centers. On the enterprise side, Dimensional Research reported that 45% of new cloud-based applications deployed over the next year will be hosted by colocation providers. Multitenant data centers bring more companies closer together to access a vast number of resources, including cloud and network service providers, industry partners and prospective customers. This dense ecosystem allows for vendor neutrality, fast time to market and access, flexibility, ease of service and cost-savings when deploying and consuming cloud services.

Companies will adopt private cloud connections to address security concerns 

Enterprises deploying multicloud architectures will require secure, high-performance private connections that are scalable, on-demand and provide access to multiple clouds using multiple network technologies, across multiple global access points. Dimensional Research reported that 72% of IT professionals note security as a top benefit of a direct connection to cloud providers, recognizing the clear benefits that they provide over access via the public Internet.

Out over the clouds 

Hybrid and multicloud computing are paving the way to a plethora of new markets, such as the Internet of Things and the Industrial Internet; new enabling technologies, such as cloud-based predictive analytics for big data; and many new innovations that have yet to be discovered. 2015 is posed to be the year when enterprises will take that next “giant leap” to the cloud.

About the Author

As the vice president of cloud innovation, Chris Sharp leads the development of cloud services solutions at Equinix. Prior to his role at Equinix, Chris held VP positions at Reliance Globalcom, FLAG Telecom and MCI/VerizonBusiness.

About Equinix

Equinix, Inc. (NASDAQ: EQIX), connects more than 4,500 companies directly to their customers and partners inside the world's most networked data centers. Today, businesses leverage the Equinix interconnection platform in 32 strategic markets across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.

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Blueprint: Tectonic Shifts in Telco Market Start to Appear

by Lars Mansson, Senior Director of Product Management and Strategy at DigitalRoute

December, with the end of the year approaching, lends itself to both reflection and speculation. Of particular importance is weighing up what will come next. In business, we know that preparation is critical for success; accurate speculation today will enable us to build the right foundation for the sort of impactful future action that leads to long-term success.

Some years see subtle change and incremental progress in the Telco market. Others bring a more radical shift in the landscape. Still less frequently, some introduce a change in the fundamental tectonics of the market. I think 2015 may open the door to the latter.

Why have I reached this conclusion? LTE/4G services are bedding in, and nascent NFV and SDN implementations are gradually picking up speed and will, eventually, redefine the character of the network and its management. Customer experience is fast becoming a trend and a reality to which more than just lip service is paid. Lean approaches to replace and/or complement parts of the legacy IT stack (particularly in BSS) are taking hold.

By 2016, my guess is that many of the commercial drivers we’ve become familiar with in recent years may be consigned to the past. In their place, a new operating model is arriving. 2015 is likely to be the year that a number of dramatic changes related to it take root. Let’s look at them:

Enhanced voice services (a.k.a. VoLTE, ViLTE, VoWIFI, RCS) are going to change the competitive equation for Communications Service Providers. 

The widespread launch of VoLTE services will continue and expand next year and will fuel the pace of industry change. But despite the usual degree of marketing hype, my guess is that operators will still use charging models that are data-centric so the first instances of these services will be imperfectly conceived and executed.

Still, enhanced voice will finally and fully enable CSPs to compete like-for-like with OTT’s and the operator’s advantage will be the control of quality and the ownership of the mobile number (a unique, global way of being reached). Charging-wise, the thing to remember is that enhanced voice will drive more data through the network (video calling, file sharing during calls, etc.) and thus a higher likelihood of customers upgrading their data packages.

There’s an interesting corollary question here, too. It’s this: Will the CSP’s really drive this revolution or will they instead try to follow a wave led by the Over-the-Top players? Though they might be loath to admit it, the OTT’s have innovation in their DNA to a far greater extent than is the case with most CSPs. Either way, though, whoever leads the revolutionary charge the result will be the same to the extent that it will drive data usage in the CSP’s network.

LTE could play out in more than one-way too. For one thing, if OTT players deliver the dominant services then network operators will increasingly find their futures lie in a partner game. Conversely, if the operators become the key providers then next generation Quality of Service will become critical simply to protect, let alone to grow, the value chain.

Whether or not the enhanced voice predominates in 2015 is unclear. That it will start to rise up the agenda, as an issue of central importance I think is certain.

Hand-in-hand with the above, partner enablement (done in a new way) will also become a central issue for Telcos

My guess is that in 2015 operators will have to finally stop hedging their best and the ones that ENABLE partners, OTT’s and MVNO/SP’s will, in the long term, be the winners.

The plain fact is that walled gardens and other unsubtle attempts at protecting traditional territory are dead. They haven’t worked and they’re not going to start working now. Enablement can best be done by smart integrations for OTT partners/MVNOs/SPs in a way that lets them influence the quality of service delivered to the end-customer sitting on the host operator’s infrastructure. This means things like allowing split billing scenarios (most often an end-customer and partner split), etc. The key to success here is once again going to be deploying smart, lean applications as the enabler and not engaging in a massive MVNE (partner enablement) approach that will deliver an infrastructure as dense as existing BSS and OSS together for the host operator to build and manage.

If the two trends above are my focal predictions, I also foresee developments in other areas of the market, among them:

  • Network Cloud hype turns into reality - Network Function Virtualization (NFV) will continue to grain traction though in my view, 2016 is when things will really move ahead with larger, hosted installations managed by the big NEP players running virtualized core networks for many of their operator customers.
  • IT Cloud means “lean will be mean” – more of the lighter ‘agile’ type of applications in BSS/OSS will be installed on a virtualized basis, or in an “IT-cloud” (for instance, mediation, service orchestration/activation, OSS fault management systems etc. all fit into this category).
  • OSS is being reshaped, starting now. The growing focus on CSP customer experience means service monitoring will become precedent over network monitoring. At the same time, a focus on CSP network quality. This means the ability for networks to cost effectively generate and distribute the massive data volumes (streaming session/signaling traces etc.) required for the reshaping of OSS, but without massive investments in probe systems etc.
  • Lean approaches to BSS and OSS are inevitable as more and more operators conclude that buckets/bundled services are best executed and supported when counting is managed close to the network via a very cost effective BSS solution that ideally leverages an application that they have already invested in. 

In the end, 2015 will be a year, I think, for stage-setting even larger changes in 2016. As usual there will be winners and losers on all sides of the market – vendors and operators alike. By 2017, don’t expect the landscape to look much like it does today!

About the Author
Lars Mansson is DigitalRoute’s senior director of product management and strategy. In this role, he is the owner of the company's product portfolio, go-to-market and the long-term development of its products & solutions as well as its product strategy, roadmap and thought leadership. Lars has a background in technical pre sales and was previously a system architect and technical coordinator for mediation systems at Tele2 in Sweden.

About DigitalRoute

DigitalRoute has been providing new approaches to enterprise data management since 1999. Its software platform offers high throughput and provides a unique degree of user configurability, processing all usage and statistical data extracted from the networks, including both billable and non-billable events. Over 300 leading companies worldwide actively use DigitalRoute technology to meet their data management needs, including a number of OEM partners who use our platform as a central part of their own offerings. DigitalRoute is built on the core values of Expertise, Open- Mindedness and Commitment. DigitalRoute is a venture-backed, privately held company with a turnover of 30m EUR in 2013 and a record of profitability since 2005. With close to 200 employees, the company is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden with regional offices in Gothenburg, Atlanta, and Kuala Lumpur.

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