Cloud, SDN, and NFV are coalescing into a set of technical paradigms looking to alter the foundations of the existing telecommunications networks. There are a multitude of Forums and Standards bodies attempting to bring directional guidance and clarification to the varying technical approaches. To help Service Providers make the relevant technical choices as they embark on this network transformation journey.The industry also needs to analyze and address the following:

• What is considered “value” in this new environment?
• How is it created and delivered?
• How is it captured?
What is considered “value” in this new environment?

Let’s look at continuum of responses we have heard from Service Providers. Some believe that “value” in this environment is the ability to provide services to end users at “internet-time.” This desire is underpinned by two fundamental questions. First, can Service Provider innovate as “well and quickly” as, say, over the top web-scale players? Arguably, the answer is a resounding yes. Second, can Service Providers rollout innovative services at the same speed of over the top players? The answer is a resounding no. The actualization of this desired “value” points to a set of functions, procedures, and processes that facilitate (near) real-time, policy-driven, and cost-effective service introduction.

Others believe that “value” in this environment is mainly driven in reducing CAPEX and, more specifically, the initial start-up cost for new services. Currently new service introduction is most often achieved through the “overlay networks.” That is, chances are you need to acquire additional vendor/application specific hardware, may have to arrange for an overlay transport, and augment the existing back-office functions to support the new service. The realization of this wanted “value” is predicated on the availability of common non-vendor/application specific hardware as well as catalogue and policy-driven transport and back-office domains.

Yet others believe that the fundamental “valve” that would transform their networks is contingent on reducing the current OPEX. They maintain steadfastly that OPEX is the highest component of their network expenditure cost structure and without the ability to measurably create a dent in OPEX; the transformative “value” would continue to be elusive. To address this wanted “value”, Service Providers networks, on the one hand; need to accommodate automated orchestration of network resources and services. And on the other hand, support “central” identification, manipulation, and stitching of various flows within the network.

The starting point for each Service Provider’s transformation will probably be different and a function of its history, network, and business imperatives. Nevertheless, the end point of this transformation has a measurably large “common denominator” across all Service Providers. The “value” for vendor community is to identify, build, and deliver this common denominator capability set or in short “Platform”. Platforms were the impetus behind the transformative nature of Smartphones. Offering the appropriate “platform” to Service Providers will be the impetus behind operators network transformation needed to achieve their desired “values.” Ericsson is delivering this Service Provider platform.
Next post, we will discuss how “value” is created and delivered in this new environment?

Cloud Operations

Farshid Mohammadi

Farshid completed his graduate studies at Cornell University. He started his career at Bell Communication Research working at definition and implementation of SS7 and AIN networks. Farshid has held several executive positions. At 3COM, Farshid was the head of Product Management team responsible for VOIP, PDSN/HA, RAS, and financial systems. He later became the global General Manager of Switching BU at UTStarcom responsible for R&D, Product Management, Product Marketing, Business Development, and Services organizations. He later joined Bridgewater Systems as an Officer and the head of Products working with Financial Markets taking the company public. He is currently Head of Business Development activities for SDN/NFV solutions at Ericsson.

Farshid Mohammadi