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Service Provider

109 posts

We are technology optimists.

 

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Billions of people and things are being connected globally. Digitization is forcing organizations and even countries to reimagine business models, products and services. Every industry, government, school system, university and hospital is grappling with how to navigate this digital transformation era to deliver the best experiences and value possible.

 

Predictions say digital disruption will replace nearly four out of the top 10 industry leaders within five years. While this is a time of tremendous change, it is also a time of tremendous opportunity. Cisco truly believes that the technology behind the disruption plays a crucial role in solving some of the world’s greatest challenges. We’re thrilled to announce that Cisco has positioned itself to help you and your organization capitalize on this, as Karen Walker discusses in her most recent blog.

 

Read Karen Walker's blog.

 

#NeverBetter

The annual gathering that is Mobile World Congress is upon us again. As always there will be the usual hype around 3 letter acronyms like NFV, SDN, SON, IoT and of course 5G (ok not a TLA). As I fine tune the Cisco Mobility strategy for my APAC region, I see these as just enablers, to get Service Providers (SP) where they need to be to be successful in a post 2020 or “5G” era.

 

As APAC SPs head to MWC they face real business challenges that need to be addressed this year, with new Innovation and Thought Leadership;

 

  • Demand: With the latest Cisco Visual Network Index (VNI) report for 2015 to 2020, we start to get a feel for what networks are up against. In APAC we can expect almost 6 billion connections as we head into the “Internet of Everything”, with >3 times connection speeds, creating 9 times more traffic then today. People tend to forget the “Data Tsunami” (a previous MWC buzz word) but the tide is still coming in.
  • Monetisation: Erosion of traditional services to OTT. Time to stop seeing this as a threat, but instead an opportunity for collaboration and innovation, but how?
  • Profitability: TCO can’t be left to scale with traffic growth, or service complexity. Already OpEx/Revenue margins degrade every year, from around 60% in 2010 to 75% in 2015, according to GSMA Intelligence data for APAC MSPs. Yet the future is about OTT speed of innovation and heterogeneous access, concepts that give Operations Managers nightmares today.

232.jpgDemand in the “5G” era: Cisco VNI APAC Mobile Traffic Forecast, 2015-2020

 

These will all be topics that solution partners, like Cisco, need to be ready to address, in real tangible ways and not just “slideware”.

 

The evolution to 5G is unlike the past Gs in Mobile; 2G digitalisation, 3G bolting on Mobile Broadband, 4G an all IP-overlay… but 5G is being driven by so many diverse business requirements that it will be about creating a business platform, not another disparate network.

 

Cisco’s theme this MWC is “Transformation through Innovation”, a theme which is blended with collaboration from Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Ericsson & Jasper to name a few.

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“Transformation Through Innovation”: Cisco MWC16

 

You’ll also see us continue to blur the lines between Telco and IT, Data Centre and Cloud. This is all about moving from networks to platforms, a breeding ground for innovation. Then bringing the right ecosystems to connect; consumers, enterprises, and vertical industries.

 

So this year, let’s not get caught-up in acronyms, but have more discussions about what we have to do now to create the Mobile business platforms of the future.

CNN Money AMX Photo.jpgEarlier this week Arstechnica broke the story that a security consulting firm found a couple of “backdoors” in an industry standard AV room control system. The fact that the AMX NX-1200 had these hidden accesses with colorful developer names (resembling superheroes) also caused them some concern.  It took AMX (now a Harmon company) seven months to respond to the report – finally yesterday explaining that these accesses were never meant to be malicious as they were just leftover items from their legacy code.  (Their entire statement is now in the story linked above.)

 

Now before anyone thinks I’m just piling-on here, let me say that Harmon and AMX are fine companies that make good products.  Waiting seven months in the hopes that the news would just go away unfortunately does represent questionable judgement, and probably led to the hysteria that caused the story to be picked-up by CNN, ZDNet and others.  It probably also didn’t help that the CNN story used the above picture of an AMX system in a White House meeting room as their lead.  But none of this is the really important point that everybody should take away.  This wasn’t a meltdown – this was just a huge warning – as big a red flag as the enterprise world will get.  This should be considered the Three Mile Island of enterprise AV.

Three Mile Island.jpgLet me explain why.  About a year ago, a large international finance organization hired my firm and I to perform a security audit of their AV systems. Their Information Security team didn’t really understand the nuances of AV and Multimedia, and the firm I work for has specific expertise in Security, IT, Network and AV / Video / Multimedia systems – a rare but growing combination of AV and IT expertise.  I led the audit project.  The results completely floored me.  Ninety percent of the AV systems – the very typical components found in many enterprise conference rooms - failed the most basic requirements from a security perspective. (Findings that I presented about a year ago at InfoComm Connections San Jose. )

Security AV InfoComm Connections San Jose.jpgI’m an AV guy.  I’ve been advocating, designing and installing systems like these for over three decades.  I wasn’t happy to discover they are all ticking time bombs.  Looking at the history, the problem developed as AV systems wanted and needed to be more IT relevant and take advantage of improved connectivity.  Instead of the components communicating via “closures” and then later serial / RS-232 connections, they have all migrated over to communicating via a standard IP network.  In some cases this is an isolated network set-up just for the AV gear, but in a rapidly growing majority of installations this gear rides on the standard enterprise network - so it can communicate with the internet and across all enterprise rooms. What I discovered is that “best-practices” AV strategy - using a blend of best-in-breed components in each room – made securing them virtually impossible.

 

Each room likely uses a different brand of device for display, control, audio processing, video processing, videoconferencing, and a dozen other tasks.  Getting these disparate systems to work together in the first place is admittedly such a difficult task that AV companies routinely have to pre-assemble them – a process called “staging” - so they can work out the communication bugs.  Custom programming code for each room – the kind run on the AMX system called out above – is then written by third parties to make everything work.  Who writes this code?  Maybe the AV company; maybe a third party programming firm; maybe an enterprise employee hired for such a purpose; honestly, it can be anybody that has learned the programming skills.

 

We discovered that each of these components use their own, unique process to write their firmware and communicate to the network.  The issues discovered in them were overwhelming.  Many components didn’t have any process of authenticating user access at all.  Of the ones that did, many only had admin-level access; many sent passwords or transferred files in clear-text; many cannot accept strong passwords; many cannot comply with enterprise required password change timetables; many did not support lock-out after a number of failed password attempts; the ones that used SSL encryption routinely used an outdated version of it with known vulnerabilities; this list can go on and on.  Getting any of these AV components updated / patched when a new vulnerability is discovered is nothing short of a nightmare.  A very small number of firms put patches and the update process on their support website.  Most firms need to be contacted directly to find out if they even intend to patch their systems much less have a process for the end-user doing it.  Then, if by some miracle, an enterprise is able to obtain patches for a newly discovered vulnerability for all the components in a room, there is that “staging” issue again.  Every newly patched component likely needs to be tested against every other one to ensure they can actually still communicate with each other – just like installing the room all over again but this time with no budget.  And, if enterprises simply choose not to go through the bother of keeping these systems patched and safe (if it is even possible to do so) then it only takes one weak link on the network – one hidden or unknown back-door in an AV component that is open to the internet – for a piece of malware to find a safe home on an otherwise secure network and begin infecting other systems.  (If you don’t think that is a reality you should really research the Target breach – and remember that all these AV systems are also serviced by an installer’s personal PC.)

 

Our conclusion was that the way we provide AV in the enterprise – the same “best-practices” we’ve been using since the 1980s – has to change.  It doesn’t matter that – without argument - one manufacturer may have the best audio processor and another may make the best control system. The monumental support nightmare that comes from trying to keep these systems safe outweighs the minimal benefits that users derive from the typical 10-20 best-in-breed components mixed together - and supported with custom, third-party programming - in an average AV room installation.

 

The new “best-practice” clearly has to be putting in rooms with components that all come from one manufacturer – buying one single SKU.  This omits the expensive system designs, omits the custom programming, omits the variables that require the “staging”, and moves the onus of keeping the systems patched and safe from the user to the manufacturer.  A growing number of manufacturers – including Cisco with the outstanding MX series – now make all-in-one / off-the-shelf AV / videoconferencing room systems.  Are they as good as a custom designed integrated system – probably not in every case, but many of them are still very, very good.  And using them provides the multiple side benefits of being much less expensive to design, install, and support – and much easier to use (with complete consistency from room to room) – than 1980s style integrated rooms.  And when the next Heartbleed or Shellshock or POODLE is discovered it can be immediately addressed across all enterprise AV rooms with a single patch from one manufacturer.

 

So the AMX BlackWidow and 1MB@tMaN backdoors turn out to only be dangerous if you ignore the warning signs and keep buying and building vulnerable rooms.  Then it really will take a superhero to undo the actual and reputational damage to your organization.  I and my firm can help you with this journey of improving your security and extending it to modern AV rooms.  Like the old commercial says, you can pay now or you can pay later.  No matter what you do, don’t say you haven’t been warned.

 

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This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions. David has had over three decades of delivering successful business outcomes in media and collaboration technology for various firms in the corporate, broadcasting and academic worlds - including AT&T, Bloomberg LP, FNN, Morgan Stanley, NYU, Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan Chase. He now works with Dimension Data as their Business Transformation Consultant for the collaboration, multimedia, video and AV disciplines. He is also the IMCCA’s Director of Emerging Technology. David can be reached at David.Danto@Dimensiondata.com or DDanto@imcca.org and his full bio and other blogs and articles can be seen at Danto.info. David is also the co-founder of Masters Of Communication.  Please reach-out to David if you would like to discuss how he can help your organization solve problems, develop a future-proof collaboration strategy for internal use, or if you would like his help developing solid, user-focused go-to-market strategies for your collaboration product or service.

Telecom Asia has recently announced the winners of their 8th Readers’ Choice & Innovation Awards. For the Cisco Mobility team it was a proud moment to receive the award for “NFV Innovation of the Year” for our Virtual Packet Core (VPC) solution.

Mca.jpg(Left) Dirk Wolter, Managing Director, Mobile Service Provider Architectures, APAC Region, Cisco Systems, receives the award from (right) Amelia Ng, Director, Business Strategy Planning and Alliance Partnerships, Singtel

 

As a reader’s choice award it validates Cisco’s industry innovation, as recognized by our harshest critics, our Service Provider (SP) customers. But more than just collecting an award for the mantelpiece (or a paperweight for Dirk!) what is important is the way innovations in NFV are translating into innovation for our SP customers’ businesses.

 

We see Mobile NFV is now mature enough to start addressing real business requirements. The Cisco Virtual Packet Core (VPC) is already deployed, or being deployed, in more than 40 commercial networks. By transforming the network economics, it’s enabling Service Providers to innovate, with new service and business models. The enablers come from 3 areas; first because of the reduced up-front CapEx creative opportunities for new revenue streams are being tested. Second by increasing time-to-market for new services and hence competitiveness, for example for MVNOs. And third around TCO reduction, from operational efficiencies and by allowing the network architecture to be optimized for transport, power and real-state OpEx. Below are some of the example use-cases for VPC seen so far.

 

Mac2.jpgExamples of Mobile Service and Business Innovation, enabled with Cisco Virtual Packet Core

 

For more on how we see the current state of Virtualisation in the APAC Mobile market you can join Dirk Wolter (MD of SP Mobile Architectures APAC) and Vish Iyer (MD of SP routing architecture) as they discuss where the new revenue opportunities lie for telcos, and how to formulate a winning network virtualization strategy.

 

Of course this is just the start of the NFV innovation coming from Cisco. Look out for more exciting developments and demonstrations coming up at MWC16, not just of technology, but also of business innovation.

The Cisco wireless access analytics solution “Mobility IQ” won the top prize for the “Most Innovative Big Data Platform/Service” at the 10th annual LTE Asia Awards this month in Singapore.

LTE_Asia_Awards_2015.jpgaward LTE Asia 2015.jpg

So what is so innovative about this solution, given that Wireless Access analytics is not a new area in the industry?

Extracting value from the huge amount of data in the network has always been a challenge. It’s been the “drinking from a firehose” issue of how to extract the data that is meaningful, and then present it in a way that doesn’t drown the user in the process. In the past Service Providers have required an expense bespoke solution, usually as part of a Customer Experience Management initiative, for the use by network operations and customer care. The missed opportunity has been that the same data presented in a different way would be invaluable to other parts of the business, like marketing on the corporate managed service group.

What is unique about Mobility IQ is that first it’s a pure cloud application. This means there is no up-front CapEx, integration is quick and easy and the end-user interface is simple and intuitive. In my region of APAC, this is very attractive for Service Providers who need to be cost optimised and also struggle to find and retain talent in specialist areas like data analytics.

Second it’s designed to take the mass of data and turn it into actionable insight through three lenses; Network Operations for Network Health, Marketing for Customer Behaviour and Managed Services for Value Added Services. The same data but three very different users who extract value for the business in different ways.

NTaTv.jpgNetwork Intelligence at the Venue

 

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Business Intelligence at the Hotel

 

Another benefit of the cloud service is that any report view created for one Service Provider’s value is immediately available to the other Service Providers who subscribe to the service.

I think we will see more innovation in this area of Cloud hosted services; from Analytics to Network Management to Network hosting. Mobility IQ is just the start.

CC 2016 nomination image.pngAre you recognized by your peers as a thought leader based on your strong technical knowledge of Cisco products and technologies? Do you maintain an active online or social presence to interact with others and share what you know?

 

If that sounds like you*, we invite you to submit your nomination for the 2016 Cisco Champions program. Nominations will be held from October 15th to November 15th 2015.

 

Cisco Champions are an elite group of technical experts who are passionate about IT and enjoy sharing their knowledge, expertise, and thoughts across the social web and with Cisco. The program has been running for over two years and has earned two industry awards as an industry best practice.

 

How to submit your nomination. Send an email to cisco_champions@external.cisco.com to gain access to the online nomination form. More information is available in the Cisco Champions page (http://cisco.com/go/ciscochampions).

 

What is a thought leader? Nominee is regarded as a community influencer/technical authority via online and offline contributions in social media, third-party technical forums, communities, user groups, speaking engagements, or other publicly-accessible venues. Nominee has made impactful contributions to Cisco technology communities in the past 12 months.

 

*Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and cannot be a government official or Cisco employee.

Guest blog from Paul Jeseman, Cisco Solutions Consultant, Mobility Architecture, APJ

 

If someone were to define a safe bet, it would be on the number of blogs about NFV, its drivers and benefits out there, by far exceeding the actual number of Virtual Network Functions deployed. So please let me try a different perspective.

 

We have been talking about NFV for more than two years now. There is no shortage of studies and surveys on its drivers and potential, but what can be said about reality? A reality I would like to delineate as follows… To CTOs and CIOs, NFV (and SDN) is something to drool or to brag about: “We will adopt it” or “We have great results from adopting it”, and an occasional “We have been doing it in the lab for ages, so…?”. But as Geoffrey Moore tells us the “Techies” and “Visionaries” don’t make a technology, until it can be recognised by the majority.

pj1.jpg

 

Here comes the important part for “crossing the chasm”: How about successfully addressing the key CFO’s question, “Show me the money”?

 

What makes me feel great about NFV now becoming a reality, is the fact that there are numerous examples globally, where CFO’s have “found the money”, resulting in commercial NFV deployments. Take AT&T Connected Cars or Telefonica’s “LTE in a Box” as an example for revenue increase business case – not just an approved one, but a proven one! How about a cost reduction one like XL Axiata are confidently aiming for . And if you think increased agility is an esoteric one, look at what Aspider or NAKA Mobile can create with NFV, agility does get signed off, so I assume it also pays off!

 

In the whole discussion, using Geoffrey A. Moore’ “Crossing the Chasm” reference, is it important where to place the named service providers? Maybe as pragmatics – but what is far more important than a classification is the fact that they are doing it – congratulations!

 

I do acknowledge that there are still many challenges ahead to reach mainstream Mobile NFV deployments– orchestration or  interoperability being one of them (thank you Light Reading and EANTC!), and I am as pleased as I am sure to believe they would be adequately addressed. But that’s maybe another blog some time soon.

by Andrew Mackay, Head of Mobile Solutions, Cisco Systems

AM.jpg

 

I was reading the latest ACG Research report on Mobile IP Infrastructure and reflecting how the importance of the IP Packet Core has evolved, and how the technology leaders in this area have also evolved.

 

Back in the “3G era” the Packet Core sat alongside the Voice Core, and was considered an adjunct to the Radio Access Network. The traditional RAN vendors would often bundle the core as part their end-to-end contract. Since initial data services where Mobile Broadband, and monetisation was just based on volume, 3G Packet Cores were all about “feeds and speeds”.

 

With 4G/LTE the all-IP nature makes the Packet Core the heart of service creation. Now data intelligence, QoS and policy enforcement, security and multi-access convergence are key requirements for monetisation. In this 4G era Service Providers have therefore changed their approach, looking for a “best of breed” IP expert to provide the core and Radio expert for the access. This is reflected in ACG’s view on EPC market share in the APAC region over the last few years, where Cisco despite not having a LTE Macro RAN solution has become the leader in EPC (Evolved Packet Core).

 

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Source: ACG Research: Market Release: Mobile IP Infrastructure 2Q 2015 Regional.

 

So what about the next evolution of the Packet Core? Do service providers need to look for new expertise in their vendor partners?

 

The next evolution of the Packet Core we know is all about virtualisation and “Telco Cloud”. Another report just out from Infonetics, asked service providers what they need from their vendor partners in this area. In the report, SDN and NFV Vendor Leadership, Global Service Provider Survey, 18 August, 2015, they noted that “Carriers envision a multi-supplier SDN and NFV world with centralized control mechanisms, orchestration of services and equipment, and new network architectures. This is a move toward a more software-centric and automated environment with services driven by customer “self-care” portals.” So the 4G+ evolution for the Mobile Packet Core is all about control and orchestration, implemented with software. These are exactly the areas Cisco has been investing in, e.g. in Data Center with UCS, and in Orchestration through the Tail-f acquisition, to ensure we are ready to lead the next technology evolution. At least according to the Infonetics survey Service Providers seem to recognise this.

 

 

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Extract from: Infonetics Research: SDN and NFV Vendor Leadership, Global Service Provider Survey, 18 August, 2015.

 

So the Packet Core has evolved in to the Service Core as the critical heart of the Service Providers business. At the same time Service Providers have partnered with the IP experts to build that core. Now comes the evolution to be more agile in a Telco Cloud environment, requiring new attributes from this generation of technology leaders.

Guest blog from Paul Jesemann, Cisco Solution Consultant, Mobile Architecture, APJ

 

In June, a mobile operator in India was accused of spying on its customers by inserting a javascript in browsing sessions on its 3G network. The service provider admitted it was using a solution to help customers keep track of data usage, yet in press and blogs, concerns were expressed about it being a privacy breach, and a means to track subscriber browsing data for monetisation purposes.

 

Instead of unnecessarily debating the incident as such, maybe a different perspective would be helpful.

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The model of using free services in exchange for information about ourselves is well established, and the outcry about methods used by companies like Google, Facebook or Amazon to make money out of information gathered about us is limited – including the browsing history based recommendations. Yet there seems to be a significant difference: with service providers, we are the paying customers, whereas in the other case, we are merely consumers paying with private data being sold to advertisers, the actual customers.

 

In a quest for new revenue sources, service providers are understandably looking to monetise customer data – and if it is to the benefit of the consumers too, why not?

 

As an example, Verizon offers Verizon Rewards to its customers, which is an opt-in programme contingent on allowing Verizon to offer aggregated customer data to marketers.

 

Technically, there are other sophisticated approaches too: from various data warehouse solutions to the SoftBank-led $20 Million Series B funding of Cinnara Systems, and a joint operation of a targeted advertising platform in SoftBank’s Japanese mobile network (incidentally, Cisco’s investment arm was part of Series A funding – an early recognition of the potential market opportunity). The press release stresses that the solution is “… addressing head-on the issue of consumer data privacy…”.

 

Back am2.jpgto the topic of web and media optimisation solutions: their prime objective is just that – optimisation and improved user experience. While such solutions typically offer the means for ad insertion and customer engagement, it should remain an optional module that does not gather confidential subscriber data and violate privacy in any way. Furthermore, irrespective of any solution chosen, there is a clear recommendation to adopt a transparent, consent-based approach to data collection and advertising, delivering value in exchange for information.


The decision whether they love freebies more than they hate giving up some privacy should be up to consumers – and I think our industry should respect that choice.

Cisco Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) Manager is an EMS/NMS solution that provides simplified, converged multilayer management of carrier-grade networks of all sizes. It starts with Carrier Ethernet and optical transport networks today and plans to expand into other technologies. Service providers can quickly respond to major market transitions, including video traffic growth, new business models caused by over-the-top (OTT) entrants, and converged networks driven by operating expense (OpEx) pressures.

Cisco EPN Manager enables end-to-end lifecycle management across device management, network provisioning, and network assurance. Consistent workflows across optical and metro network scenarios help increase operational efficiencies through automation and reduce operating expenses through lower training requirements. A model-driven architecture with content decoupled from the platform greatly improves agility in content pack delivery. It is a flexible, easy-to-deploy solution with a common inventory/data model and visually appealing user interface that provides a single product experience across management functions.

In this session, you will also experience a live demo. It includes:

•Multidomain network management through a single interface
•Carrier Ethernet Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF) 2.0 services provisioning and assurance
•Optical circuit provisioning and multilayer management
•Reporting for Carrier Ethernet and optical networks


Agenda

Approximate duration: 60 minutes

 

Register Here

By Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

 

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Cisco Live San Diego 2015 was a pivotal event for Cisco and its customers, with a heartfelt send off for John Chambers and rousing welcome for Chuck Robbins. We doubled the number of demonstrations in the service provider booth.   We were also able to create a meaningful hands-on experience for customers using four racks of the service provider gear that illustrated our Evolved Programmable Network story. Newswise, we have made two important announcements.  The first one was for the SP security and the second one for the Cisco EPN manager.  Overall through a variety of activities, we have successfully shown how we can help service providers transform their business.  Cisco Live 2015 was truly an energizing and inspiring gathering that served to unite over 26,000 customers, partners and influencers. The overwhelming sentiment is the future looks bright.  Read my SP360 blog to get all the details and learn how Cisco came together for service provider in this powerful event.

...and how reflecting on this can help navigate the path ahead in realizing the promise of the new software-defined model

 

A number of parallels exist between the nascent forms of software-defined networking (SDN) we are working with today and the early stages of development in a similar area of technology that began in the mid 1990s and required more than a decade of steady enhancements to become the essential part of many network deployments that MPLS is today.

 

By looking at these parallels we can gain some perspective on the nature of such innovations and, yes, their related upheavals, as well as inspiration for continuing to work ******* the finer points of implementation that will ultimately bring the simplified, more agile design model of SDN into wider use.


Let’s look at the parallels in point-counterpoint mode.

 

Today: We often say in moments of exasperation things such as there are too many forms of SDN; it will die before lift-off because the parts just won’t play with each other.

 

Then: In 1997 the comments were that there were too many forms of MPLS (too many ways distributing labels in a network, TDP, LDP, BGP, etc.), and how will we ever build multivendor deployments? In the end, meeting customers’ requirements whittled options down to a few basic alternatives that allowed for some choice, but ensured multi-vendor networks using MPLS could be built.

 

Today: There are too many choices for communicating with elements southbound from controllers; there is no real hope for efficiencies and scaling in control plane abstractions.

 

Then: In the late 90s on MPLS we said things such as there are too many choices for implementing VPNs, quality of service and traffic engineering with MPLS; we will never be able to build real service offerings. But eventually customers’ requirements brought RSVP-TE, MP-BGP, VPLS, and BGP/MPLS IP VPNs into play as means of meeting market requirements with interoperable designs.

 

Today: People ask, how do I monitor this (add your own euphemism) thing and dismissively assert that SDN will forever be a lab experiment unless the real-time and on-going needs of managing such software-driven solutions can be met.

 

Then: In the early days of MPLS we said similar things. MPLS was interesting in the lab, but it would never be adopted widely unless we solved the OA&M problem. And with the firm guidance of customers’ demands the development of mechanisms to manage MPLS networks evolved via RFC 4379, LSP ping, LSP traceroute, and other mechanisms widely employed today.

 

And as we speak, innovation around MPLS is not yet dead despite its widespread adoption. EVPN and Segment Routing are two cases in point for how the evolution continues.

 

By reflecting on these innovations and their refinement over time, we can perhaps weave in a modest amount of patience amidst the stream of developments and implementation models we are digesting with the new designs that are ushering SDN incrementally into our multidomain, multilayer, and multivendor world.

 

In the end it may not matter if OpenFlow, XMPP, and NETCONF coexist in portions of an otherwise abstracted control plane. It may not matter that the service management templates used in different controllers vary greatly in implementation today, as they may evolve to converge on a few basic models as customers’ deployments continue, as happened with MPLS OAM.

 

No doubt we are in the disruptive, chaotic, and sometimes confusing phase of innovation when it comes to SDN (for the WAN, for overlay networks, for underlay physical systems, for VNFs, etc.). But if we focus on the gains available from the architecture that have been shown in their early forms to date (flexibility in platform choice, efficiency and scale in monitoring large network systems, and acceleration of new service deployment, to name a few examples) and work on closing the gaps in the implementations that remain to be resolved for the deployments to be pursued with more confidence, we may benefit in a manner similar to the way we did from the persistence of the innovators who spawned MPLS and labored for its viable deployment in the wide array of use cases we have it deployed in today.

We are in the early days of another transformative technology revolution.  The Internet of Things (IoT) is a world where up to 50 billion things (or devices) will be connected to the Internet by 2020; or, the equivalent of 6 devices for every person on the planet.

 

We are already starting to see the emergence of smart cities, connected utilities, connected railways, connected factories, connected cars, and even connected mines, to name but a few. The Internet of Things will fundamentally transform businesses, generate enormous economic wealth and create immeasurable social value. What does the future of this transformational technology revolution have in store?  Read my ten predictions of what we have to look forward from IoT.

  1. Equipment Providers (EP) realize that they need to truly develop horizontal platforms: The trend is for EPs to have open Internet of Things (IoT) platforms such that Application Programmable Interfaces and services are available to developers from all disciplines. In this way, developers from all verticals can add value to the platform via creating rich applications and services that serve their target customer base. The developer and the platform provider can revenue share the results. Depending on the value, the platform provider can give incentives to the developers or even acquire the firm.

  2. EPs found they needed to look within: To hone in on their IoT offerings EPs found that they need to look within their own customer base to find clues to target the right offerings and service centric use cases to deploy; in doing this, they also are able to understand and equip their internal ecosystem better. As a result, they will be able to influence potential service providers (SPs) to partner with them. Once accomplished they can be agile enough to steer their ecosystem communities to serve the SPs’ needs.

  3. EPs need to think total end-to-end solutions: SPs realize that to get the most value from the markets they serve they must serve the customer’s entire needs not just simple point-to-point connectivity. Thus, EPs that partner with SPs must anticipate this and backfill their ecosystems to accommodate the end-to-end solutions needed. So tight communications between EP and SP management, staff and business support systems/operational support systems processes is needed.

  4. EPs realize that they need subscriber-based billing models to compete: EPs platforms must have a subscription-based billing model to accommodate the hybrid business models (digital and physical) and freemium to micropayment models characterized by the IoT economy. These subscriber models should include big data analytics modules as value-added products to sell to customers. This addition also makes their offerings attractive to prospective SP partners/large enterprises that are thinking about rolling out value-added services to their end users.

  5. EPs need to think complete solutions, services, security and outcomes: EPs are realizing that they need to embrace the fact that complete IoT solutions are service centric. Consequently, they have to think digital services first before selling physical appliances. These appliances may include the virtual components such as security elements, functional and analytics applications or even bare metal components to round out the offering. Therefore, they need to be prepared to offer pieces of the solution as well, but with an emphasis on outcomes that enable the customer to make actionable decisions.

By Igor Dayen, SP Product and Solutions Marketing

 

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One year later after a successful debut of the service provider booth at Cisco Live 2014 held in San Francisco, we accepted the challenge to further enhance the experience for the attendees whom we are anxiously anticipating in the service provider booth this year at Cisco Live 2015.   Over the past several years, we have been enabling service providers to transform the experience, transform the business and transform the architecture with cloud-based capabilities.  Our journey now continues.  Service providers now have more options to achieve business outcomes such as increasing revenue, decreasing operating expenses and enhancing agility when implementing Cisco strategy.  Using the Cisco Open Network Strategy for service providers, you as a service provider can take full advantage of your untapped network value, improve business agility, and simplify operations.


This year at Cisco Live San Diego 2015, we have prepared a great collection of demos in the Service Provider booth.  Our demos are aligned with and reflect all three key types of business outcomes. When you come to the booth, you will able to run a wide variety of demos. As our experts take you through a story, they will explain which demos map onto what business outcomes.  Please read my blog to get more details on the demos and educational sessions. We are looking forward to seeing you at the event!

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