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Aug 25 2014

6 steps that improve communications services

Large enterprise CIOs act as full-blown network service providers. They manage access, transport and network routing while controlling devices and sessions.

I’m an employee of a large enterprise, and our IT department seems to be taking more control of all my communications tools and experiences. This shift includes everything from mobile device management to protect intellectual property, to administering VPNs for my smartphone, tablet and laptop.

This shift also allows me to manage our PBX, defining any phone as my office phone—whether fixed or mobile—or make my PC the client. What’s more, I can access videos on product updates and management communications. Or I can join webcasts about market conditions or our own roadmaps.

All of these IT capabilities point to the progressive IP-ification of services. I’ve seen that this growing demand for configurable, managed and secure data services comes with network transformation challenges. As a result, enterprise CIOs are facing a tough communications network decision. Do I “build-it-myself” or do I “buy-it?” I think that both options have wide ranging implications:

  1. If the CIO chooses the “build-it-myself” option, carrier-grade solutions are needed to provide the functionality and reliability that large enterprises want and expect from their communications infrastructure.
  2. If their decision is to “buy-it,” public service providers are the most attractive partners. If they choose to partner with a public service provider, CIOs can leverage their high standards and complement their existing network infrastructure with robust applications and network services. At the same time, they can retain control of their network, including quality of experience, provisioning and reporting.

Either way, I’ve noticed that both private service operators (CIOs of large enterprises) and public service providers are implementing very similar solutions around the globe. In fact, the most successful service providers—whether private or public—appear to be taking the following six steps towards building a cost-effective, flexible and future-ready platform for services. All these steps are packaged together as whitepapers and articles for your download below.

1. Moving to an IP communications architecture to enable a whole new conversation experience Today’s communications are fragmented across services, devices and networks. That’s why subscribers are looking for a way to consolidate their entire conversation experience on any screen, regardless of the network. Leading CIOs recognize there’s an opportunity to provide a solution. This is important to the enterprise because subscribers gain an interface that becomes a unified inbox for all messages and conversations regardless of what services their friends, family and business contacts use. All messaging, voice, video calls and social media are delivered in one simple interface. And they can share any type of content in real-time, simply and easily. With a rich communications experience, CIOs can deliver this new conversation across any device, whether the tablet on the road, the laptop in the office or the phone in a pocket.

2. Innovating with APIs to expose network-based IP communications applications Private and public service providers can expose network assets with easy-to-use APIs and web real-time communications (WebRTC). This lets them share innovation opportunities with partners while developing carrier-grade and real-time web-communications strategies that keep them current on new modes of communications. Beyond this, more visionary CIOs are exploring next-generation IP communications architectures that may replace today’s PSTN. In the most basic implementation, this transformation could take one of two forms: either a WebRTC islands model or a WebRTC interconnect model.

3. Adjusting the content delivery strategy Surging consumer demand, proliferating video content, increasing video quality and the shift to on-demand viewing are putting pressure on existing broadband network infrastructures and business models. Private and public service providers are differentiating their offers by delivering a consistently high quality of experience (QoE) for services such as webcast content and other Internet traffic while controlling costs. They are also exploring the deployment of a dedicated content delivery network to keep up with and capitalize on continuous multimedia market evolution. Increasingly, successful public service providers are addressing these challenges with on-net content delivery networks (CDN) and transparent caching solutions. On-net CDNs deliver content from the edges of fixed and mobile networks to reduce transport and peering costs and assure QoE by bringing content closer to users.

4. Building a small-cell network to avoid capacity bottlenecks and anywhere access When a large enterprise campus goes wireless, they build it out with cells that can be integrated immediately with the public mobile network. By deploying multi-standard, small-cell base stations, a large enterprise can achieve cost-effective 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connectivity. It can then be handed over to a trusted mobile provider to light them up with licensed spectrum. In-building coverage for any size venue and any number of users is also part of the mix; so is reducing the cost of delivering ultra-broadband access in a multi-operator deployment with low-cost digital distributed antenna systems. Whether they choose to make or buy these network services, the best CIOs are well informed. They’ve done their research on in-building architectures so they can better assess the strengths and weaknesses of all options.

5. Offering converged VPNs to provide seamless experiences to enterprise users Deploying enterprise service gateways (ESGs) is another differentiating strategy for enterprise CIOs. ESGs provide a seamless experience to enterprise users independent of the access bearer and the device. The ESG is an IP/MPLS router that also functions as a mobile gateway. It offers scalability, high performance, and carrier-grade resiliency for VPN services. This unique combination of capabilities allows the ESG to concurrently replace the mobile gateway (PGW, GGSN), PE router, and border gateway. Greatly simplifying the network, the ESG streamlines the operational and provisioning model. In fact, a Bell Labs study has shown there are dramatic reductions to OPEX and CAPEX – including significant revenue advantages.

6. Leveraging the benefits of cloud-based applications and network functions in data centers with virtualization strategies Private and public service providers are realizing that the future of telecommunications networks will be based on virtualizing key network functions. They need to support data usage with crisp voice, clear video, interactive data sessions and IP messaging with on-demand access to any application, anywhere. Forward-looking CIOs realize these demands require greater capacity and faster ways to create, deploy and scale applications. That’s why they are turning to network functions virtualization (NFV) and cloud-virtualized IMS. These cloud platform components ease service deployment, automate management and clear the path to cost-effective growth. At the same time, NFV-ready applications, an advanced NFV platform and an NFV partner ecosystem are crucial for achieving the goals of cloud-based applications.

Don’t forget that you can download all the 6 steps to deliver Attractive Communication Services in an easy downloadable package.

To contact the author or request additional information, please send an email to networks.nokia_news@nokia.com.

About Oliver Krahn
Today Oliver Krahn leads Alcatel-Lucent marketing pull initiatives in EMEA. He has lived the changes in the telecommunications industry since 1992, when he started with Philips Kommunikations Industrie. Since then he has held a broad range of international management functions across the service business with Lucent Technologies and Alcatel-Lucent. 3 years ago he joined the marketing organization to drive a thought leadership program on Customer Experience Management. Oliver is an electrical engineering graduate from Technische Hochschule Darmstadt in the domain of telecommunications.
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