Posts tagged ‘OTT’

TeliaSonera CCO says operators have two choices: dumb pipe or ‘next gen telco’ #telcocloud

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TeliaSonera’s chief commercial officer Hélène Barnekow told BCN sister publication Telecoms.com that operators can either remain the provider of dumb pipes or become a ‘next gen telco’ as the industry continues to change to a more software and services driven, converged market.    

Barnekow: Operators need to embrace a more
software-defined, cloud-centric world

While technology innovation is playing its role in the changing face of the industry, Barnekow says the real driver of the transformation is the customer. “The [industry] landscape is changing very quickly, and I actually try to frame that change from two angels,” she says. “One is from the customers’ point of view because it’s not that technology is driving customers, customers are driving us.”

“Their expectations are increasing so quickly that it’s actually mind-boggling, and of course this is because technology has enabled them to do things they couldn’t do before so they can put higher demands on us. But their expectations on us [operators] keeping them connected all the time, seamlessly, always-on, making it easier and easier to stream, to download things are constantly increasing.”

According to Barnekow, increasing demands for data and the industry becoming more saturated with IT, as well as the emergence of IoT and M2M are blurring the lines between sectors and changing the traditional telco. She says this leaves operators with one of two choices. “I think you almost have two choices as an operator: either you say that you can be very, very efficient with pipes and that somebody else can deal with all of that and you’re going to have the lowest cost and the best quality on my pipe, transmit as much data as possible.”

“Or you say you want to be a value-added provider to your customers and then you want to be very customer-focused and provide the customer with what they want. We’ve decided to be the second, and we call that the next-generation telco.”

With this in mind, TeliaSonera has put in place a two-tiered strategy, first announced at the operator’s Capital Markets Day in September. Under this strategy the telco says it focuses on enhancing the core business on one hand and on the other exploring opportunities close to the core, including IoT/M2M, music, mobile financial services, TV and security.

While OTT partnerships play an important role for TeliaSonera, with Barnekow especially emphasising its collaboration with Spotify, the operator has also launched an OTT TV service of its own in Finland and Denmark in December, with other markets set to follow.

“We’ve had a pay-TV offer in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia and Lithuania for quite some time. Originally it has of course been very much linked to our fibre business, and of course it’s an attractive offer with 1.5 million subscribers. This is a healthy business for us and an important one, but the way in which consumers consume TV services is changing and OTT TV is definitely accelerating.”

Barnekow says she’s confident in TeliaSonera’s ability to compete against such service providers as Netflix, claiming being able to deliver local-language content is one important factor, along with subscribers being able to have the service under the same account as mobile subscription. “We have noticed that local language content for kids is especially attractive to customers,” she says.

TeliaSonera operates in the Nordics and Baltics, as well as in the emerging Eurasian region (Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Nepal), and although none of these markets have yet fully embraced convergent offerings, Barnekow says this is very close to happening in the mature markets in Europe.

“These [Spotify and the OTT TV offer] are the first steps we’ve taken [towards convergence] and we will build on that. What we do believe is that convergence becomes very, very important part of our strategy of our core offering. Especially for the more mature markets like Sweden and Finland, but also Estonia which is very much at the fore-front. We are working on it [convergent offering] as we speak, we haven’t launched it yet but we’re very close to.”

Source: Business Cloud News

_______________________________________________________________________________________imageedit_14_3273410547Join Speaker David Andreasson, Head of Product and Technology from TeliaSonera at the Telco Cloud Forum taking place in London on 27-29 April 2015.

Registration is free of charge for telecom operators and enterprises.

Free exhibition open to all!

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Telco Cloud Forum 2015 Event Brochure now available #telcocloud

The Telco Cloud Forum 2015 brochure is here! View the full speaker line-up, 70% of whom are Brand New to the agenda – bringing fresh insights and new topics to discuss!

The full agenda is now available covering all the crucial and essential topics for 2015: MODEL CLOUD, VIRTUAL CLOUD, GO TO MARKET CLOUD and SECURE CLOUD.

We are also delighted to announce our early confirmed sponsors/exhibitors and Host Operator Telefonica.

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Telefónica Group CIO: Using cloud to regain ground lost to OTT players #telcocloud

Source: Buisness Cloud News

With operations in 24 countries, over 120,000 employees globally, Telefónica Group, one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, is looking to put at IT at the core of everything that it does in order to compete globally in an industry currently in the throes of a digital revolution. Phil Jordan, group chief information officer at Telefónica tells BCN that cloud is at the centre of how the company plans to regain terrain lost to over-the-top (OTT) players, make its core mobile and fixed line operations more flexible and scalable, and enable it to provide next generation digital services.

“IT is a strategic differentiator for the company, but it hasn’t always been perceived that way, even when I became CIO,” says Jordan, who took up his current role at Telefónica in 2011. Context, he says, is essential to understanding why this perception proliferated within the company and throughout the telecoms sector more broadly, and why the operator is currently spearheading so many new digital initiatives.

“We’re a business operating in an industry that failed to innovate fast enough, which has probably created the opportunity for the Vibers and the WhatsApps of the world, and I think we’ve failed to innovate in our own product because, like a lot of businesses, we felt we didn’t need to because we were making lots of money,” he explains. “You get complacent.”

The situation is cause for concern, not just at Telefónica but for most telcos, which could be losing up to $386bn cumulatively by 2018 to OTT players like Skype and WhatsApp according to research and consulting firm Ovum.

It is within this context that Telefónica has sought to become more digital, an effort complicated by its continued growth and a series of acquisitions. As one of the biggest and oldest telcos with lots of fixed line heritage, it has accumulated a very complex IT systems landscape over the years, which Jordan says the company is constantly trying to simplify.

“One of our big challenges as a federation of separate businesses is that we have to remove complexity. We’ve managed to overcomplicate the industry, our business, and our internal systems over the last 20 years,” he says.

But the biggest challenge, he explains, is inextricably linked to what Jordan believes is the biggest opportunity for the operator: data.

“We’ve always had a tremendous amount of data, we’ve always been a big data company, but how do you derive insights from the data? Because of systems fragmentation, we’ve struggled to derive real insight and particularly global insight through the use of data. Getting a 360 degree view of our customers is actually a much bigger challenge for us than working out how to leverage analytics and big data systems.”

Driving core platforms and systems change at Telefónica

Because of the way the industry grew, Jordan explains, the lack of recognition in how important IT was moving forward, “we’ve ended up with such fragmented systems that they don’t really lend themselves well to forming that 360 degree customer view. But that’s a problem because data is the new battleground and the future differentiator for our industry.”

“We’ve gone from having almost 7,000 systems three years ago, down to 4,200 now, so we’re slowly simplifying our estate.”

The company’s SaaS and virtualisation strategies are central to this process. Telefónica is a large user of Office 365, SAP SuccessFactors and Salesforce among other big name cloud services. It deploys these services from a private cloud platform hosted in its massive datacentre in Spain, which at a whopping 65,700 m2 is one of the largest in Europe, dwarfed only by Portugal Telecom’s recently announced Covilha datacentre.

By centralising these services the company is able to leverage its cloud platform and generate operational efficiencies through a shared services approach, while ensuring local standards and businesses processes can be maintained where necessary, and by purchasing commoditised solutions off-the-shelf the company has enjoyed significant cost benefits.

The operator has also virtualised a number of its internal platforms, which allows the company to sweat its existing assets and make its datacentre resources more scalable and flexible.

By the end of this year Jordan’s team will have virtualised about 40 per cent of the group’s IT servers, and the company is now taking this approach to the most mission-critical system of all – the core network, through network function virtualisation (NFV). Along with global CTO Enrique Blanco and his team the company is working on a proof of concept for a virtual radio access network (vRAN). Work on a virtual Evolved Packet Core, vIMS, vDNS and vDHCP is also set to conclude this year as the operator looks to virtualise 30 per cent of all new infrastructure by 2016.

Virtualising these system will allow Telefónica to deploy network assets in a way that allows them to be managed centrally and deployed globally, while making them more flexible, scalable and less expensive to acquire and maintain than legacy networking hardware.

The operator has taken a slightly different approach with its business support and operational support systems. Telefónica recognises the need to transform BSS and OSS in order to have these digital capabilities and a foundation for the future. But it’s not consolidating these systems or putting one BSS or OSS across the group because it’s just not practical or doable across many group companies, Jordan explains.

“We are doing greenfield BSS implementations in 14 separate countries at the moment, so we’ve accelerated beyond belief in pace and the urgency, and these are with the same standard processes and architecture, using three different vendors, heavily based on standards and reused on processes. So core BSS and OSS processes reused country to country, in clusters of the same technology.”

The company’s multimillion dollar investment into its global BSS overhaul has as much to do with eliminating data systems fragmentation and simplifying the back-end of the services it offers as much as driving digital engagement with customers and readying itself for the company’s future, which Jordan says increasingly sees digital services at its core.

“We must become more digital in our interactions with our customers. The new generation of Telefónica customers don’t engage with us in the way they used to. Online is an important channel for us but a ‘digital only’ channel experience needs to be created in all the countries we operate in.”

But Jordan says this is part of a broader strategy to drive digital services – particularly platform-based services – within Telefónica, and as a key component of its market offerings.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be able to innovate as fast as the model that now exists around the internet and around the digital world, so adopting an open platform that innovators and entrepreneurs want to base their applications and their services on, and provide capabilities to innovate with, is central to where we want to go, and becoming a platform business, offering platform as a service, is a key element to our future.”

View the full article here!

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“OTT cloud providers were thinking like media companies, while Telcos were thinking more like their printers…

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Our favourite image yet! Notice how the high contrast between the handsets and background signifies the point made in the article…

…. As the printer counts the number of pages whilst the media company counts the audience”.

Jeff Schmitz, Chairman of The CloudEthernet Forum, recently posted a blog on why it is imperative for Telcos to embrace cloud. He touches on how the consumer-centric mindset of non-telco giants like AWS, Google, Microsoft and Apple led to them using the sophisticated infrastructure and bandwidth of telecom operators to essentially converge on these operators’ own market share.

“Today service providers should be thinking at least as much about services as about connectivity – in the way they thought about investments in Internet and mobile infrastructure years ago. Firstly that means looking for new services and sources of revenue. Second, and perhaps more important, it could mean their survival.”

“In 2012 AWS, Google and Microsoft accounted for 40% of all the Ethernet ports shipped worldwide. That gives some idea of the massive investment in Ethernet technology they are making, and yet the total being less than 50% also tells us that not one of these giants is yet big enough to dominate the scene and dictate its own cloud connectivity ‘standards’ for global usage. So we face a possible “platform war.”

What do you think?

Are Telcos held back by decades of standard practice? Are they essentially playing catch up from 6 years behind?

Let us know!

Here’s the full article: http://techday.com/telco-review/news/telcos-must-embrace-the-cloud-2/177157/

Cloud, OTT and multiscreen key for future bundles

The days of the old-style triple or quad-play bundles are numbered. Going forward, operators will have to offer a whole range of new content and applications within their bundled products – including OTT content from companies like Netflix and Spotify and even VoIP from providers like Skype – to keep their subscribers happy.

A report from Informa T&M, Beyond Quad-Play: How Multi-Screen, OTT and the Cloud Are Transforming Next-Generation Bundling, takes a global snapshot of the fast-changing bundling market and shows how operators across the global market are offering new services and applications to bring more value to their bundled products.

However, Tony Brown, senior analyst at and lead author of the report, cautions operators that the next-generation bundling market will be a challenging one in which they will not necessarily reap direct financial rewards from the new products that they include in their bundled offers.

“We have already seen from the early deployment of multiscreen TV services by operators that many subscribers are highly resistant to paying extra for new services – so many of these new services really have to be included as part of the existing bundled price,” he said.

“Operators need to see the addition of these new services, such as cloud storage or OTT content, as something that brings extra value and increases customer loyalty – and go at least some way to neutering the threat posed by OTT players in a number of fields.” (more…)

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