By Nick Sharma
June 7, 2010
Traditionally, technologies in the telecom industry and technologies in the information technology (IT) industry have followed separate paths, reflecting the unique business models, operational requirements, and deployment scenarios of the two domains.
On the one hand, telecom has been oriented toward the stringent latency, scaling, robustness and regulatory requirements associated with large voice networks and wide area networks (WANs). As a result, it has evolved as a unique competency, requiring specialized software developers, runtime environments, and development toolsets.
IT applications, on the other hand, impose less stringent runtime requirements than telecom and are oriented more toward graphical user interactions, business integration capabilities, and transactional models. In contrast to the IT domain - where a large number of general-purpose developers and tools have evolved - technology competency in the telecom industry has remained a relatively scarce resource focused on specialized network and runtime optimization skills needed to address the inherent complexities of real time telecom applications.
As the telecom and IT industries converge, there is increasing pressure for underlying technologies and architecture to also converge, driven by several market trends. By applying enhanced software technologies within its latest generation of service-enabling products, companies are achieving many of the software decoupling, configurability and aggregation benefits associated with IT applications, while satisfying the stringent latency, scaling, robustness, and regulatory requirements of large-scale telecom networks.
Over the past decade, wireless technology also has made huge strides in addressing security, reliability and throughput issues of telecom and IT industry convergence. The wireless networks of today are almost as fast and reliable as wired networks and provide much more convenience and flexibility. As a result, there has been explosive growth in wireless networks of all types, from Personal Area Networks (PANs) to Wide Area Networks (WANs). This incredible growth and renewed consumer confidence has ushered in the era of Pervasive Wireless - the availability of reliable, high-speed wireless connectivity nearly wherever and whenever a user requires it. In return, pervasive wireless, together with more powerful mobile devices, has enabled a dramatic shift in employee work habits. More workers are spending more time away from their desks and on the road, and wherever they are and whatever the time of day, they require the tools they need to do their job.
Different types of networks - PAN, WLAN, MAN and WAN - are becoming faster and more reliable, resulting in explosive growth and utilization. Mobile network operators are upgrading their 2G and 3G networks to increase concurrency and reduce costs, while mobile device users are happily using the extra bandwidth for more multimedia messaging, social networking, and entirely new classes of mobile applications for both the enterprise and the consumer.
One of the biggest challenges facing wireless operators today is the explosion of wireless data growth, and how their network can cope with the demand under CAPEX and spectrum constraints. Wireless service providers worldwide are struggling under the strain of unprecedented traffic growth. This traffic growth is accelerated by the proliferation of advanced devices, services and applications.
Mobile voice service is already considered a necessity by many consumers and is quickly moving to a commodity status in mature markets. Mobile data driven by consumer demand for rich mobile Internet data is now the primary driver for both consumer purchasing and network operator deployments. Mobile subscribers desire the same rich content available on their fixed broadband Internet connections - including streaming video - to be available on their mobile devices. The 4th generation (4G) mobile technology will become the emerging solution to drive the new growth of the industry, and help foster state-of-the-art technology, novel partnership arrangements or transformational business models.
Companies are evolving to deliver and market end-to-end ‘Unified Communications and Collaboration’ solutions to clients. Unified Communication has evolved as a technology architecture which automates and unifies all forms of human and device communications in context, and with a common experience. Companies today offer unified communications solutions (UC) that help make it easier for the workforce to connect, communicate and collaborate with each other, customers and suppliers. UC is a presence-enabled communications and collaboration system featuring integrated IP telephony, instant messaging (IM), audio, video, and web conferencing, providing a consistent, unified user quality of experience over any device, anywhere, anytime – whether fixed or mobile – and through multimedia applications for a richer collaborative experience. UC is a stepping stone to Communication Enabled Business Process (CEBP) applications which automate the process of communicating to the right person/people based on business process event triggers.
The software-as-a-service [SaaS] paradigm is rapidly emerging as the next big evolutionary step in software development and deployment. Enterprises are excited about the potential to reduce costs by adopting the SaaS model. Cloud computing is a style of computing which is dynamically scalable and an often visualized resource provided as a service over the internet. Cloud Computing and SaaS is definitely going to make huge impact on current way of working. Consuming and exposing all software services over the HTTP network would enable the organization IT infrastructure to fully depend on the Internet medium.
All these shifts in paradigm has made companies to examine how to support the entire spectrum of consumer, enterprise and carrier grade customers and how to use network analytics as key differentiator to add more value to their users.
Nick Sharma is the CEO of CSS, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make the CSS brand a force to reckon amongst leading global technical outsourcing service providers. With over 25+ years of experience in various leadership roles, he is renowned in the industry for playing a key role in conceptualizing, and implementing successful exponential growth strategies for several global businesses.