2015 was another banner year for moving service provider voice from old school ways to deliver voice to cloud-based solutions. As residential and business VoIP continues the shift to cloud delivery models, that transition is also happening to service provider VoIP infrastructure. As part of the movement to web-scale, virtualized solutions, cloud voice platforms are increasingly adopted by all types of service providers to power new services and replace aging, obsolete networks.
I find that NFV and cloud get conflated frequently and, while related, they are not the same. Even the term cloud can represent distinct approaches and adverse philosophies to next-generation infrastructure solutions. NFV is integral to the cloud, but a true cloud solution is much more.
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I spend many hours talking with executives and senior leadership at all types of broadband service providers—cable companies, ISPs and telcos. I really like to dig in and see what challenges they face, what keeps them up at night and what goals they are driving for and how they want to improve their companies. For those that have delivered VoIP services for decades, including CLECs, ILECs and cable providers—executives at those companies are facing a changing and challenging landscape for their voice services over the next five years.
Analyst firm STL Partners, as part of the Telco 2.0 Initiative, issued a report last month entitled Cloud: What is the role of telcos in cloud services in 2015? I’m flipping this question and asking: what is the role of cloud in telco services? When it comes to voice, we think it’s central to business model transformation for telcos, ISPs and cable operators.
SCTE and cable operators have pledged to reduce network energy use by 2020 and Network World recently wrote about the power costs behind the PSTN and the benefits an of IP transition. One quick and easy way for cable operators and telcos to do that is turn off the voice network and put it in the cloud—not their cloud, but the cloud voice platform. Power savings, going green and reducing cooling are all initiatives that are good for the world at large and help the bottom line as well.
NTCA, The Rural Broadband Association, recently released the results of its annual member survey. The NTCA 2013 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report provides a number of stats that underscore how telco companies are becoming broadband multi-play providers. However, they face some challenges and there are a number of areas where the cloud can help these providers, especially telco voice and broadband.
On Tuesday at the CommTech East in Ontario we announced that Alianza has officially headed north. Our Cloud Voice Platform is now available to help service providers throughout Canada. We’ve done it for five years in the United States and we are taking that experience and solution to help cable companies, ISPs, telcos and resellers.
Light Reading's Sarah Reedy posted a thoughtful article on NFV (Will NFV Save CapEx, OpEx, or None of the Above?) and its (empty?) promise. We see NFV as necessary (we are using that in our cloud voice platform) to build the elastic, scalable infrastructure. But NFV technology by itself lacks an elastic business model (vendors want to sell you something and generally not for less). The cloud-based approach to using NFV is the true path forward as it fundamentally transforms the business model to risk-free, success-based pricing vs build it and (we hope) they come.
Yesterday marked the 138th anniversary of the first phone call. “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you." These were the first words spoken on the world's first telephone call on March 10, 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell here in my home town of Boston. The technology that made that call possible has been made obsolete long ago. So is the technology that made telephony possible throughout most of the 20th century. So, too, is the case for early generation VoIP gear that was deployed in the last decade. The pace of obsolescence has accelerated.
AT&T’s recent FCC filing describing the two trials for all-IP services and removal of TDM contains some interesting perspective and revelatory details on how one of the largest providers of voice and data will firmly move into the all-IP world this decade. The end-of-life of the PSTN is coming soon and the cloud can play an important role in the transition for many service providers.