Technical Architecture 2.0 - Good Start, but Significant Gaps
Below is a summary analysis of the Technical Architecture 2.0 session at the May 2009 Telco 2.0 Executive Brainstorm.
The premise we explored was this:
The implementation of new ‘Two-Sided' Telecoms Business Models has major consequences on telco network architecture. Perhaps most importantly, data from separate internal silos needs to be aggregated and synthesised to provide valuable information on a real-time basis. Key process interfaces that enable new services must be made available to external parties securely and on-demand. Network and IT functions must start collaborating and function as a single entity. Operators need to migrate to a workable architecture quickly and efficiently; vendors have to support this direction with relevant new product offerings and strategies.
Participants' "Next Steps" Vote
Participants were asked how well current industry activity around technical architectures supports the development of Telco 2.0 business models.
- Very well - the industry is shaping up well for delivery and new business models.
- Good start but more needs to be done - major building blocks are missing.
- Lost cause - the industry will never deploy the capabilities for new business models
Lessons learnt & next steps
Since the development of broadband access, the Internet world has recognised that customers can have many, dramatically different roles and attributes, needing specific functionality, preferences, and user profiles. Operators are in a unique position in that they have a fuller picture of customers than any single website or retailer or service provider. Several have already recognised this, and a number of vendors are offering scalable platforms which claim to be in line with the current EU legislation on data protection.
Marc Davis, Chief Scientist, Yahoo! Mobile: ''Data is to the information economy as money is to the economy. But there is a missing infrastructure - because there's no user interface for this data and what is the equivalent of a bank for this data - who looks after it?''
But as well as user profile data, the 2-sided business model requires on-demand response from the network infrastructure. It will not matter whether it is the network or OSS/BSS/IT element that is breaking down - customers won't care, they will just find the situation unacceptable. Both the network and IT elements must work together to deliver this. Operators are moving in that direction organisationally and structurally.
Telco 2.0 expects that this will result in new implementations of control & monitoring systems such as Resource & Service Control Systems (RSC). As services are the key business drivers, the opening up of the walled gardens is changing the service delivery platforms quite rapidly, as most new applications are centred around apps stores, mash-up environments, XaaS environments, and smartphone Web browsers, etc. which do not demand a traditional SDP or SDF. In addition, enabling services are becoming an essential element in operators' core products. These enabling services will, in the future, allow operators to monetize their network assets.
These enabling services need a framework, which is highly flexible, agile and responsive, and integrated with the features defined by NGMN. While not all these points are implemented yet, there is increasing understanding at the operators, upstream service providers, and regulators that this new phase, opened up through the 2-sided business model, represents a historic opportunity for all members of this ecosystem.
Marc Davis, Chief Scientist, Yahoo! Mobile: ''What if we had new, industry standard terms of service under which users owned their data?''
Before the technical details can be finalised, of course, business models need to be scoped. However, the major technical areas discussed above are focal points for technology development. In the short term, Telcos should:
- Build up a logical semantic database as preparation for database integration;
- Include migration from 2G and 3G and backwards compatibility in LTE tenders;
- Prepare a user profile database;
- Reduce the number of OSS/BSS systems;
- Develop real-time responsiveness in OSS/BSS systems
- Separate the control and data planes, separate services from transport;
- Implement and deploy an RSC system as a multivendor abstraction layer.
Event Participants: can access the full presentation transcripts, delegate feedback, and long-term recommendations for action at the event download page (NB. the URL has been emailed to you directly as part of your package).