Service providers are under pressure to differentiate themselves from the competitors, to be more innovative in creating new services, and to move towards a lower-cost operating model by reducing operational complexity. In a situation where mobile voice revenues are stable or declining, and mobile roaming charges are under attack by regulatory bodies, Vodafone was looking to create innovative new services for their business customers that would bring new revenue streams with reduced operational cost.
Speed to market is also essential in the increasingly competitive IT services environment. Vodafone and Cisco worked closely to create a standardized operational model for the accelerated deployment of a Mobile Web Conferencing service, based on the Webex Meeting Center product, into Vodafone’s key Operating Companies (OpCos) around the World.
Vodafone and Cisco worked closely to create a “partner ecosystem” model, which enabled Vodafone to standardize their internal operations as well as the external touch points and process interlocks with Cisco and audio partner Intercall, in deploying and supporting the new service. After a pilot launch in a lead OpCo, the three companies then created a “Ready-to-Go” operational and support package that was replicable for the other Vodafone OpCos in which the service will be deployed in a global rollout sequence.
The “Cloud-based” operation of the new service means that the other Vodafone OpCos can use the standardized operating model and partner ecosystem templates to quickly launch and board new customers and provide ongoing support for their use of the service, at lower cost to Vodafone.
David Meerman Scott gives an overview of his new book World Wide Rave, which features ideas and case studies about organizations that have done a great job of creating content that spreads. This is the final in a series of videos conducted by Stacy Spognardi of Cisco focused on opening up a discussion about social media within the service provider community (and beyond).
Buying flowers for your loved one is a great thing to do: it creates goodwill and strengthens the relationship and makes the house look and smell nice. Why would you not want to do that? The question is relevant because it seems to me that when it comes to femtocells, Service Providers are doing the equivalent of not buying their loved one any flowers!
A Femtocell is a small device that attaches to a consumer’s home broadband networks to provide superior cellular coverage in the home. Think of them as having your own personal cellular network dedicated to you and your family.
Whilst there have been several commercial femtocell launches and field trials, demand has been somewhat lackluster. The problem is that SPs are reluctant to actively market an offer that admits their coverage is less than perfect, and customers are reluctant to pay extra for what they see as the SP’s responsibility of providing good coverage.
However, adoption of femtocells can really improve an SP’s financial metrics. Femtocells can provide additional service revenues, help reduce churn, create upsell opportunities in mobile data, accelerate fixed broadband offerings, lead to market share gains and, by offloading traffic from the 3G network onto the consumer’s broadband connection, significantly reduce the cost of delivering mobile Internet traffic. Customers benefit from better coverage, improved performance and new service and tariff options. In other words, a femtocell is an investment that benefits both parties – just like the flowers I mentioned earlier.
We’ve talked about convergence for some time now. It’s been one of the most popular buzz words for our industry over the past decade and even spawned a few tradeshows of the same name to capitalize on the trend. First, it referred to networks, with some of the largest service providers in the world bringing together dozens of service-specific networks to a single IP Next Generation Network. (Come on now, you can’t deny IP is cool when it can do that!)
Now with a single platform, providers were able to more cost-effectively expand their offers to include those of other segments – the converged service provider could grow by not just offering, say traditional voice but move into video as well. Cable companies moved into voice, and just about everyone wanted a piece of the mobility gold rush.
Then, once that industry evolution gained traction, convergence was largely used in reference to services. New offerings such as Cisco TelePresence and others were no longer just a voice service, a video service, or a data service – but in actuality all three at the same time. This blended offer by a provider the worked against our nicely defined industry segmentation of cable, mobile, wireline providers, and led to an increased focus on converged technology of which Cisco spend quite literally billions of dollars each year to develop.
Converged platforms such as the ASR 1000 eliminated the need to have a half dozen different platforms doing separate functions and, instead, allowed a single platform to do them all at once, in a form factor only a few inches high.
Lately, the convergence theme is getting more and more buzz around devices. The iPhone gets credit for much of that, because after all, “there is an app for that” tagline does ring true. My phone now doesn’t just give me an ability to do email or rudimentary web surfing but allows me to track flights/listen to my music/find restaurants/occupy the attention of my bored 4 year old in the back seat of our car…..and it makes calls. Quite a bit of value.
In other words, transitioning more traffic to IP doesn’t mean building entirely new infrastructure. Rather, it means augmenting one of the several distribution mechanisms operators already employ, to carry video.
Cisco is a big part of the traditional and IP-based equipment foundation used by cable providers, and we have been there supporting our cable partners through analog television, standard definition digital television, and HDTV. IP is but another chapter in the video timeline.