Like most, my thoughts today, this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, turn to the state of the planet and our environment. We in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry share a responsibility to not only develop products in environmentally responsible ways, but also to innovate and create solutions that will enable other industries to do the same.
Service Providers also hold a unique position when it comes to environmental sustainability. SPs can impact the environment twice – by operating their own businesses and networks in a Green fashion, and by providing the ICT services that will enable other enterprises to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions. Products such as the Cisco ASR 9000 and CRS-3, which were designed and built with efficiency in mind, serve to reduce the energy used within the network. And services such as WebEx, TelePresence, and other communications and collaboration technologies work to reduce travel, reduce costs, and improve productivity and efficiency.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) recognizes the impact the ICT industry can have on the environment and has been a leader in fostering the development and deployment of energy-efficient next-generation networks. Its 2008 report on “NGNs and Energy Efficiency” put the industry on notice by stating that “Global migration to Next-Generation Networks (NGNs) could bring about a substantial reduction in power consumption and thereby reduce the telecommunication sector’s contribution to global warming.”
The theme at this year’s CTIA conference was Mobile Life. As I walked the floor of the exhibition hall, it became apparent that mobile enablement is permeating many of our day-to-day experiences.
Whereas the mobile industry has focused on device innovation over the past two years, a shift toward application innovation has now taken hold. Device innovation remains strong, but manufacturers and carriers now realize the degree to which applications can drive users to adopt mobile data and rapidly increase their usage.
Nearly every carrier and handset manufacturer is talking about creating application stores and fostering application ecosystems. There is also a growing realization that linking or federating such applications stores could lead to increased value creation for all the participants. Machine-to-machine (M2M) is also gaining momentum, and CXOs of carriers are talking about connecting “billions of devices.”
From vendors, and service and content providers, we see sustained waves of news. From Cisco is our recent CRS-3 router announcement – a super-sized router, optimized for video services. And you will be hearing us talk more about our Content Delivery System (or Cisco CDS) – our platform for personalized video services delivery – and how it now integrates critical technologies like dynamic service routing with proximity.
Why is video delivery getting so much attention? Because video isn’t easy. It has very strict requirements, from creation to playback. Add to that the meteoric growth of video content that is taking place, and the new ways people are interacting with video, such as watching content at more places, and on more screens. We can understand why delivering video services effectively is becoming ever more complex.
So we now find service providers constantly searching for new ways to distribute content efficiently. A key way to make that happen is by combining network intelligence with business-based rules. For example, it makes sense to have the closest content server assigned to provide content to a subscriber- but only if the connection is reliable, the cost of connectivity reasonable, and the server isn’t over-subscribed. Otherwise, a server farther way might be a better option for the most efficient delivery, and for the highest quality of experience to the customer.
When we talk about the impact of Cloud Computing we shouldn’t forget what it’s named after, although I’ve always thought “water vapor” and not “ash.”
I’m sure by now you’ve probably heard or seen the pictures on the news of the volcanic eruption in Iceland affecting global commerce and air travel, especially in Europe. Cisco has been affected in multiple ways, including employees stranded and meetings cancelled. Over the last few days I’ve been contacted by friends and colleagues unexpectedly unable to return home from various places around the world. While the Icelandic ash grounds the planes we’re also seeing a huge spike in demand for some cloud based collaboration tools – such as Webex and TelePresence, all the while increasing the load on the Internet.
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It’s an exciting time to be in the rapidly changing telecommunications industry. The growth in video, mobile, and cloud services represent compelling industry trends that will shape the market in Transport and Routing for decades. Winners and losers in the business might be determined based on the architectural choices made in the near future. However, as a busy executive or analyst we know that you don’t have the time to spend two days out of the office learning how we believe the network will evolve and what your colleagues in the industry are doing in the face of change. Therefore, we’re pleased to bring the expertise directly to your desktop. At Cisco’s NGN Virtual Summit – we’re looking to cover the dual transformational aspects of NGN: transport and IP services evolutions.
If you are responsible for network services, you face multiple challenges:
Video over IP: In a few years, the volume of video traffic will dwarf any other type of traffic on the network. Video head ends are becoming more like data centers which will create a large scale one-to-many distribution network.
Mobility: Smart phones have enjoyed rapid adoption in the marketplace. They are bringing the power of Internet to a huge user base, anytime, anywhere. Is your mobile infrastructure ready for this transformation?
Cloud Computing: IT departments seek to host applications in the service provider or cloud provider facilities. This trend is motivated by a clear cost benefit to IT departments. This also means that remote data centers will attract more traffic from the subscriber base and virtualization of machines will dramatically increase the DC-to-DC communications requirements.
The above will pressure the transport network and that’s what we will explore at the Cisco NGN Virtual Summit. For example:
The TDM infrastructure is under stress because it’s not optimized for data. There is a steady appetite for larger and higher capacity L2VPNs and Private Lines. A tsunami of data traffic is forming and the existing SONET/SDH infrastructure can’t cope. The transport infrastructure must evolve and adapt to these new demands.
The need to support yet increase the profitability of transport services such as basic WAN connectivity during the transition period to all IP over Ethernet.
Cisco recognizes that the challenges for the Next Generation Networks won’t be met by a single technology or group of people. Multiple organizations and people will be involved to pursue the same goal, using complementary technologies in different areas of the network. Network transformation has to be looked at different layers, from the application down to the photonic. How do we optimize video distribution, how do we prepare for DC interconnect, how optical and packets meet, how do we make the best use of the fiber infrastructure we have in the ground? These questions are related.