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Virtualization Technology for the Real World, Today

A few years ago at Mobile World Congress (well more than a few, perhaps…), I was speaking with the CTO of a top tier Mobile Operator about a newly emerging technology called IMS.  It seemed that every vendor was promising how IMS was going to change the world.  This very wise CTO stated that he needs to see a tangible benefit or value from a new technology to be interested.  “I will only buy a new technology if you can show me how it can (a) do something I cannot do today, or (b) improve the way I am doing something today.  I will not buy technology for the sake of technology.”  This simple axiom is a great lens to look through as one views all new technologies – and that is certainly the case for the current industry discussion around Virtualization – or more accurately from Cisco’s perspective on the topic, Virtualization and Orchestration.

But instead of joining in with the multitudes talking about the wonders of the technology, arguing around technical specs or nomenclature, the lesson from the CTO instead guides me to talk about what it can do for the service provider business.

That’s why our announcement today of the Cisco Evolved Services Platform has a decidedly business bent.  Yes, it is a Read More »

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How Service Providers Can Capture Seven Times Their Mobile Investment

By Henky Agusleo, Vertical Manager, and Neeraj Arora, Director, IBSG Service Provider

With nearly a billion smartphones and tablets in use today, the time is ripe for service providers (SPs) to invest in cloud-based Connected Life services for mobile devices. The Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) projects a direct mobile cloud service opportunity of more than $60 billion worldwide by 2016. So far, the first-mover advantage has gone to over-the-top (OTT) players such as Google, and device makers such as Apple. However, service providers (SPs) are well positioned to capture significant revenue in the growing market for cloud-based mobile services. With the right investment and implementation strategies, they can more fully realize this crucial avenue for growth and cost savings.

Cisco IBSG sees consumers demanding mobile-cloud services that fall into four key categories:

  1. Learn and Play: Gaming, video, information, productivity-enhancing services
  2. Communicate: Video calls, social networking
  3. Shop and Pay: Payments, healthcare, travel, location, context-based ads, mobile retail
  4. Monitor and Control: Home automation, surveillance

Sevenfold Revenue Return on Investment

Despite the $60 billion opportunity, mobile operators have been slow to make the investment necessary to develop these cloud-based services. One reason for this lag could be concern about profit margins, which tend to be significantly lower than for traditional mobile services. A number of factors could explain the lower profit margins, including: Read More »

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The Mobile Paradox

Today’s world is characterized by what I call the “mobile explosion”—an environment defined by mobile cloud becoming a platform for delivering everything. It is a world of heterogeneous networks, licensed macro small cell networks, and unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi for example), all seamlessly combined. In this world, however, I believe we are facing a mobile paradox: on the one hand, there is a staggering demand for data from our smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices; on the other hand, the telecommunications industry is grappling with business and monetization challenges around profitability, how to build up these networks fast enough, and competition from over-the-top (OTT) operators.  But, operators are struggling with building the business case and understanding how to make Wi-Fi pay.

The much quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. In parallel, the use of unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi) for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never saw any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.

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In the “Business Models and Monetization Video” in Big Thinkers in Small Cells, my colleagues and I discuss revenue opportunities and challenges mobile operators face today with small cells, both licensed and unlicensed. Mobile operators Read More »

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Reclaiming Mobile Cloud Services from OTTs: Seven Actions Service Providers Can Take to Capture a $60 Billion Opportunity

hagusleoBy Henky Agusleo, Vertical Manager, and Neeraj Arora, Director, IBSG Service Provider – neerarorSingapore

A rapidly expanding, tech-savvy middle class is driving an explosion of connected mobile devices, with close to a billion smartphones and tablets in the world today. These users are looking for new cloud-based “Connected Life” experiences from their mobile devices, creating tremendous opportunities for service providers (SPs). The key is in mobile cloud. The Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) projects a direct worldwide mobile-cloud service opportunity of more than $60 billion by 2016, with an additional cloud pull-through market of $335 billion.

But so far, service providers have not taken the lead in offering cloud-based Connected Life services. That claim belongs to over-the-top (OTT) application developers, content providers, and device manufacturers, such as Google and Apple, who have moved quickly to take the high ground in this market.

OTTs Have First-Mover Advantage

This first-mover advantage has Read More »

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Musings from CTIA

By Bill Gerhardt, Director, IBSG Service Provider

CTIA has certainly evolved a lot over the years. I’ve been attending for a long time, yet, whether in Orlando, Las Vegas, or New Orleans it seemingly takes on a new persona, a new vibe, and a new set of aspirations each year. This year was no different; through the chaos and change, however, I am beginning to see a major trend unfolding. Specifically, I see an industry in flux, one moving from device to application based innovation. What drew me initially to this conclusion was the lack of new designs and features on the floor this year from the device manufacturers. In fact, to some degree, there was even a lack of participation. No Nokia. No RIM. No Motorola.   Instead, there were just a few of the Asian OEM manufacturers and a lot of accessory distributors.

On the other hand, I did see some really cool applications getting attention. Is this the new paradigm? Will unique and compelling apps upstage the efforts of the device guys for attention going forward? Will consumers Read More »

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