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A Data Deluge, Driven by Tablets and Mobile Video, Is Disrupting Mobile Carriers

Only a few years ago, the challenges facing mobile providers seemed well within the realm of their traditional expertise. Their vast and complex infrastructures, built around towers, antennas, core networks, and the like, focused on providing the bandwidth and signal quality necessary for providing clear voice signals. Early mobile Internet applications were limited to services like weather, news, and stock quotes. As video entered the picture, it was mostly limited to a quick, manageable snack here and there on YouTube. After all, on a tiny, phone-sized screen, the prospects for a sumptuous two-hour movie feast were limited.

The situation, however, is being radically transformed. And at this years’ Mobile World Congress, which I attended last week in Barcelona, a clear focus was on a prime disruptor: the tablet and vast, media-rich applications. For with the sudden and phenomenal growth of the iPad—along with its Android-based counterparts—end users who had been limited to quick bites on YouTube are ready to indulge in long-form video buffets, anytime and anywhere. And while those game-changing tablets don’t quite provide an IMAX experience, their larger screens nevertheless offer the perfect mix of visual quality, mobility, and convenience.

For mobile service carriers, however, this has created a certain amount of havoc. Read More »

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The Cisco – SP Partnership: Best Practices for Lifting Service Quality

By Carlos Cordero, Director, Service Provider Internet Business Solutions Group

Service providers (SPs) often face a number of service quality challenges. These challenges, more often than not, result from hardware failures, software bugs, network outages, packet loss, and capacity issues. The majority of these challenges may not be new, and may have already been resolved by SPs’ technology partners, or by other operators. Indeed, SPs could capture significant operational benefits simply by adopting well-established best practices.

However, adopting these best practices requires a proactive and open relationship between SPs and their technology partners. Without open cooperation, adopting these best practices and continuous improvement will always prove to be a challenge.

To explore the relationship between an SP’s culture and the adoption of best practices, I will be writing a series of articles on the SP360 blog covering operational and engineering best practices, challenges, and benchmarks observed in the course of working with major service providers worldwide.  The specific topics I will cover include: operational practices such as testing, certification, engineering rules, go-live, and incident management; as well as organizational capabilities (planning, program management, culture, management practices, IP skillsets, and staffing levels).

Read More »

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Revving for the Mobility Race

A few days before Mobile World Congress, the world’s elite Formula 1 teams tested their cars and skills at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. F-1 racing is a thrilling blend of courage, precision, technology, and teamwork: the same things service providers use to compete in the race to deploy seamless, profitable mobility services.

This year was my first time at Mobile World Congress, and I got a rush from it as if I were driving an F-1. Cisco CEO John Chambers set the pace for the event, saying, “We are now entering the post-macrocell era, where small cells also will play a critical role in delivering the next generation mobile Internet.”

As part of this shift, Cisco extends its M.O.VE reference architecture for service provider mobility with two major announcements at the show. We announced the industry’s first standards-based small cell solution, providing coverage and capacity solutions built off Wi-Fi and Femto technologies.  Read More »

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Oh Canada! On What’s Great in the Great North. (Eh!)

The transformation of video and its accoutrements, all in IP, is a reality that’s alive and well in the Great North. And before Spring begins its spectacle, we wanted to give a nod to our Canadian colleagues about the hotbed of IP video activity that’s going on in that important territory.

First, on February 7, TELUS announced plans to add a mobile component to its successful Optik TV service, calling it “Optik on the Go.” That way, consumers in Alberta and British Columbia get a simple, straightforward way to view Optik TV content, across a range of devices.

It’s a continuation of a 10 year strategy for our friends to the north, who decided way back in 2000 to transition to an “all IP” configuration, from end to end. Read More »

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User Flexibility with Mobile Cloud

In the opening of John Chamber’s keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he stated that “Cloud and Mobile will change the service provider industry” and that there will be 7.2 billion mobile devices by the year 2015. You’ll agree that with the explosion of end-devices out there combined with the need to access anything, anytime, anywhere, a mobility strategy can cut across the entire portfolio for a service provider.

Increasingly I’m having conversations with mobile operators on how Cisco can help with:

  • User presence and customized delivery,
  • Monetization and migration of existing offerings to cloud,
  • Bundling of multiple services,
  • Handling a variety of endpoints, and
  • Ensuring pervasive security.

Read More »

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