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Crowdsourcing Fiber Networks: Community Validated Investment in Action

Howard Baldwin - PhotographBy Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Fact: laying fiber communications infrastructure is expensive. Fantasy: the ability to know ahead of time how many property owners in a given neighborhood would pay for a new fiber infrastructure by subscribing to services or even – and here’s a real fantasy – paying more to get the fiber laid initially.

Except it’s not a fantasy. If you’re a telecom carrier, a cable company, a municipality, even a group of community activists, Greg Richardson is here to offer a compelling approach to capital investment in new infrastructure. And he’s done it with an idea that’s almost embarrassingly simple.

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Summary: Next-Generation Knowledge Workers

Accelerating the Disruption in Business Mobility

Business mobility is driving better productivity, heightened customer experience, and harmonious work/life balance. It also offers freedom for knowledge workers beleaguered by accelerating demands on their time and talents. Indeed, workers themselves have taken much of the initiative toward business mobility.

It is now up to enterprises to support and shape their further adoption of this key technology to capture its full benefits. Moreover, business mobility represents an opportunity for service providers (SPs) to generate new revenue and to deepen their enterprise customer relationships.

To gain a better perspective on the latest trends in business mobility, Cisco® Consulting Services (CCS) conducted an extensive survey in March 2013. Comprising 4,800 respondents across eight countries, it is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of the needs, interests, and behaviors of end users of business mobility.

Read the full article: Next-Generation Knowledge Workers -- Accelerating the Disruption in Business Mobility.

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Creating a Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle

In the decade or so that Wi-Fi has existed, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed it as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  Now mobile operators around the world are asking how they can effectively use Wi-Fi to help them cope with the huge surge in mobile data traffic and to meet customer needs and expectations.  In addition, they are all eager to understand how they can make money from Wi-Fi and to make the business case to justify investments in deploying Wi-Fi networks.

As many leading SPs are now discovering building a Wi-Fi network creates not only significant business value, but creates a virtuous circle that leads to ever-increasing sources of new Wi-Fi value. As the Wi-Fi Monetization Virtuous Circle outlined below shows, the reinforcing network and scale effects of Wi-Fi investments not only deliver unique business benefits at each of the levels, but also establish a valuable platform to exploit additional monetization opportunities at the next level.

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Cbeyond: Taking Our SMB Cloud Offering to the Next Level

May 9, 2013 at 5:00 am PST

By Chris Ortbals, Senior Vice President, Product Management , Cbeyond Inc.ChrisOrtbals

 

At the company’s inception in 1999, Cbeyond saw the potential in using IP technology to deliver enterprise-class productivity enhancing communications services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Today, as a cloud and communications services provider, Cbeyond continues to live up to its brand promise as the technology ally to small and mid-sized businesses,

As Cbeyond witnessed the business value large enterprises were achieving from cloud computing, we sought to devise a new strategy and products that would  offer our SMB customers the same benefits in a secure, reliable and affordable way. Our competitors typically offer SMBs a commodity-grade or exclusively self-service type of cloud offering. However, we wanted to go further and provide a cloud service that would not only support end-to-end enterprise-grade production applications but also deliver a much superior experience for SMBs.

Our initial expansion into the cloud came with the 2010 acquisitions of MaximumASP, a hosting provider, and Aretta, a network-hosted VoIP provider.  We integrated and enhanced the technologies we acquired into TotalCloud, our flexible and highly customizable cloud services platform.

We’ve had a successful relationship with Cisco since 1999, when we launched the first Cisco-powered 100% IP network delivering services to SMBs. So naturally we considered partnering with Cisco as we made the move into the cloud services market.

In the search for the right partner, we did our due diligence and evaluated three vendors.  However, we found that only Cisco could help us deploy, provision, test and implement a cloud platform that not only met our requirements but that could also be launched within our aggressive timeframe.

Our TotalCloud Data Center, a service platform for public and private cloud solutions, is powered by Cisco technology, with Cisco Unified Computing System™, Cisco UCS Blade servers, and Cisco Nexus switches. This solution provides us with a repeatable, scalable architecture that can be used in our current and future data centers.

We collaborated with Cisco Services, for Data Center Optimization and Network Optimization Services since network performance is critical to running production applications in the cloud.

Other vendors would have pieced a cloud offering together from multiple sources so going with Cisco as a single vendor offered a clear advantage over using multiple vendors to accomplish the same task. Also,  many cloud platforms are built like an island with limited integration into other products used by a service provider, however the Cisco offering is the complete opposite. Cisco has architected its technology in partnership with us so that their technology not only supports how we want our business to operate but how we deliver services and value to our entire customer base.

And partnering with Cisco paid off. With the help of Cisco Services, Cbeyond’s time-to-market for our cloud offering was reduced by two months, and we were able to secure new revenue opportunities earlier than expected.

Read more in this new case study:  Services Provider Builds New Cloud Infrastructure for SMBs

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Preparing for an Uncertain Media Future: Even Challenging Scenarios Offer Ways To Grow

In the midst of tremendous disruption, it is impossible to tell where the global media industry is ultimately heading. But a recent analysis from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) explores four possible future scenarios for the media industry. While they do not “predict” the future, the scenarios help build our understanding of possible outcomes — and how various industry players could be affected.

The Shape of Things To Come: Four Scenarios

We explored the ways certain industry developments could swing future outcomes. Combining these drivers into logical groupings (consumer behavior, regulatory requirements, technology, and macroeconomic conditions), we were able to define the following four scenarios, as shown in Figure 1. These scenarios are differentiated by consumer demand, industry structure, and content supply:

  • Dark Ages — low demand, consolidated industry, and relatively low content supply
  • Survival of the Fittest — low demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply
  • Golden Age of Content — high demand, consolidated industry, and controlled content supply
  • Wonderland — high demand, fragmented industry, and high content supply

Obviously, each of the scenarios will have different winners and losers. The financial impact and the implications for players across the industry value chain will substantially change by scenario. And in each scenario, distributors and infrastructure providers will need to consider different types of investments. Consequently, each type of player will need to adapt its competitive responses to the future scenario taking shape.

Figure 1.   Four Future Scenarios Are Based on Various Groupings of Industry Drivers.

 cisco-ibsg-four-future-scenarios-based-on-industry-driversSource: Cisco IBSG, 2013

Following are examples of how two future scenarios could play out: Read More »

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