Paul JessemanWritten by Paul Jesemann, Cisco Solution Consultant, Mobility Architecture, APJ, September 2015

If someone were to define a safe bet, it would be on the number of blogs about NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), its drivers and benefits out there, by far exceeding the actual number of Virtual Network Functions deployed. So please let me try a different perspective.

We have been talking about NFV for more than two years now. There is no shortage of studies and surveys on its drivers and potential, but what can be said about reality? A reality I would like to delineate as follows… To CTOs and CIOs, NFV (and SDN (Software Defined Networks)) is something to drool or to brag about: “We will adopt it” or “We have great results from adopting it”, and an occasional “We have been doing it in the lab for ages, so…?” . But as Geoffrey Moore tells us the “Techies” and “Visionaries” don’t make a technology, until it can be recognised by the majority.

Moore's Technology Adoption Life Cycle

Here comes the important part for “crossing the chasm”: How about successfully addressing the key CFO’s question, “Show me the money”?

What makes me feel great about NFV now becoming a reality, is the fact that there are numerous examples globally, where CFO’s have “found the money”, resulting in commercial NFV deployments. Take AT&T Connected Cars or Telefonica’s “LTE in a Box” as an example for revenue increase business case – not just an approved one, but a proven one! How about a cost reduction one like XL Axiata are confidently aiming for . And if you think increased agility is an esoteric one, look at what Aspider or NAKA Mobile can create with NFV, agility does get signed off, so I assume it also pays off!

In the whole discussion, using Geoffrey A. Moore’ “Crossing the Chasm” reference, is it important where to place the named service providers? Maybe as pragmatics – but what is far more important than a classification is the fact that they are doing it – congratulations!

I do acknowledge that there are still many challenges ahead to reach mainstream Mobile NFV deployments– orchestration or interoperability being one of them (thank you Light Reading and EANTC!), and I am as pleased as I am sure to believe they would be adequately addressed. But that’s maybe another blog some time soon.

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Andrew Mackay

Head of Mobile Solutions

Asia-Pacific Region