taking policy to the
smart connected device

Archive for June, 2011

The need for #policy2.0

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

The market for policy management solutions has been forecast by Analysys Mason to grow at 23% CAGR in the next five years. At the same time, network costs are reported to be growing faster than revenue. Ultimately, it has been suggested that costs will exceed revenue, the “nightmare” scenario for network operators.

This means that investment in policy management solutions has to pay dividends. The point of policy management is to deliver optimised, quality services to customers and to control the experience of individual customers. This has to generate some sort of return.

It’s early days for policy initiatives. While many operators have invested in such solutions, their use has largely been restricted to avoiding bill shock, ensuring the right charging plan has been applied and interacting with metering solutions to control allocations to customer pricing plans. However, many recognise that policy can go far beyond this and some have defined this as “Policy 2.0”. That is, the evolution of policy from a “defensive” position, protecting and assuring revenues, to a more forward-thinking position, enabling “innovation” and new ways of “monetising the network”, as has been well noted here.

But the threat of the revenue / cost divide means that this process needs to accelerate. This will require, not only continued investment in all the paraphernalia required to build policy-enabled networks, but also new investment in end user device based capabilities. Currently, this is the missing link in the policy chain. With the inexorable rise of user generated content and likely effect on congestion on the uplink direction in both fixed and mobile networks, the ability to monitor and manage traffic that originates in user devices and platforms will become critical. It’s been overlooked, but needs to be incorporated into solutions. Without it, policy frameworks may not be able to achieve their potential and generate the returns necessary to help address revenue shortfalls.

#Mobile Uplink Data – Fog Lifting on a Hidden Problem

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

The telecoms media has been full of recent articles publicising the issue of mobile RAN and backhaul congestion. There is a wealth of data on the subject. But, as we have noted on several occasions, there is a hidden element to the problem that has received somewhat less publicity.

While it is known that user downloads will place heavy demand on mobile infrastructure and contribute to the capacity crunch, the specific problem of user generated content rarely attracts much attention. Capacity is skewed in favour of the downlink, whereas uplink traffic is much more severely constrained. As a recent article noted, uplink traffic is set to grow. We would add, it won’t just come from consumers broadcasting their own content to their peers. Enterprise users will increasingly contribute to this, as they add content to cloud-based applications. What’s more, emerging communications tools such as the Rich Communications Suite (RCS) will create a need for dynamic uplink bandwidth allocation, as users switch to video mode in conversation.

We have often said that simply adding bandwidth to the network won’t solve the issue – there will probably never be enough. Optimisation of existing bandwidth has to be considered and will be considerably more cost-effective in both the near and long term. Mobile network operators need tools to achieve this and existing optimisation solutions need to consider how to obtain visibility and control of what is happening on the user device, spotting potential problems before they hit the network. By then, it’s too late.
The uplink problem has, until now, hardly been discussed and is something of an elephant in the room. It’s time attention was paid to this problem and the reality of the surge in user-generated content recognised as being distinctly different from the well-understood surge in downlink traffic.

The evolution of the enterprise #femtocell

Written by GoS on . Posted in Blog

Today, Femtocells are deployed as offload devices, to capture local traffic in areas of poor indoor coverage. The traffic is transported across fixed DSL infrastructure to the core network, where it can be delivered to the mobile network operator providing the service.

If Femtocells evolve to provide more advanced enterprise services, to ensure service consistency, reliability and service assurance for mobile cloud services, it’s possible that the value of the traffic they convey to fixed networks will increase.

Could that create opportunities for the fixed infrastructure provider to provide differentiated backhaul services, ensuring that service guarantees are applied end-to-end? If so, that’s another opportunity to monetise policy and create new business models.