Paolo Campoli, Cisco: The sky's the limit
Big Interview

Paolo Campoli, Cisco: The sky's the limit

Capacity talks to Paolo Campoli, head of Middle East & Africa of service provider sales and service provider CTO for the EMEA sales region at Cisco, about the opportunities for service providers in cloud services and the internet of things.

paolo campoli

As both Cisco’s head of global service provider sales in the Middle East and Africa and its CTO for Europe and the Middle East’s service provider segment, Paulo Campoli has a unique overview of the business models and technologies being adopted by the modern day service provider. 

His first priority is to help service providers reduce costs and increase operational efficiencies - namely across data centres, cloud and network infrastructure. 

With global IP traffic increasing exponentially, the need for service providers to achieve economies of scale is more critical than ever. “Revenues are not growing at the same speed,” he says. “The aim is to simplify the network to optimise the cost base.” 

Campoli also aims to introduce more agility to the operations of service providers, by helping them develop and bring services to market faster. “We are doing that on two fronts – making sure networks and data centres are ‘hyper aware’ and closer to applications,” he says. “At the same time, we are providing them with a solid orchestration of multiple services. Once you design a new service, you can re-use a lot of the building blocks that you already have in-house.” 

Cisco claims it is providing that agility through its Evolved Programmable Network (EPN) and Evolved Services Platform (ESP), using both physical and virtual technology to offer open, flexible programmability and capability. 

The company is also looking to develop revenue generating services for small and medium enterprises. Through its prime fulfilment provisioning service, Campoli hopes to help carriers activate services across multiple technologies and different vendors’ equipment with greater speed and ease. 

Legacy service fulfilment systems such as operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) have hindered the ability of providers to introduce services to market faster and be more creative with their combined service offerings. Campoli claims that offerings such as its prime fulfilment provisioning service address those challenges by providing greater automation, enabling customer self-service and reducing the time to launch services. 

Monetising cloud 

Campoli is seeing a push from carriers to find ways of monetising their cloud investments. 

Increasingly, service providers are creating a ‘federation of clouds’ – interconnecting and managing internal and external cloud computing services – to meet the demands of workload mobility, he observes.   

In combining marketplaces and offering their cloud products on Cisco’s Intercloud Fabric – a software designed to help enterprises move workloads between public clouds, private clouds and Cisco cloud services – service providers are said to be able to further expand their marketplace with white-label offerings. “By connecting the cloud to networks, service providers can start offering differentiating services because they have the network assets that guarantee service level agreements and M2M,” Campoli explains.   

“We are going to push an open environment, where you are not tied to a cloud provider for the rest of your life and your market space is expanding by your ability to sell products across the federation of clouds,” he adds. 

Campoli notes the growing trend among service providers to adopt hybrid cloud systems. “Most of our customers don’t want to be confined to private or public cloud. They want hybrid. This is the new thing.” 

Combining cloud with IoT

Cisco is also betting big on the Internet of Things which Campoli believes presents a huge opportunity for the carrier community. “Having a cloud architecture that is designed for the Internet of Things is becoming a mega trend,” he says. 

That means building a cloud platform that enables service providers to be “hyper-aware, in terms of data” and allowing them to make sense of the input received from the millions of sensors and smart connected objects. 

Increasingly, service providers are also becoming cloud service providers in order to leverage their network assets and take advantage of the Internet of Things. “It is another way to expand their marketplace, both vertically by industry and horizontally by geography,” he says. 

Campoli says that five years ago, service providers were more focused on reducing the cost of their network infrastructure. Today, there is a “transformational approach” to simplify or remove various technologies. “The big change is the realisation that the industry is shifting towards a much more global marketplace,” he says. 

“As a carrier today, I have to think about my network and cloud o erings, in terms of the global marketplace. I have to connect to the enterprise and the cloud workload. I need to collaborate and strike agreements with big cloud providers like Google, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. Technology partners like Cisco play a role here,” he adds.