Great Expectations: CSP predictions for 2014
09 January 2014 | Pravin Mirchandani
With innovations in SDN, NFV and enterprise satellite broadband all gaining traction, together with a renewed CSP focus on enhancing customer experience, 2014 is already shaping up to be an exciting year of change. Here are my top five predictions for the year ahead.In 2014, as business customers become increasingly expectant of continuous innovation in their networked services, savvy communication service providers (CSPs) will adapt their approach to network access equipment procurement in order to stay ahead of the market. With innovations in software-defined networking (SDN), network function virtualisation (NFV) and enterprise satellite broadband all gaining traction, together with a renewed CSP focus on enhancing customer experience, 2014 is already shaping up to be an exciting year of change. Here are my top five predictions for the year ahead.
• CEM – According to Ovum, customer experience management (CEM) will be one of the key drivers of CSP IT investment this year. The move by CSPs from centralised cloud infrastructure monitoring to a customer premises/network edge approach will increase in 2014, in order to generate the network visibility required to underpin a CEM-oriented SLA. To achieve this, 2014 will bring an increase in CSP adoption of technologies that establish network performance visibility via their customer premises-based network access point.
• Competition – As over the top (OTT) players and new types of communications-focussed managed service providers continue to innovate in their development and delivery of new services, both incumbent local exchange carriers (ILEC) and competitive local exchange carriers (CLEC) will lose out if they fail to keep pace. Much focus in 2014 will be on futureproofing their service infrastructures to ensure they remain competitive.
• New services – CSPs will realise the potential of satellite broadband services to provide businesses with additional connectivity, particularly at times when their DSL broadband fails. Businesses will no longer need to compete with neighbouring organisations for failover 3G or 4G network coverage. Instead, satellite services will help to give CSPs a competitive advantage by enabling them to offer a dedicated backup solution which bypasses the GSM network entirely.
• Respond to SDN – SDN was a hot topic in 2013, but in 2014 we will see it move beyond the data centre and into the realm of service delivery with NFV. CSPs, however, will need to think about how to align their procurement and marketing processes to fully realise the benefits of NFV. NFV can be an ARPU enhancer, but programmability needs a future focus on flexible delivery platforms rather than being just cost-optimised for current service needs.
• Performance – This year will see the performance of network access platforms continue to increase in support of new services, such as cloud and OTT. CSPs that move to adopt faster, more sophisticated and more versatile network access platforms will achieve competitive differentiation as the flexibility enables them to offer services which are better tuned to individual customer needs.
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