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Change, Innovation, and the Communications Industry: Global ODAM '10 to Watch' in 2016
Sometimes, when one looks at the changes occurring in the communications industry, the temptation is to think that this is some sort of unique event in history. However, 2,500 years ago, Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated “the only thing that is constant is change.” Today, communications service providers (CSPs) understand that Heraclitus spoke the truth. Change has been constant for CSPs, particularly in the last two decades since deregulation of the North American market, and then more recently in other geographic sectors. However, the level of change continues to increase, and the rate of change continues to accelerate.
Perhaps this is concerning to some; but opportunities abound in a changing world, particularly to those companies willing to step up and help CSPs succeed. For suppliers of Operations, Orchestration, Data Analytics & Monetization (ODAM)2 solutions, change is driving innovation and growth. But growth only comes to those companies, big and small, which can show that their innovations satisfy the evolving needs of the global CSP marketplace. Transformation of the global CSP community includes a number of business drivers. Stratecast has described many of these drivers for years; yet, their relevance in 2016 remains high.
CSPs continue to be squeezed financially. Data volumes continue their exponential expansion; yet, the carriers’ ability to monetize hasn’t kept pace. This means that most CSPs struggle with tightening profit margins.
CSPs are now receptive to new ways of doing business in order to generate new revenue. While the business-to-consumer (B2C) model is still prevalent, a number of variations within the B2C model have arisen. Many new models include partnerships between a CSP and other enterprises to provide something of value that wasn’t previously possible. That something of value may be for a consumer in a business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model or for some other entity in a B2B2X model. The Internet of Things (IoT) presents both opportunities and challenges for CSPs. In fact, in the recently concluded Stratecast Global CSP Billing 2015 Edition report series, we identified six strategic business areas that CSPs are actively operating within.
The Virtual Network—which Stratecast defines as a blend of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software Defined Networking (SDN), and cloud architecture— continues on the path to reality. It is happening, even as the industry moves to define the operations, orchestration and monetization of virtual network components, and the resulting hybrid network that will most certainly remain in place for years to come. While none of these architectures will provide immediate relief to the financial squeeze CSPs feel, CSPs have shown solidarity in their belief that the long-term benefits of flexibility, programmability, cost reduction, and competitive prowess are compelling and achievable.
- On the operations side, CSPs look to their ODAM suppliers to help keep their networks running efficiently, keep their costs down, and keep their customers happy. However, the rise of virtual networks adds a new dimension of complexity to orchestration, network management and service assurance as CSPs struggle to support a hybrid of network configurations over the next decade.
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