The Platform Economy

The Platform Economy

Dating back to the eras when Bill Gates and Andy Groves were plotting market domination, they had the foresight, a foresight later evident in the late Steve Jobs, that an ecosystem was required to maximise the potential of their respective products. Positioning their products as platforms with published interfaces, Intel-based PCs were enhanced by innovations from PC component and peripheral manufacturers, similarly Windows OS usage evolved in ways that Microsoft could never have natively realised, while IOS devices bore witness to an explosion in business model innovation that birthed our society of swiping and tapping digital natives reared on instant gratification. In each scenario, the spoils accrued to the platform creators far exceeded those which could have been created if they operated alone.

Traditionally infrastructure industries like telecommunications have been closed, with little to no scope for third- parties to engage with the operators’ infrastructure. In times when said operators were the provider of all services delivered over the infrastructure, this was a perfectly logical stance for them to take.

Alas times have changed. With the proliferation of broadband and the transcendence of all traditional telco services to IP, the floodgates have been opened for Over-the-Top (OTT) competitors to gorge on the cash cows of old world telecoms.

This attack on revenue is raising a multitude of questions about the future role for Telcos, particularly as they face a significant upgrade cycle that will be necessary to remain relevant in the Gigabit society. Are they all destined to become pipe providers, or can they capitalise on the platform success enjoyed by the world’s largest digital firms?

ADTRAN's latest SDX generation of broadband access solutions is being built with MOSAIC open SDN control as its foundation alongside disaggregation. All while leveraging the most powerful chipsets in the industry's history. This will enable network operators to offer benefits to providers of cloud-based services that were previously impossible. With the SDX portfolio's real-time classification capabilities, network operators have the unique potential to build aggregated views of the consumer. Aggregated views that the Facebooks and Amazons of this world can never see. Aggregated views that can greatly improve the effectiveness of marketing tools like dynamic ad insertion, positioning the network operator as the one with the most comprehensive insight into the consumer. This visibility, coupled with the unparalleled packet-handling power in the latest access platforms, when combined with MOSAIC's centralised SDN control, creates an environment where operators can enhance traffic flow management, thus maximising the end-user experience. Whether providing the premium customers of gaming companies with a latency advantage, or reducing content distribution costs by steering traffic to local caches, or augmenting cloud-based enterprise applications with a Service Level Agreement (SLA), there are many ways that a network capable of real-time classification and prioritisation can benefit cloud-based service providers. Such valuable interventions can improve the bottom line of the network operator, by opening up new revenue streams, or facilitating access to more favourable wholesale procurement deals.

Building the network as an open platform for service innovation is a relatively new concept for our industry to consider, as is the ability to monetise the network both toward the consumer and cloud-based service providers. In light of easing positions towards policies like net neutrality, the future construct of digital revenues is at stake. With the potential delivered by MOSAIC open SDN control and the SDX Software Defined access portfolio, the pipe owners have a lot to be excited about.

Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

2017 will be remembered as the year that technology proved itself in the field. With real-world deployments offering previously impossible service rates, this technology has cemented its future in the era of ultrafast broadband delivery. With second- generation chipsets comfortably delivering on the needs of Gigabit societies, and innovations like Dynamic Timing Allocation (DTA) offering service symmetry, this access technology can outperform both cable broadband, and first- generation PON technologies.

While the focus for has always been around speed, now that the technology is sufficiently proven, the conversation, while still about speed, has shifted to speed of deployment.

For many network operators, much of their attraction towards maintaining service delivery over their copper infrastructures stems from the challenges with extending fiber deeper into their networks. This challenge holds true for access fibers, but for many it also applies to backhaul fibers, which are needed for short-loop DPUs, and in the future for small-cell densification.

Leveraging ADTRAN's heritage as one of the industry's leaders in bonded-copper technologies, ADTRAN has applied this experience to attack the time to market challenge facing in a completely new way.

Targeting DPU deployments in building basements, ADTRAN's Gigabit-to-the-Basement solution brings high-density copper bonding techniques to all of the latest copper access technologies. With the potential to bond up to eight copper pairs of, Supervectoring profile 35b, or Vectored VDSL2, ADTRAN's second- generation DPUs have a variant that sees the current in built fiber up-link complemented with an eight pair bonded cooper up-link. These fiber-ready DPUs can realize Gigabit throughput on the high-density bonded copper up-link when connected to existing Fiber-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) assets. For many consumer applications, a Gigabit of backhaul will be sufficient to support initial services, while the fiber-ready status of the DPU ensures that the infrastructure is ready to capitalize on fiber densification when it occurs.

By leveraging ADTRAN's unique experience in copper-bonding technologies, network operators can benefit from two to five times reduction in the time required to deploy when compared with that required to deploy a similar footprint that utilizes fiber for all backhaul links. This unique combination of old and new technologies from ADTRAN opens up more options to defend against the future threats being posed by DOCSIS 3.1 and 5G access, enabling operators to secure first mover advantage in the battle for the connections that will underpin the Gigabit Society.

The Only Way is Up

The Only Way is Up

The impact that broadband has on our society is often hard to quantify. Changes in what we do and how we do it, have a knack of creeping up on us and quickly embedding themselves so deeply into our lives, that it feels like we always did things that way.

Think about how we access movies in our homes. Services like Netflix have eradicated that Friday night trek to the video store, only to find that nothing good was left in stock. With modern broadband connectivity, we are now empowered to consume anything that can be digitized, instantly. Movies, music, publications, and education are all only seconds away from instant gratification. Suffice to say. The substantial increases in broadband speeds have fundamentally and permanently changed society. However this is only half the story.

With every broadband connection, there are two sides to the link, downstream and upstream. Downstream, the darling of the broadband industry since its inception, and the marketer’s weapon of choice of for the last two decades, has spawned a near endless list of novel applications and disruptive business models that even the most forward thinking would have struggled to predict.

We are now entering a new era. An era where activities like live streaming have become democratized with smartphones and wearable cameras broadcasting through applications like Facebook and YouTube. An era where we can capture our own 360- degree Virtual Reality (VR) content on sub $100 adventure cameras. An era where this same 360-degree streaming technology is making its way into smartphones. In this new era, how we interact with computing environments is also rapidly evolving. With early examples like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri, to name but a few, we can now verbally interact with the digital world. The combination of voice control, coupled with 3D-sensing and cloud-based Artificial Intelligence will open up the world of personal robotic assistants that we have been promised in Sci-Fi movies for decades.

Underpinning all of these exciting advancements is a dependency on reliable, low- latency, high-capacity upstream bandwidth. Without addressing the imbalance inherent in many current broadband services, subscribers will find themselves unable to properly engage in the consumer trends that emerge in the Gigabit Society.

As our industry faces the next round of access network investment there is clear acknowledgment that the asymmetries of the past do not have a place in our future. Symmetric Gigabit access technologies like XGS-PON, NG-PON2, DTA and even DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex, all ensure that next-generation networks will deliver on the vision of Gigabit societies and connect us to the cloud in ways we could never have imagined.

The only way is up.

Free Webinar

The Building Blocks of Telco Transformation

Thursday, Sept. 28 | 8:00 AM Central | 2:00 PM BST

The telecommunications industry is changing as new access technologies and open, software-defined architectures allow for a more flexible and scalable access infrastructure. At the same time, operators are realizing the power of the “Network Effect” and looking for new approaches to monetize their network investments. During this webinar, Ronan Kelly, ADTRAN CTO for EMEA and APAC Regions, will outline the essential building blocks for telco transformation.

This webinar will cover:

  • Market and consumer forces driving the Gigabit chase across the world
  • Symmetric Gigabit, 5th Gen access technologies and their service implications
  • SD-Access architectures and standards that form the foundation of open, programmable, and scalable access networks
  • Principles and economics of the “Platforms Economy” that define how service providers can compete and succeed with next-generation access services