By Shubh Agarwal
VP, Marketing – Mavenir Systems
Cloud computing or “The Cloud” is Internet-based computing, whereby shared servers provide resources, software, and data to computers and other devices on demand. Cloud computing is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architecture and utility computing.
Regardless of the hype, enterprises and consumer companies are taking advantage of the cloud to develop and deploy applications, content, commerce and social networks, and for good reason . . . the cloud provides a myriad of benefits:
1) Global reach: IP takes advantage of the collective network power and pervasiveness of the Internet
3) Scale: Supports growth driven by even the most dramatic adoption increases
4) Reduced cost & lower technical barriers: Technical requirements and costs of developing and deploying applications and services have never been lower
What’s Missing? A Cloud for Real-Time Services.
Today’s cloud-based applications and services are primarily non-real-time services where fast response or high performance may be desired or preferred but do not operate with strict constraints on response time. Most browser-based applications or dedicated applications on smart phones share these attributes.
Real-time systems, such as voice, text, instant messaging and video communication applications, have strict constraints on response times. They must function within these tight constraints regardless of availability or system load. To support today’s communication applications and the next generation of real-time communication services, the cloud must be extended to deliver Mobile Cloud Services.
1) Rich services: Enabling “rich” communications such as instant messaging, video sharing and other applications take advantage of user “presence”
2) Flexibility: “On-the-fly” provisioning of new services and additional storage
3) Simplified service delivery: Self-service portals with access to pre-packaged automation, single delivery and installation
4) Cost effectiveness: Paying only for what is used, with little or no upfront cost
5) Universal access: Users can access their personal information from multiple devices or locations
6) Back-up: If a device is broken or stolen, data in the cloud is not compromised
Applying Cloud principles to real-time mobile communications offers the promise of greater efficiency, flexibility and simplified service delivery. Moreover, Mobile Operators that embrace Mobile Cloud Services will deliver new services, establish new business models, generate new revenues streams and manage the costs of their legacy services. But how?
Deploy new communication services
Rather than being relegated to the provider of “dumb” bandwidth, Mobile Network Operators can develop and deliver new services that leverage the latest access protocols and smart devices.
For example, operators can launch 4G/LTE services that take advantage of 4G capabilities such as single number and multi-device delivery using the same universal mobile number; or (my personal favorite) a mobile video conference call, where the bridge connects / calls all the participants. With this service, users no longer try to simultaneously remember a 10 digit number, then a 6-10 digit access code, all while driving, wearing Bluetooth, of course.
Create a platform for new application development and revenue models
Operators can open up application programming interfaces (APIs) and allow 3rd party developers to create new applications and new user experiences. Analogous to what Apple is providing with its iOS and Google is doing with Android, the benefit to 3rd party developers is not only the technology itself but also access to customers via the operator’s network. Operators benefit through new growth and revenue opportunities, and being progressive and relevant.
Examples might include:
Interactivity: Gaming providers create a group experience by including voice and/or chat as part of game
Multi-platform: Allowing gamers to play the same game on multiple devices (e.g. iPad or low-end PC)
Enterprise mobility: Allowing corporate users to access company data, share files, and collaborate on projects via their smart phones.
Deliver legacy applications on lower-cost infrastructure
Operator challenges are not limited to finding ways to develop, deploy and support the latest mobile applications – they are also expected to continue to reliably deliver older applications and services, with downward pricing pressure. With Mobile Cloud Services, operators can deliver services to 2G and 3G mobile devices, while eliminating the costs associated with maintaining older infrastructure. Furthermore, Mobile Cloud Services such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Centralized Services offer a lower cost, evolution path to replace legacy mobile switches with an IP cloud-based voice core network.
Who will benefit from Mobile Cloud Services?
Mobile cloud computing creates exciting new opportunities for mobile network operators; basically any forward-looking 3G or 4G operator can benefit from Mobile Cloud Services.
New services, business models and revenue
Mobile Cloud Services provides operators with a set of real time network capabilities, such as voice and video calling, presence, IP messaging. These can be used to package and deliver services directly to their end user; and can be opened up to partners to help them build the next generation of applications and customer experiences that leverage the operators’ network.
Lower the costs of legacy apps
Reliably deliver services to 2G and 3G mobile devices, while eliminating the costs associated with maintaining older infrastructure.
By embracing Mobile Cloud Services, operators can transform their core network to develop, deploy and monetize new mobile services; manage capacity and allocate bandwidth dynamically across services, as needed; and reduce the costs associated with delivering and supporting pre-existing, legacy applications.
Mavenir provides the Converged Voice, Video and Messaging Solutions that power Mobile Cloud Services. With Mavenir, mobile operators can offer mobile cloud services that are scalable, highly customizable and easy to implement. Mavenir’s Converged Voice solutions enable rapid delivery of Mobile VoIP, Vo LTE, Mobile Video, Session Mobility and Femto services; Converged Video solutions provide Mobile Video Conferencing and mashups with traditional services such as single voice and video mail; Converged Messaging solutions deliver SMS, Multimedia and RCS services to monetize 3G and 4G services.