Deciding what is news and what is newsworthy is a publishing entity’s constant challenge. This is particularly true given the Internet’s ability to create information overload. What it means is that many times significant “thought leadership” items can lack visibility in favor of the seemingly insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest product and service announcements. However, sometimes announcements about future directions are both news and newsworthy. The GENBAND release of its Making Networks Smarter vision is a case in point.
The answer is because GENBAND is focusing its resources where service providers, channel partners and the enterprise and consumer markets they serve want answers and need help. They require assistance on leveraging network and device intelligence to create sustainable differentiated business value as well as personal satisfaction. This is not to say others, particularly point solution providers, are not also addressing the challenges of transforming networks. In fact, in what I have called “The Age of Acceleration,” where the only constants are change and the speed at which it is happening and must be accommodated, suppliers of all types are looking at anything whose smarts can be monetized. However, GENBAND has taken a multi-year look at what the future holds and demands, and have come up with a vision and comprehensive solution sets that are worth a look.
Getting smart about smarts
Leveraging smarts is the objective, and GENBAND has built its vision on three strategic solution pillars that enable a SMART CORE, SMART EDGE and SMART EXPERIENCE for its customers. As described below, there are a series of products that populate the pillars. However, the most interesting aspect of the announcement to me is GENBAND’s view of delivering the value of all of the network smarts. And, doing so when, where, why and how it is needed. The figure below describes delivering value smartly. The message to customers and potential ones is a strong one—accessibility, resiliency, scalability, extensibility, flexibility, security and choice.
The branding in many instances is new, but the functionality and positioning speaks the language and to the needs of the community.
As Charlie Vogt, President and CEO of GENBAND, notes, “GENBAND‘s growth has been built around close and continual interaction with our customers, and fueled by technologies developed to solve critical business challenges and redefine the user experience for the 21st century at work, home and on-the-go… As service providers relentlessly work to meet market challenges, they require smarter networks with software, solutions and intelligence that span multiple technology and compatibility chasms at the core, edges and application layers of networks. Today, we are unveiling our Making Networks Smarter vision and solution innovations in IMS, RCS, VoLTE, Interconnect, SIP Trunking and Multimedia Communications. These solutions are required by our customers to deliver superior user experiences that make their networks and service offerings more secure, scalable, efficient and profitable.”?
His thoughts were echoed by Jeremy Duke, Chief Analyst & Founder, Synergy Research Group, who stated that: “Even the most sophisticated service providers are being challenged with a new wave of competition, shifting market dynamics and the ever-increasing demands of both consumers and enterprises…It is not about selling boxes anymore, but rather providing a flexible and rich software architecture that allows clients to meet the challenges and demands of carrier-scale multimedia. GENBAND‘s Smart Networks solutions provide a unique and exciting set of resources to enable service providers and enterprises to drive cloud-based and IP solutions to their customers.”?
Solutions that distribute and leverage smarts
What fills in the vision from the product side of things? While this will be rolling thunder, below are what is being announced as part of the roadmap now.
GENBAND‘s SMART CORE solutions deliver RCS, VoLTE and IMS features and functionality for mobile and fixed network operators. These allow them to quickly and efficiently monetize services while preserving much of their existing access equipment and offerings. These soltions are enabled by the CONTiNUUM family of IMS, Call Session Controllers and Gateway solutions.
Session Board Control (SBC) Solutions
The network edge is where networks meet and all traffic is exchanged. It is both the focus of where companies can different themselves from the competition and where security issues loom large. The GENBAND‘s SMART EDGE solutions according to the company, simplify the complexities in unifying disparate communication islands by enabling interconnection, inter-working, roaming and enhanced quality of experience across all varieties of real-time, interactive data communications. GENBAND‘s QUANTiX product family, which includes Session Border Controllers (SBCs), Security Gateways and the GENView Real-time Session Manager enable advanced capabilities for SIP Trunking, IPX and Peering.
Unified Communications Solutions
The demand for intelligent, interoperable solutions that provide a simple, consistent and rich communications experience, aka unified communications (UC) is growing as companies look to next generation collaboration tools and seamless interactions across the enterprise and ecosystems to drive business results. GENBAND‘s SMART EXPERIENCE solutions provide comprehensive UC suite of capabilities for business and residential markets to allow service provides to expand their offerings, reduce subscriber churn, tap new sources of revenue and provide a rich, simplified communications experience.
EXPERiUS, is the name for the company’sapplications portfolio which also includes Smart Office, Smart Home and Smart Life solutions, and GENBAND’s software-based, cloud readySIP application server.
CLOUD, UC and RCS Solutions
In a related announcement, GENBAND unveiled NUViA. This is a comprehensive suite of white-label, cloud-based multimedia communications services that fixed and mobile service providers and channel partners brand and take to market. It is powered by EXPERiUS, and is the “Our Cloud” part of the delivery system. By letting GENBAND worry about the platform and all of the associated challenges of being current, secure and reliable, the service provider can concentrate capturing and pleasing their customers with the ability to customize offerings for virtually any market segment or vertical.
And, as Vogt is proud of promoting, all of this is under-pinned by the GENBAND‘s global professional services organization.
Having been given a full briefing on the vision, one last thing that grabbed my attention were GENBAND’s take on what they have labeled SMART EXPERIENCE. In many ways this ties things together because at the end of the day whether it is for intra-enterprise communications, inter-enterprise and B2C interactions in an increasingly BYOD, mobility-centric and social media world, or for personal use at home, differentiated value provided by service providers really is about creating a compelling experience.
It is all about context mediation
For many years in multiple forums, I have predicted that the future of the service provider ultimately will be about what I have called “context mediation.” In simple terms this is about securely hosting individuals and groups’ multiple persona and dynamically adjusting to their context based on the policies and rules that are associated. The value of context mediation continues to increase, especially as IT department struggle to get their arms around all of the challenges of BYOD and mobility. Service providers can and should play a central role in all of this, and the recognition by GENBAND of its critically as a core attribute of SMART EXPERIENCE™ cannot and should not be obscured given all of the other capabilities that are part of its vision.
Many years ago, the then Ma Bell (the old AT&T) introduced something called Advanced Communications Services (ACS). The idea was to put all of the intelligence for making calls in the network to stifle what was at the top the nascent competitive PBX market. I joined executives from a leading PBX company at a meeting with a top regulator as they plead the case to stop ACS from destroying innovation and competition. The regulator looked at all of us and said, “You are asking me in essence to make a determination as to where intelligence should reside as if that will determine winners and losers. The answer is YES!”
Several decades the answer is still YES! And, all of that smarts needs to be leveraged properly so everyone service providers and their customers alike can enjoy the benefits. GENBAND has a vision for how this can be accomplished, and that is the main reason why attention should be paid.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi