Data Deluge: A Threat to Carriers, or Their Biggest Opportunity in Decades?


According to an industry report by Cisco, mobile data grew 133 percent in 2011 and they predict that by 2016, data traffic on mobile devices worldwide will reach 130 exabytes per year.

Today, smartphone users incorporate their devices into every aspect of life from gaming to shopping. With increased use of mobile devices, service providers are spending countless hours trying to determine how to manage and mediate the large volume of data being generated as a result.

Current IT legacy systems are reaching their breaking point and the outlook of replacing no longer adequate solutions is, while predictably unappealing in an age of budgetary constraint, increasingly inevitable. 

We’ve all recently heard the phrase “big data.” The question is, should communications service providers (CSPs) see all this new data as an opportunity to forge exciting and profitable relationships with their end user customers? Or is it the most expensive data management problem ever to cross the organization?

Big data isn’t going away anytime soon, so, if you can’t beat them, join them. This means mediation platforms will move up the value chain for carriers, who can use the best ones to aggregate, process, clean and downstream huge volumes of data cost-effectively and efficiently. Mediation is the underlying solution to improve the end-user experience. It’s also the key to reduced churn and increased profitability—the real goals for every organization.

Traditionally, mediation has often been an overlooked software component within the BSS but organizations need to pay attention now. It bridges activity on the network itself with its subsequent processing by customer relationship management (CRM) and billing. Thus, to carriers, data is the fuel and mediation is the gasoline company that makes the service provider’s commercial engine work. In other words, service providers are not required to be expert data crunchers to understand that mediation will be a key enabler of their future success.

What is mediation’s role?

Mediation’s deliverable extends beyond the management of exponentially increasing data volumes. Service providers face the test of managing increasingly complex networks and their business support systems/operational support systems (BSS/OSS) infrastructures, as well.

As new networking elements and services are introduced regularly, they need to be integrated into revenue management, business intelligence and service assurance architectures, with minimal turnaround times. The alternative, having multiple vertical integration platforms with anything less than superior price performance, will drive their operational and capital expenditure costs to unsustainable levels while negatively affecting time-to-market.

In this context, mediation can be seen as a non-negotiable infrastructure requirement. It can seamlessly bridge components residing in any layer of an evolving IT and network architecture and provide comprehensive functionality to ensure that any supporting systems are able to communicate as effectively as possible.

The same mediation platform also provides the foundation for effective policy and charging control, a key requirement for CSPs looking to profitably manage the explosive growth in data traffic while creating a profitable services segmentation offering and the best possible user experience. An ability to deliver this in environments characterized by high data volumes and low latency requirements for mission-critical applications is key in mediation.

Today, big data is an unavoidable buzzword in the debate about how to achieve profitability. Policy and charging rules functions (PCRFs), analytics and such issues may be the service provider’s focus, but they’re pipe dreams without the mediation solution required to enable their success.

Magnus Hyttsten is the chief technology officer of DigitalRoute. He has more than 19 years of experience designing and implementing mediation systems worldwide. After working for several years with its predecessor products, he cofounded DigitalRoute in 2000 to provide next-generation mediation technology to the communications market.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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