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January 23, 2007

ITEXPO: First Keynotes Completed

By Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director

ITEXPO has begun.
Rich Tehrani, President of TMC (News - Alert) and ITEXPO Conference Chairman, kicked off the conference with some words about what is driving our industry.

But first, in what has become sort of an ITEXPO kickoff tradition, Rich polled the audience to find out who traveled the furthest to attend. Responses showcased a truly international presence, as attendees sounded off from destinations as diverse as Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Midwestern Canada, and other far-flung places.
Addressing the industry drivers, Rich pointed to the fact that there is more money flowing around the telecom space since any time since 2000. Private equity is funding acquisitions, and these acquisitions are changing the landscape of telecom.
Rich also cited several recent high-profile events, and noted that these too would have far-reaching consequences in the coming year:
  • AT&T’s (News - Alert) promises to support net neutrality might spur other carriers to act accordingly and hold off on making any incursions on people’s ‘net freedoms. 
  • Cable companies and the FCC (News - Alert). Will regulations hamper cables growth?
  • iPhone. Steve Jobs is a master of creating buzz. Will the new device live up to the hype and what will the net effects of the upcoming deployment be on the enterprise market?
  • Unified Communications MS and Nortel are advancing their partnership. Is Unified Communications finally here in a meaningful way?
  • Skype (News - Alert) (News - Alert) is charging more money and behaving more and more like a traditional telephone company in that, they are seeking out further revenue streams.
  • IMS: 2006 was a year where we saw agreements made, and technology developed. In 2007, we will see if the applications are actually deployed and if service providers will be able to make any money.
With that, Rich handed the ITEXPO keynote microphone to Keith Chappell, Managing Vice President Global Communications Applications at Alcatel (News - Alert)-Lucent Worldwide Services, who spoke about the brave new world of services transformation and the new approaches to delivering blended services over IP networks.
He began with a nod to the way “things used to be.” According to Chappell, “Before we talked about porting over the same old services and using them in the same old way."
“Today, assuming that network transformation has already occurred; we are looking to service transformation. We define services transformation as ‘binding applications to shared network and management resources to deliver a new breed of services with agility.’”
He went on to describe the four areas that will be critical to this notion of transforming service creation and delivery.
-Service Agility, or the ability to offer access to the wealth of new services.
-Service Personalization: In this new world, increasing levels of personalization will enable much more productivity and creativity.
-Service Blending: This will be a mantra of Alcatel-Lucent going forward. Services are currently not connected in any robust way; they will be more robust if we can connect across these services.
-Quality of Experience: The most important of the four areas. We need to move from acceptable levels of service to an optimal experience, and this all needs to be transparent to the user. Expectations may be low now, but they are rapidly increasing as consumers grow to embrace this new technology
Chappell went on to describe how in the past, networks and services have been siloed.
“Today we have converged networks with services silos. Where we are going," he continued, is “toward a carrier grade service delivery environment that will be able to deliver personalized and blended services.”
“We need to build services in a common framework so we can interconnect them, add personalization, and ensure quality of experience."
Essentially this is about network abstraction, and forming a layer in between application creators and application consumers. Developers can then use an API or application programming interface to access the service delivery environment.
Chappell went on to speak about his firm’s plans in this space.
Alcatel-Lucent will feature an offering that includes four functional areas:
Service Factory: Application developers will see this ‘factory’ and build to this area. This is a virtual environment dedicated to rapid application creation fully leveraging network resources and an enabler layer, which is described in more detail below. In Alcatel-Lucent’s case, they claim to be open to work with non-proprietary service development kits (SDKs) to enable innovation by service providers and third parties alike.
Enabler Layer
Federated Control:
This layer makes functions and information available across a broad range of applications and possibly across an equally broad range of environments that are today disparate. The policing function in this new framework resides here. One function of this layer is to enable policy-driven blending of services. Security management occurs at this layer as well, enabled by an end-to-end security framework.
Service Enhancements:
This is where we see new and interesting “stuff” to make applications more robust. Chappell pointed out that today’s new application may become tomorrow’s enhancement to newer services. In sum, the service enhancement function enables federation and exploitation of user data and dynamic information to deliver personalization of services.
Service Operations:
The last area that Chappell spoke about was the service operations function, which optimizes operational systems to manage blended and personalized services. A different model of services demands a new way of re-engineering service operations, to deliver a new method for managing these new systems.
Greg Galitzine is editorial director for Internet Telephony Magazine. To see more articles, please visit Greg Galitzine’s columnist page.


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