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Viavi Solutions today introduced the TeraVM 5G Core Emulator solution, the first mobile core emulator compliant with 3GPP standards, empowering faster 5G network development and deployment. With this addition to the TeraVM family and RANtoCore portfolio, VIAVI enables complete, end-to-end 5G base station testing and validation, simplifying the development lifecycle of gNodeB (gNB) base stations for a more agile, 3GPP-compliant network.

Service providers and network equipment manufacturers are challenged to advance their 5G plans in the face of changing and maturing 3GPP specifications. The TeraVM 5G Core Emulator enables gNB RANtoCore™ testing and validation before the core network is available, allowing Radio Access Network (RAN) engineers to control their own test environment with an emulated core network that is always available. The software-based 5G Core Emulator eases evolution to a converged RAN and core network, helping service providers future-proof their network for tomorrow’s 5G service without disrupting delivery to subscribers today.

Operating in a virtualized environment with a small, portable form factor, the exceedingly scalable TeraVM 5G Core Emulator solution offers a controlled test environment that simplifies troubleshooting and speeds performance optimization. This solution can be configured to match specific RAN test needs, supporting both standalone (SA) and non-standalone (NSA) 5G variants, as well as IoT, VoLTE and legacy 2G, 3G and 4G RAN architectures.

Ian Langley, Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Business, VIAVI
The industry-first TeraVM 5G Core Emulator enhances our complete RANtoCore offering and proves yet again that VIAVI is at the forefront of the evolution to 5G, enabling our customers to be first to market in alignment with 3GPP standards. Equipment manufacturers and service providers alike have made substantial investments in 5G. Their commercial success or failure will hinge on rigorous test, validation, monitoring and assurance, from R&D development through deployment, activation and operation.

Published in Technology & Solutions

CommScope and Google are working together to jointly develop, deploy and operate an Environmental Sensing Capability (ESC) network, advancing Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) to market.

The joint ESC leverages the technical capabilities of each company with a consolidated footprint – resulting in more places to deploy CBRS and higher availability spectrum for operators of CBRS-based networks.

The CBRS band is 150 MHz of 3.5 GHz spectrum, which will be shared by the current incumbents, including federal government radar systems, and new commercial users. CBRS will provide new dynamically-allocated shared spectrum for various use cases such as private networks, fixed wireless access, wireless rural broadband, indoor wireless coverage, the Internet of Things, and additional cellular capacity. The FCC has authorized shared use of the band, which enables the support of commercial wireless services while protecting incumbent use.

CBRS spectrum is managed by Spectrum Access Systems (SASs), which require an ESC network to sense radar operation. The ESC will alert the SASs of naval radar operations, so the connected SAS systems can reconfigure spectrum allocations for nearby CBRS devices to operate without interfering with naval activity.

CommScope and Google will each provide independent SAS services and jointly operate the ESC network. The ESC network is engineered for high availability with the built-in redundancy and fault detection necessary to provide this key enabling capability. As part of this collaboration, both companies share responsibility for overall network design.

Google has developed the ESC sensor and cloud decision engine and will operate the cloud that communicates with each SAS. CommScope will deploy and manage the operation of the physical network. CommScope and Google are working with the FCC and other governmental agencies to obtain certification of the ESC.

Ben Cardwell, SVP, CommScope Mobility Solutions
This critical network infrastructure agreement represents a major commitment to CBRS by two major SAS providers and will help to ensure that the opportunities presented by CBRS will soon be realized.

Milo Medin, VP of Wireless Services, Google
The ESC represents more than a check-the-box capability. To effectively manage spectrum, a SAS relies on accurate ESC notifications - that eliminate false positive readings - from a high availability sensing network.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Infovista, the provider of modern network performance has announced its go-to-market strategy is “all indirect, all the time".

To accelerate its global channel strategy, Infovista has hired industry veteran Jon Howes as senior vice president, global channel sales.

Howes is responsible for leading Infovista’s indirect go-to-market strategy for all products. Howes, an accomplished channel leader with a long history of managing high-performance channel and business development teams, has expertise spanning multiple geographies in both service provider and enterprise end user environments. Prior to joining Infovista, Howes built channels for Juniper Networks and Acme Packet, and latterly served as general manager, global enterprise channels, at Oracle’s communications business unit.

Infovista’s channel partners include managed service providers (MSPs), value-added resellers (VARs), distributors, systems integrators (SIs) and consulting companies, all known for their expertise and high-touch service. 

Jon Howes, SVP, Global Channel Sales, Infovista
Infovista is open for business in the channel, and our growing list of valued channel partners are critical to helping Infovista deliver the industry’s best solutions to help our customers worldwide plan, monitor and control their increasingly complex networks. 

Sierra Wireless announced that its AirPrime HL78 LTE-M/NB-IoT embedded wireless modules, are now certified to operate on both KDDI’s LTE-M network in Japan and AT&T’s LTE-M network in the United States. 

As a rapidly growing list of operators deploys LTE-M and NB-IoT networks across the globe, these are the first of many certifications for the HL78 modules. Sierra Wireless’ HL78 embedded modules use the ALT1250 radio baseband chipset from strategic partner Altair.

AirPrime HL78 modules deliver best-in-class power performance, extending the life of battery-operated devices by 5-10 times compared to other available LTE-M/NB-IoT modules. This new level of ultra-low power consumption, with improved wake-up and sleep mode responsiveness, makes HL78 the module of choice for any power-constrained IoT application.

In addition to low-power performance unique to the HL78 design, the modules integrate GNSS tracking capability, security and an embedded SIM in a new compact CF3 size (18mm x15mm) that is pin-to-pin compatible with other HL Series modules. Customers have the flexibility to deploy the same device on global LTE-M (Cat-M1/eMTC) and NB-IoT (Cat-NB1) networks, with support for more than 20 LTE frequency bands in addition to optional 2G fallback. Built-in security, including HTTPS, secure socket, secure boot and free unlimited firmware over-the-air (FOTA) updates from the AirVantage® device management IoT Platform, helps customers ensure HL78 deployments are future-proof and secure.

Hiroyuki Kimura, Deputy GM, IoT Business Development Division, KDDI
Sierra Wireless’ modules provide exceptional low-power performance that will dramatically extend battery life and enable many new applications on KDDI’s LTE-M network.

Dan Schieler, SVP and GM, OEM Solutions, Sierra Wireless
These certifications pave the way for our LPWA customers to support large-scale IoT deployments in smart energy, tracking, industrial asset management, home security, patient monitoring, wearables and any other application requiring low power and extended coverage.

Published in Technology & Solutions

Kaloom, an emerging leader in the fully automated data-center networking software market, announced the general availability of its Software Defined Fabric (SDF) product family.

Kaloom says its SDF leverages open networking white boxes in order to reduce CAPEX while its automation features reduce OPEX and minimize time to deployment and configuration errors. The P4-based programming capabilities of the fabric future-proofs network investments compared to slower, more costly merchant silicon product cycles. By offloading data plane functions from virtual machines and containers, Kaloom claims that the new SDF delivers an increase of up to 2x in throughput with a 7x reduction in latency, improving overall networking efficiency by a factor of 5-10x.

Kaloom offers interfaces to leading industry standard orchestration systems and SDN controllers such as Openstack (ML2), Kubernetes (CNI) and OpenDaylight (NETCONF). Kaloom’s SDF offers a pre-tested and certified software solution for white boxes from Accton, Delta and Foxconn that is designed for hyperscale and distributed data center environments.

The Kaloom SDF has been designed to virtualize the data center. A physical data center can be partitioned into multiple independent and fully isolated virtual data centers (vDCs). Each vDC operates with its own Virtual Fabric (vFabric), which can host millions of IPv4 or IPv6 based tenant networks. Additional compute and storage resources can be dynamically assigned or removed from a vDC through the associated vFabric, thus creating a flexible and elastic pool of network resources suitable for network slicing.

Laurent Marchand, CEO, Kaloom
Our product has been tested by several beta customers, which require lower-latency solutions, and it was very well received. 

Published in Technology & Solutions

As streaming video continues to firmly hold its position as one of the most common OTT use cases, it’s no surprise that mobile operators have been quick to jump on this growth opportunity and the value it brings. Typically, this has taken the form of their own direct-to-consumer offerings looking to capitalise on the success of mainstream players such as Netflix. Many have since flooded the market, and there’s no doubt that the way we engage with video on the move and at home has forever changed as a result.

It’s easy to see why. OTT TV has become a front runner with consumers in recent years, to the point where Digital TV Research predicts that 99 million VOD subscriptions will be active in Western Europe alone by 2023, with total TV revenues reaching $50 billion. This fundamental shift is taking place all around the world too, with APAC being a region that’s seen a huge surge in the volume of viewers engaging with over-the-top streaming services.

Tier-one Indonesian operator Indosat is one such example. With more than 100 million subscribers, it launched a direct-to-consumer streaming service, called iStream, ahead of the World Cup, in order to take advantage of mounting consumer demand to stream the fixtures on demand and cross-device.

What’s particularly interesting about Indosat’s service, though, is how the platform has evolved since the last football match was shown. iStream has moved beyond being an exclusively B2C offering to help the mobile operator drive B2B revenues too - and it’s an approach that other service providers would be wise to consider for their own gain.

Going beyond B2C to secure additional revenues

By using this year’s major football tournament as a proof point for the platform’s success, Indosat launched a B2B arm of its iStream service. The operator demonstrated the capabilities of its platform to reach subscribers at scale in order to attract rights holders to iStream on an exclusive basis, before getting that new content in front of many more consumers through partnering with other content providers and ISPs under a revenue share model.

The value behind an approach like this is not in trying to become the next Netflix. Instead, it’s in servicing audiences with content tailored to their regional interests. Many rights holders, including those that are creating niche content, have valuable video assets but no direct route to consumers, which is an opportunity that operators like Indosat are in a position to take advantage of. After all, they already have a billing relationship with tens of millions of subscribers and a direct route onto their mobile devices.

With this in mind, it’s a win-win for all involved. Rights holders can get their content seen by consumers at scale, while other service providers offering the platform have a vested interest in driving uptake with their users to bolster overall growth. And this multi-tenanted approach becomes all the more important when you consider how a service like this should be monetised.

The changing video monetisation model

A streaming service is only as successful as the monetisation model it employs. While subscription VOD is undoubtedly the current king of this market, it’s not without flaws. New research suggests consumers are being presented with too many options. That’s having a negative effect, as they’re subsequently showing an unwillingness to sign up for new subscription services when presented with them. While this won’t affect more established players like Hulu or Amazon Prime, it does pose a question for how mobile operators should position their own services in the market to encourage users to adopt them out of all the other options available.

One way to achieve this is by introducing a different monetisation approach. Given that operators already have a wealth of subscriber data, and that the rise of OTT has fundamentally changed the ad targeting game, an increasingly viable supplementary offering to SVOD is an ad-supported (AVOD) model.

As such, many operators, including Indosat, choose to combine SVOD with AVOD, which has tremendous value from a sustained revenue perspective. Offering an AVOD option for accessing the streaming platform is a way to immediately get more eyeballs on the content that’s available to watch – particularly as there will always be a subset of consumers who reject subscription-based services altogether.

Making this a reality

The remaining question, then, is how to make all this a reality? There are two options. The first is that operators can choose to do it themselves. This is entirely practical if the prerequisite content and engineering teams are already established, and there are certainly economies of scale when operating everything in-house.

For operators that don’t have this existing support, though, a technology provider can do much of the heavy lifting in a way that eliminates the traditional upfront CAPEX outlay associated with launching a new video streaming service. Another area where an outsourced technology partner can be beneficial is their method for driving more targeted advertising with deep-dive data analytics.

Both of these go hand-in-hand with the AVOD model and how it can be used to open up a new streaming service to a wider audience at launch. Since more eyeballs equals more data, volume of data correlates with stronger subscriber insights, and better insights represent much more relevant and targeted advertising offerings, it’s an important cyclical relationship between the consumer and the video platform to get right.

By introducing a content management platform at the heart of their streaming service that has advanced data analytics built in, it’s possible to ensure consumers are being served highly targeted adverts that are relevant to their likes, interests, spending habits and more - and track and manage viewer engagement on a much deeper level. This not only makes those ads much more likely to be engaged with, but also helps drive the bottom line for the operator and their business partners to ensure an immediate ROI.

Conclusion

No longer a thorn in the side of mobile operators, it’s now possible for video to become a multi-faceted revenue driver. Regardless of how they choose to implement their own video streaming services in the future, mobile operators around the globe would be wise to consider the advantages demonstrated with Indosat’s approach and the necessity to go beyond merely B2C revenues in today’s highly competitive streaming landscape.

Ultimately, at a time when competition is fierce but the need for data-driven, highly targeted advertising has never been greater, mobile operators that adopt an approach like this are in a unique position to stand out from the crowd and grow their revenues in a new and sustained way.

Published in Expert Opinion

Samsung announced at a recent event that it is establishing another artificial intelligence (AI) centre in Montreal that would focus on machine learning, language, vision, and multi-modal interactions.

The announcement complements earlier news of multiple AI centres launched in North America and continues Samsung’s efforts in AI that include the development of Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby. The centre is the fourth Samsung AI Centre to be established in North America following the centres launched in Silicon Valley, New York and Toronto.

The opening of the AI centre in Montreal will allow Samsung to expand its outpost for industry collaboration and talent recruitment in a major AI hub in Canada, dedicated to research and development of core AI technologies that entail machine learning, language, vision and other multi-modal interactions.

During the event, Samsung presented its future vision for AI as it aims to develop a highly personalized multi-device platform that empowers people to accomplish more in their lives. By providing multiple touchpoints where a user can interact with AI, not only through voice, Samsung says its multi-modal interaction platform (voice, vision, screen, touch) will make experiences more relevant and personal in the future.

Nokia announced that it will supply, install, commission and maintain the Smart Telecom Poles across India in all of BSNL's telecom circles.

Under the contract, Nokia will also integrate the poles with smart LED lighting systems, CCTV cameras, digital billboards and environmental sensors that provide strong revenue generation potential for the operator.

The smart pole has been designed for emerging markets and built in India based on Nokia's global services expertise. With its Smart Telecom Pole and services expertise, Nokia will help BSNL provide access to mobile connectivity and smart solutions for citizens while ensuring the poles meet the aesthetic and spatial needs in modern cities. Nokia will optimize the telecom infrastructure to provide a shared, secure and scalable platform that ensures the best use of urban resources and prepares BSNL for the needs of new technologies such as IoT and 5G.

The pole can be adapted to diverse geographical environments and climate conditions. It also houses a custom-designed power backup solution to provide continuity of services during power outages.

Anupam Srivastava, Chairman and MD, BSNL
Nokia is already one of our key partners in deploying our network around the country, and we're delighted to be working with them on the smart pole opportunity and showcasing our capabilities for the future smart cities.

Sanjay Malik, Head of the India Market, Nokia
Our Smart Telecom Pole can help ensure urban assets and data are efficiently used while opening new revenue streams. 

Published in Technology & Solutions
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