So what are these elements? In a nutshell:
OSS and BSS (operations and business support system) software
At Light Reading, we've broken down this part of the market into a number of categories:
Contract management and settlement
Customer relationship management
Customer care/self care
Customer experience management
Element management systems
Network inventory management
Network planning tools
Revenue assurance and fraud management
Service quality management
Subscriber data management
Notable names in this sector (in which hundreds of companies are active) include Agilent Technologies Inc., Alcatel-Lucent, Amdocs Ltd., CA Technologies, Comverse Inc., Convergys Corp., Ericsson AB (Telcordia), Hewlett-Packard Co., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., IBM Corp., NEC Corp. (NetCracker), Nokia Siemens Networks and Oracle Corp..
These platforms, which comprise a collection of standard and specialized IT components, have grown in importance as CSPs, most notably mobile operators, have sought to: create more nimble and efficient ways of making new services available to customers; more effectively manage the utilization of network assets; and ensure customer and partner access to the appropriate network and application assets.
App store platforms
Cloud service brokerage
Deep packet inspection (DPI)
Diameter routing products
M2M management platforms
Policy servers (PCRF)
Service delivery platforms/network exposure gateways
Notable names in this sector include Accenture, Aepona Ltd., Alcatel-Lucent, Allot Communications Ltd., Amdocs, Apple Inc., CA, Cisco Systems Inc., Compuware Corp., Ericsson, F5 Networks Inc., GetJar Networks Inc., HP, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia Siemens, Sandvine Inc. and Tekelec Inc..
Cloud service enablement technologies
It's very early for carrier cloud developments, and there are many generic IT systems that are used in the cloud. But several specific technologies are helping the CSPs get their foot in the cloud door:
Application acceleration (including WAN acceleration tools)
Cloud automation platforms (also known as cloud operating systems)
Content delivery systems/caching platforms
Telco-grade storage/server systems
Unified cloud management (bringing cloud and network management under one system)
Currently, VMware Inc., shared storage specialist NetApp Inc. and Cisco have emerged as notable specialist technology providers and partners to the telecom world's cloud enthusiasts. Some of the traditional telecom network vendors, most notably Alcatel-Lucent, are also unveiling carrier-cloud systems tailored to the needs of CSPs.
This category includes user authentication and URL filtering (closely linked to policy control), firewalls, and denial-of-service defenses. These tools are particularly relevant here because they are being used to provide hosted services for service provider customers (security as a service) as well as to protect the service provider and its customers. In addition, mobile network security is becoming a much bigger deal as operators deploy LTE networks, which lack the extended in-built security of 3G.
Denial of service defense tools
Many companies supply security tools to CSPs, though Arbor Networks Inc. is well known for its carrier deployments. It's also notable that Juniper Networks Inc. has made a big push in mobile network security.
Mobile transaction platforms
Mobile commerce, mobile banking and mobile money transfer are set to be major services in mature as well as emerging markets, so CSPs are preparing to manage those transactions with systems of their own as well as through partnerships with financial institutions.
We're including the control plane and service plane components of IMS, including next-generation IN platforms and the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) subscriber management systems. IMS deployments can also include the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF) and charging platforms, but these are often deployed outside IMS environments and so have been included in other SPIT zones.
Next-gen IN platforms
Subscriber management (HSS)
Managed services platforms
This isn't so much a technology category as an integrated SPIT deployment scenario, but it's worth mentioning. Managed services, whether offered by service providers or vendors, not only involve the coordinated deployment of a number of elements from the categories above but also include specific tools for enabling self-service monitoring and provisioning and, using portals, the ability to create real-time views of service and network performance.
Next page: Industry Trends & the SPIT Connection