Light Reading
Metaswitch CEO advises telco customers to transform their business plans along with their networks and become software companies

Metaswitch: Telcos Must Get Soft to Survive

Carol Wilson
5/13/2014
50%
50%

NEW ORLEANS — Metaswitch Forum 2014 — Telecom service providers need to think of themselves as software companies and behave accordingly, Metaswitch CEO John Lazar told his company's invited audience of service providers here this morning.

A few minutes later, Lazar began to sketch out a few details of how Metaswitch Networks intends to help its customers move forward to a cloud-based, software-centric, all-IP future at the pace they themselves set. But more on that later, as the news trickles out here.

Moving to a software-centric approach is important for getting new services to market more quickly and thus addressing the revenue crunch telcos face today, Lazar noted. Those aren't new themes for the Metaswitch crowd, which includes many smaller telcos who have watched their voice revenues erode and pressure to support greater bandwidth for data increase exponentially without any real revenues attached.

Some of those listening may have been more intrigued by what Lazar said next: that thinking and behaving like software companies in the way they address network transformation and business plans will also help telcos become more valuable and potentially attract more investment.

"You only have to look at Whatsapp, which sold for, what, $19 billion," Lazar pointed out. "Investors both private and public like companies that use software smarts to cut costs, increase revenues, drive innovation, and become more open and agile. So it's not just about the technology in the network; it's about your value."

That's interesting thinking for a market that has been battered by the loss of federal subsidies, in addition to the loss of traditional revenues. The message may be intended to get the attention of telcos who might think the current transition to virtualization through SDN and NFV isn't yet relevant for them. Because it is.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(16)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 7:42:40 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Seven,

I'm not sure I see your point. Some networks functions lend themselves to virtualization in the network or outright cloud sourcing to another provider.

Voice is an app, abstracted from other parts of the network. It's not an all or nothing approach for cloud. I agree that some functions don't yield to virtualization (today or maybe ever).

POTS line you don't virtualize. That's hardwire stuff. It's dead. Voice is bits and packets delivered from a cloud platform running on x86 servers connected to an IP network and delivered to a device over any broadband network.

Cloud Voice Platform

 

 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/15/2014 | 6:53:48 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Kevin,

So how do you offer Dark Fiber service over that network?

See the point?  You are taking a single slice of the network and saying "Hey NFV me."  What I pondering is that this may yield little for a carrier.  They still have a whole ton of things to virtualize and some of them don't yield to virtualization.  Hard to virtualize a POTS line.

Which is VERY different than in the IT infrastructure which is essentially x86 based computers connected over Ethernet/IP/TCP networks.  So, most if not all functions are VMed or VMable.

So, not sure how you virtualize a Media Gateway with POTS on one side of it.  But have at it!

seven

 
Kevin Mitchell
50%
50%
Kevin Mitchell,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 4:36:55 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
@brookseven

We say don't just virtualize the media gateway (which vendors want to still sell you as hardware anyway), VAPORIZE the network. Use the cloud for Voice Network as a Service (i.e., the cloud voice platform).

Alianza isn't the only company pushing this way. Look at BroadSoft with BroadCloud and GENBAND with Nuvia as box selling vendors moving to a SaaS model.

Most vendors want you to buy their new something (all software nowadays). Well, given what's available, some networks just don't need to be rebuilt. They should be cloud sourced.

Momentum for Cloud Voice Platforms in 2013

Next Generation Voice Platform – Leaping From Network to Cloud

Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/15/2014 | 2:07:30 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Oh, I agree others will follow suit. And what we saw in the IT industry is that the other companies tear themselves apart in the effort to try to follow the leader. For them, the cultural change doesnt help; it simply accelerates their decline. Leaders seeking change inside the company fight against others looking to preserve the status quo. 
Liz Greenberg
50%
50%
Liz Greenberg,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 9:04:52 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
You are right @Phil and @Mitch as well.  This will be a monumental change for these organizations but it will either be evolve or go the way of the dinosaurs.  I am not one to suggest throwing away the baby with the bathwater so evolution may be slow and deliberate but it still must happen.  The end result will still be some sort of hybrid of dedicated hardware and general purpose, software controlled hardware but it still must happen.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 4:38:09 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
I agree it's hard to pull off -- just ask the several companies that failed because they didn't make cultural shifts to stay relevant. I'm just saying that it only takes one company to make such a shift and succeed, and others will try to follow suit.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/14/2014 | 3:46:13 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Phil Britt - That kind of cultural shift is hard to pull off. It's deep in the company's internal organs and DNA. Even failing companies that see competitors succeed with a changed culture have difficulty making the change. 

Companies are comprised of individual people. And a company's top executive ranks are by definition comprised of individuals who have succeeded under the status quo
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 12:03:54 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
Carol,

In the spirit of debate, I would like to challenge your statement.  Mostly to see if we can liven this up and get Phil to jump in with a Metaswitch counterpoint.

So, if you are switching to NFV for something you already do then I have to ask a question:  Does the VM version of the product replace exactly the existing solution? 

Let's use Metaswitch as an example:  Can I Virtualize the Media Gateway (of course not)?  From a carrier standpoint, this means that like any other solution there are both gains and losses from the conversion to VMs.

I would propose a different way of looking at this.  The reason that VMs work so well in the Web world is that there is a set of Universal Languages.  HTTP, URLs, TCP/IP, etc.  End systems source these languages and the network processes them.  

In the data center world, everything is connected via TCP/IP over Ethernet (of some form or another).

If this is going to work, I think we need to think of all things as exchanged in these basic format.  The challenge is that this means that things like MPLS networks need not apply (just as an example). 

I think this is going to be really challenging for telcos as they try to bridge their silos between their different businesses.  One or more will adopt separate NFV/SDN implementations for different purposes.  And the silos will continue and that any gain is minmized.

seven

 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 11:24:33 AM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
You're right about the cultural shift that would need to be made -- something telecom companies have had a hard time doing for several years. But these companies are largely "me, too." Once one announces a sharing plan, they all have it. Once one offers unlimited data, they all have it. Once one raises or lowers prices, they all do it.

So once one adopts this type of culture -- and is successful with it -- they all will.
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/13/2014 | 1:47:05 PM
Re: Switching me softly for a song
I've heard this exhortation to become software-focused at least once before. It seems to be a popular theme at carrier conferences. The shift requires a deep and fundamental cultural change from hardware-focused to software-focused, which will prove overwhelming to many organizations. 
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from Rewired
Metaswitch CTO says virtual functions implemented on IT-grade cloud infrastructure require extra engineering help to handle network volumes.
Technology guru John Donovan pledges to make AT&T's network 75% software-defined by 2020.
Board of directors allegedly wanted faster pace of change from one of the telecom industry's change pacesetters.
But what took them so long?
There's a lot happening at the network's edge, and it's worth watching.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.