6:10 PM -- GRAPEVINE, Texas -- TIA 2011 -- It's not clear when cloud services will begin to create new revenues for carriers, but executives here are convinced that cloud investments made now will pay off.
And while telecom equipment makers are talking about all the changes cloud services will bring to enterprises, they also remind us how drastically their businesses are changing.
Alcatel-Lucent's Robert Vrij spent his keynote on Wednesday touting the cloud as an enabler of new business models.
During a brief chat on the show floor, he barely lets a question about the importance of cloud application development finish before he recounts his company's acquisitions in apps enablement and content distribution (Velocix, OpenPlug and ProgrammableWeb) and describes its partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co. -- all pieces of a bigger picture that will help AlcaLu define its cloud opportunity.
His excitement is understandable. A telecom equipment maker was a hardware and software firm several years ago. Now these entities advise carriers, build networks, host services, source staff and educate potential customers. With HP, Alcatel-Lucent is providing a sort of cloud services starter kit of servers, software, IP applications and -- here's the curious part -- guidance. "For Tier 2 and Tier 3s can -- in a very economical way we can say: 'Here it is, a cloud based solution where you can experiment with cloud and drive applications to your consumers'," Vrij says.
Vrij notes this as a contrast to the Tier 1 carriers that have teams of people working on cloud services and says Alcatel-Lucent is just as excited to help provide a cloud education as it is to be the partner of record for telcos in the cloud.
For the telco infrastructure providers, the cloud excitement is easy to understand. The so-called virtualization of IT hardware in the enterprise –- a core benefit of cloud services –- will lead to bigger data centers that demand faster connections between carrier facilities and end users. That puts service providers in a good position, if they act fast enough, and it opens up additional benefits for trusted suppliers.
Indeed, as our Bridging the Chasm effort has uncovered, the telcos are seeking outside help to find the skills they need to be more nimble and competitive.
"It's driving change in terms of the people that are hired ... and we get asked a lot now to help with staffing and the recognition of talent around the cloud and applications," says Vrij. "We're helping with the identification of talent around the globe to help transform these companies."
— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading