4:00 AM -- Having already heard about the finalists in the Best Telecom, Cable and Mobile product categories, it's time to take a closer look at Light Reading's 2012 Leading Lights Best New Service or Application (Telecom) shortlist.
Before we get into the profiles, just a reminder that you can see the full list of Leading Lights finalists here (free registration required).
The Leading Lights Awards and Light Reading Hall of Fame winners will be revealed on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.
So, in no particular order, let's look at the seven finalists for Best New Service or Application (Telecom).
Juniper Networks' Junosphere Lab
This is the hosted (oh, sorry: "cloud") service that enables service providers and enterprises to build networks in a virtual environment and then use them for proof of concept, testing, training or, well, pretty much anything they want.
It's a compelling service for many: Indeed, Juniper Networks Inc. claims it has been used by more than 500 companies. Word is that Junosphere Lab is delivering on its promises and is being used by a number of operators to model entire new networks. This is never going to make Juniper a lot of money directly, but the benefits for all are pretty clear.
XO Communications' 100G service
As much as anything, XO Communications Inc. is shortlisted for its commitment to building a nationwide commercial 100Gbit/s service across the U.S.
But it's more than that. This is a groundbreaking move that will give greater impetus to the 100Gbit/s ecosystem and hasten the availability of competitive, high-capacity services on key routes for enterprise and wholesale users. It's also a development that is putting a sparkle in the eyes of even the most cynical industry analysts and observers.
Dimension Data's Provider CaaS (Compute-as-a-Service)
Dimension Data is one of the global cloud services market's go-getters and it proved that again this year with its Provider CaaS, an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering that lets service providers enter the cloud applications market without having to build their own platforms. The service is enabled by Dimension Data's global Managed Cloud Platform (MCP) that's used for public and private cloud services.
In addition, Dimension Data, now part of the NTT Communications Corp. empire, also provides Provider CaaS customers with marketing and sales tools that further speed up their entry to the market.
Global Capacity Group's One Marketplace Access Exchange (Ethernet enhancement)
As Ethernet services become the de facto choice for enterprise data users, so the tools and support services needed to meet the market's requirements need to become more sophisticated and real-time. By adding Ethernet services to its One Marketplace Access Exchange platform, the Global Capacity Group Inc. is able to offer automated Ethernet service quotes to buyers, an offer that's further stimulating the market for carrier-grade Ethernet.
Vidtel's Vidtel Gateway
Videoconferencing has long been touted as a service for the masses and Vidtel Inc. has taken it one step closer to that goal with its Gateway, which not only offers an affordable videoconferencing service provided by Vidtel, but also integrates Skype and GoogleTalk into the mix. That looks like a game-changing move.
Belgacom's Smart Networking
Belgacom SA has decided to put as much power and control as possible into its business customers' hands with Smart Networking, which enables the provisioning of new services without the need to add new customer premises equipment. This is the sort of move that can only boost demand from corporate users and lead to greater service innovation from Belgacom and its partners.
NII Holdings' Contactos Nextel
Enabling people to stay in touch with friends and contacts in the most convenient and useful way is an invaluable service to offer customers. That's what NII Holdings Inc. has achieved with its Contactos Nextel, which hosts contacts, media, social media interactions and all types of messages in a single online location that can be used by customers in the way that best suits them. The integration of multiple services onto a single hosted platform is the way forward for communications services offerings.
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading