According to a recent Light Reading Insider report -- "Service Delivery Platforms: The Next Grand Design" -- SDPs enable service providers to acquire, launch, and manage potentially thousands of services running over their networks, whether those services are created by third parties or by the service providers themselves (see Carriers Buy Into SDPs and Why SDP Matters Now).
“A ‘service’ in this context is simply an application that uses the capabilities of service providers’ underlying networks, and which service providers deliver with guarantees of quality and availability,” notes report author Caroline Chappell. “Depending on the nature of the service provider’s business, a service can offer VOIP, or an IP VPN, or multimedia conferencing. Or it might provide business messaging, shared calendar or contact management, multiplayer gaming, ringtone download, or news alerts.”
In Sprint’s case, the carrier is targeting enterprises that wish to provide their employees with a set of mobility services such as field service automation, fleet management, and asset management and tracking (see Sprint Launches SDP). IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is the middleware provider for the platform, while Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) provides location-based services software to enterprise users.
“We have created a network gateway into the Sprint network that is based on open industry standards,” says Gavin Throckmorton, marketing manager for Sprint’s Business Solutions division.
In simple terms, Sprint is offering enterprise mobility applications in a bundled package, eliminating the need for enterprises to call on the help of numerous specialist developers. “It cuts out a whole development layer and makes it very easy to plug mobility into an enterprise’s business system,” notes Chappell.
Sprint claims to have “approximately 10 confirmed sales” for its offering, the nationwide rollout of which was announced in mid-May. Customers include grocery store chain Schnuck Markets Inc. and junk removal company 1-800-GOT-JUNK? (see Sprint Junks Up).
“We believe this is going to be a decent revenue driver,” claims Sprint’s Throckmorton. “We expect to generate $300 million in revenue over the life of our five-year business case. That’s a pretty significantly sized business case for just one platform.”
Sprint is not the only carrier to have caught the SDP bug. Other mobile carriers that are using SDP technologies include the wireless unit of Australia’s Telstra Corp., Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd., and Italian competitive carrier Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA, all of which are using Ericsson AB's (Nasdaq: ERICY) SDP (see Ericsson Lands Telstra Deal). And South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) is using Hewlett-Packard Co.’s (NYSE: HPQ) Mobile E-services Server, a key part of its HP SDP. Telefònica Mòviles SA is another HP SDP user.
Some of the world’s more progressive fixed-line carriers are also getting in on the act. For instance, both BCE Inc. (NYSE/Toronto: BCE), better known as Bell Canada, and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) are deploying Microsoft’s Connected Services Framework (CSF), which was launched in February, to create and deliver services to small and medium-sized business customers (see Microsoft Pushes Deeper Into Carriers).
“It’s the next big thing,” opines Chappell. “Getting corporates to pay for these services has been difficult so far because it’s been so complicated and they have had to commission developers to come in and do the work.” The standardization of SDPs promises to reduce costs considerably -- both for enterprises and for service providers.
Barry Tishgart, Sprint's director of product development and management, will be explaining his company's use of SDPs to roll out new services in a keynote speech at the Light Reading Live conference to be held next Monday, June 6, in Chicago. Please see below for details.
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung Need to know more about the growing role of service delivery platforms as the enabling technology for next-generation telecom networks? Check out the coming Light Reading Live! conference:
at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago on Monday, June 6, 2005
This event, hosted by Rick Thompson, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst, will feature informative presentations, product demonstrations, and lively panel discussions about all aspects of this breakthrough technology.
For more information, click here