Managed Services

Calix Jumps Into SaaS

DALLAS -- Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) is getting into the software-as-a-service business, offering rural telcos a hosted service that enables them to monitor the data flows on their networks, down to the subscriber level.

The tool for that is Flow Analyzer, announced Tuesday as the first part of a coming software suite called Compass. By offering Compass Flow Analyzer on a SaaS basis, Calix can reduce the capex and staffing required by telcos, says Geoff Burke, vice president of marketing for Calix. (See Calix Beefs Up Software Support.)

Unlike deep packet inspection, Flow Analysis doesn't look at the content of a data flow, only the application type, Burke says. "We are looking at the flow data, so we can see, for example, that you are using a video-on-demand service, but we can't tell you're watching Debbie Does Dallas," Burke says.

Telcos can use that subscriber data to build histories and detect anomalies that could indicate viruses, malware or other problems, Burke says. They can also try to upsell customers whose network usage is nearing its peak capability.

Future Compass offerings will address in-home monitoring via TR-69, home network provisioning and customer self-service, Burke says.

Why this matters
For rural telcos, wireline access numbers are declining and federal funding is at risk. Vendors see a business opportunity in offering ways for carriers to save on expenses or identify potential revenue streams.

"You have to prepare for lower gross margins by finding services that open up new revenue sources," Calix CEO Carl Russo said in his keynote speech at Tuesday's NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association convention here. "That's an imperative for everybody in this room."

For more
Regarding new types of vendor services and the state of rural telcos:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:12:46 PM
re: Calix Jumps Into SaaS


Since I sell services to many of these telcos (but very different ones that don't compete), what confuses me is what the telco is going to do once they deploy this service.

They are not trying to pitch the sell different for different kinds of bits idea right?  As there are a lot simpler (and FREE) ways of monitoring a router for simple bandwidth usage.

Also my experience says that the telcos (who basically get not much from residential subs) want to spend as little as possible to be a residential ISP.  A business is going to be a different deal, but the number of businesses that might get value from this is really small in these towns.



spc_markl 12/5/2012 | 5:12:45 PM
re: Calix Jumps Into SaaS


The key may be in “identify[ing] potential revenue streams,” that may allow the telcos to provide other SaaS-like services, such as offering hosted PBX services with monthly recurring fees.


paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 5:12:44 PM
re: Calix Jumps Into SaaS



I was hoping for Calix's answer to the question.  I actually sell SaaS services to the ISP side of these businesses that they use to resell to their residential and business customers.  So, I get the message all the time about having more things for them to sell.  I am trying to figure out how montoring their routers will do that.  Customers can get free management tools (example Nagios) to monitor their own environments, so I am trying to figure out what 10,000 line phone company (the stated target market here) is going to sell to customers based on buying this service.



frnkblk 12/5/2012 | 5:12:25 PM
re: Calix Jumps Into SaaS

Yes, it's definitely SaaS, but the marketing department at Calix is doing their work.


This is basically a hosted flow analyzer that will have hooks into Calix's management tool.  It will give insight into usage patterns when a customer calls in and says "my internet is slow" or when a business calls and asks "what are my employees doing with the Internet".  I understand the difficulty in seeing how this product has a direct tie to new revenue streams, but if the customer (residential or business) has an ISP that can tell them what's really going on ("yes, I see that your connection was full at 8:15 pm trying to access Netflix" or "I see that your outbound connection is full with sending e-mail every Monday afternoon") then the customer is probably willing to upgrade to get the better experience.



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