So here's a bit more on some of the entries that made the cut in the Best New Service or Application (Telecom) category, where hosted services and Carrier Ethernet offerings dominated. Here we delve into the hosted finalists, while part II will look at the Ethernet and exchange finalists.
Orange Business Services 's Business Together. It's the cloud again but, again, in the proper sense -- users decide which applications they use and when, paying only for what they use. In this instance the applications on offer are unified communications -- to be more precise, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Hosted Collaboration Solution (messaging, conferencing, document sharing, and so on) -- made available in five pre-set profiles to match the differing needs of users. Orange Business Services knows that if these services are to be any use they have to come with high-level availability, which is why it is utilizing the global data center capabilities of its partnership with SITA to deliver this service, which it already uses internally. (See Orange Fluffs Up UC Cloud and Cloud Plans Need IT/Telco Unity.)
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iCloud. This is how the operators wish they could do it. No synching to PCs involved here, just a wireless connection (including Wi-Fi) to "the cloud" and the synching of apps and capabilities across multiple iOS devices. Of course it's not perfect -- you can't stream content and it's all about Apple, so not multiplatform. But it has set the bar in terms of mass hosted content access capabilities. (See Apple's iCloud Lets Wi-Fi Take the Strain and Apple's iCloud: Where Are the Telcos?)
KT Corp. 's U Cloud. The Korean incumbent's offer may not be the iCloud, but it plays to the strengths of a large network operator that, well, knows how to run a network. Basically, KT decided to appeal to customers that already trust it as a provider of carrier-class services by combining network muscle, commodity hardware, open-source software, and automated provisioning and management to create a service that the carrier is marketing as being way cheaper (30-60 percent) than equivalent offers from Amazon Web Services Inc. . (See Mgmt World: KT Puts Commodity Spin on Cloud and KT Uses More Cloud.com.)