Network performance monitoring specialist Accedian Networks has landed itself a role in the mobile network of progressive operator SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) that, the vendor's management believes, will open further doors across the Asia-Pacific region.
The South Korean operator is deploying a broad range of network technologies from multiple vendors that, in theory, will enable it to run a more automated, programmable and agile network that will pave the way for the introduction of 5G. (See SK Telecom: Small Cells Key to 5G, Q&A: SK Telecom Talks All Things 5G.)
Accedian's SkyLIGHT VCX Controller, a virtualized performance monitoring management tool that is deployed at about 100 network operators globally, is playing a key role in that network strategy by collecting information from cell site and aggregation routers in the operator's multivendor radio access and backhaul network and feeding it in near real time into management and analytics systems. (See SK Telecom Deploys Accedian's Monitoring Tech and Accedian Takes Virtual CPE to the Minimum.)
SK Telecom is already monitoring the performance of about 12,000 basestations using Accedian's gear and is now expanding that, as it builds out its network, to cover more than 50,000 locations servicing about 28 million customers across South Korea.
"SK Telecom is building a self-optimizing network and we're the nervous system in that network," says Patrick Ostiguy, CEO of the Montreal-based vendor. "What is special about this deployment is the way in which SK Telecom is being very innovative and unique in the way it uses the data that is collected -- it is being fed directly into the SDN architecture to enable [network management] automation."
The deployment of Accedian 's technology has been undertaken in parallel with the operator's SDN and big data strategy, says the vendor's VP of solutions development and marketing Scott Sumner. "The performance assurance solution feeds information into the SDN and analytics engines to provide real-time data to the SDN controllers. Any information that is older than 15 seconds smells bad," says the fragrant Sumner, adding that the deployment is part of a "three-year effort that will culminate in a fully-automated network."
That's notable, as network performance data is traditionally used to provide a screen-based view of the infrastructure and stored for retrospective access, whereas SK Telecom is aiming to use it for near instantaneous, automated network resource management decisions. "SK Telecom is heading towards human-free intervention," adds Sumner, who says he expects to see a number of other operators start talking about similar deployments during the coming year.
Ostiguy says the deal at SK Telecom is "very healthy but not transformational" in financial terms and should generate revenues of more than $10 million over a five-year period.
What could be transformational is the shop window that the South Korean deployment provides, as SK Telecom, along with other Tier 1 operators in the region such as NTT, is regarded as leading edge and innovative in the deployment of next generation technologies, making it influential in Asia-Pacific and beyond. "We started expanding into Asia-Pacific about two years ago and we expect this deployment at SK Telecom to be the catalyst for further business" in the region, says the CEO. "Working with SK Telecom brings prestige," he adds.
Accedian has 210 staff (about half in Montreal), nearly 370 active customers (telcos, cable operators, large enterprises) and has been profitable for a number of years, says the CEO. It is currently generating revenues in the $70 million-$80 million range and, with expected sales growth of more than 20% this year, Ostiguy is looking to hit the $100 million turnover target by the end of 2016.
And what then? Are there any IPO plans? "The focus currently is to hit the $100 million run rate, which will open up possibilities of a financing event," says the CEO.
Accedian has raised a little more than $30 million from investors including Summit Partners , Skypoint Capital Corp. and Rho Ventures . Its most recent round was in August 2010. (See Accedian Lands $19.5M to Expand Sales.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading