Telcordia Promises Relief From Dumb Pipe Syndrome

Telcordia Technologies Inc. knows how much its core customers fear the dumb pipe syndrome, and as part of its recent initiatives, is planning to help them deliver content and added value to their broadband services.

Telcordia’s new chief strategy officer Adan Pope, who says his company had direct talks this year with 160 service providers, believes telecom and cable service providers “will have to focus more on value-added services and content” and use existing knowledge of their customers to deliver more personalized services that capitalize on user preferences, location, and policies.

For example, Pope says, a broadband service provider can be the gatekeeper for a variety of video services, including Internet video, video on demand (VoD), and over-the-top offerings from companies such as Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) By providing a single sign-in that doesn’t require a credit card and allowing the customer to set parameters such as the kind or amount of content consumed, a broadband service provider can avoid becoming the dumb pipe over which Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Netflix, and others deliver their content.

“Google only knows your IP address -- they should not be the only ones to make money during the transformation of the industry,” Pope said. By contrast, service providers know exactly where their broadband customers live and can target content accordingly.

One possible service could enable parents to set up individual identities for their children and then set parameters for what Internet-based videos kids can watch or order, he says. The broadband service provider could also limit or alter viewing based on what device is in use -- the TV, a PC, or a handheld.

“Targeting, presence, user control -- we think service providers can do that like no one else,” Pope said. What they shouldn’t do, he argues, is accept a flat fee to deliver an over-the-top video provider's branded content.

“If I can get an extra $2 a month to deliver a Roku Inc. -branded over-the-top video, then I am a utility service,” Pope says.

The problem has been that the data that service providers possess is sometimes located in discrete databases and not used intelligently, which is something Telcordia, still one of the telecom software world's giants, believes it can help service providers address, Pope says. (See Telcordia: Still a $700M+ Player.)

Among its solutions are those designed to enable OSSs set up for different processes -- service assurance and revenue assurance, for instance -- to talk to each other.

“The question is how do they get information versus data?” he says. “How do they create an end-to-end view of the customer? That is the trick. They have lots of data, but they struggle to get meaningful information about the customer.”

As part of its recent reorganization, which combined its legacy and next-gen operations and support system groups, Telcordia is also becoming more partner-centric, Pope says, recognizing that service providers are outsourcing parts of their operations to a whole host of vendors, and Telcordia must be prepared to work with all of them, not just ones it selects.

Pope brings experience working with Telcordia competitors -- Cramer Systems (bought by Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX)) -- and with vendors, such as Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), that are forced to work with Telcordia through things like its OSMINE process, which certifies equipment compatibility with legacy OSSs. He understands vendor frustration with OSMINE, but says the process has been modernized and remains more cost–efficient than having each vendor do its own interoperability testing.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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