It's All About Optimization
By Barbara Henris
While last year was all about policy control and customer experience, one of the key trends seen in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress this year was the enhanced focus on network optimization and OSS. Network optimization, network modeling, and quality of service were key themes seen throughout the exhibition halls and the sessions, and it’s no surprise. With LTE and hybrid networks causing (or about to cause) backhaul headaches for service providers, now is the time to figure out how to make the most of what you’ve got – in terms of network assets, that is.
One of the sessions that really touched on this issue was "Networks: Delivering Quality of Experience, Despite Capacity Constraints." The panel consisted of both OSS providers focused on the network, and BSS providers focused on billing and policy control. It included CEOs from Mobinets, Ixia, Volubill and Syniverse. They went head-to-head claiming why their side deserved more attention from the operators, when in reality it needs to be a combination of both. Policy control will still leave you with unhappy customers if the network is overtaxed and congested, while policy control provides operators with more granularity and control over how services are delivered than any tower ever will.
Quality and cost savings are the buzzwords. From testing and monitoring, to service assurance, security and optimization, service providers are busy planning and architecting their networks to prepare for the seemingly endless growth in data, including new OTT content and VoLTE, which will require a higher quality of service and a new set of KPIs to meet. Next-gen OSS is becoming the new focus for operators dealing with multi-technology and multi-vendor networks that have grown in complexity yet still need to speak a common language.
The panel pointed out that networks have been designed with a point-to-point type of architecture, but now we are dealing with bits and bytes, delivering not just voice but high-value services and content. We all expect high quality of service regardless of what we are purchasing; however, service providers have been focused on building out their networks, building a bigger pipe, instead of how to most successfully "deliver the goods." Focusing on delivering the goods is a change in mindset that requires operators to install a new layer of intelligence and more visibility into their networks, so they can understand not only what’s traveling across it, but have the tools to understand how quality can be improved, costs can be reduced and efficiencies increased.**Editor's Note: What's Hot at Mobile World Congress 2012? Click here for a wrap-up of event news, blogs, a live Twitter feed and more.**
Over a 15+-year career in telecom marketing, Barbara has mastered a wide variety of marketing functions that include an unparalleled depth of knowledge in the development of differentiated product messaging and positioning, and creation and implementation of integrated marketing programs. She now heads up the marketing division at Quexor Group, a telecom marketing and strategy agency based in Toronto and Washington, D.C.