SofNet Day One

SofNet brings together three of the main drivers in the telcom industry, NGN (Next Generation Network), Web 2.0 and the telecom service layer (also known as the SDP, Service Delivery Platform).  Now when it comes to the definition of SDP, I’m usually reminded of this quote from “Through the Looking Glass:”
`I don’t know what you mean by “glory”,’ Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant “there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”‘
`But “glory” doesn’t mean “a nice knock-down argument”,’ Alice objected.
`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

So let’s see what we learnt on the definition of SDP on Day One.

The morning session I attended was entitled “Industrial Revolution 2.0: Are Service Delivery Platforms the New Production Line?”  Summarizing the presentations and discussion:

  • Angelo Morelli, Accenture.  Highlighted the importance in how services are created as Web2.0 principles of lightweight programming models, mash-ups and continuous beta gain main-stream adoption.  Positioned SDP as managing the complexity of aggregating the business models between network operators, service providers, VAS (Value Added Service) aggregators and Web 2.0 companies.  Also positioned the unified user control panel (an element of the SDP) to manage the complexity of transferring content and services between devices.  The unified control panel is one of those technically feasible capabilities, but it’s practicality dubious, e.g. iTunes goes onto the iPod easily thanks to Apple, for those geeks that also want to have their MP3s on their Sony PS3 there’s a number of free ways from using a USB to setting up a media server on the PC.  Here the SDP is defined as providing business and content adaptation between players in the value chain.
  • Giorgio Ramengi, H3G Italia.  H3G Italia has 8M customers, 39% UMTS market share in Italy, and 800k (10% penetration) Mobile TV customers.  H3G has used an SDP over several years for its m-sites that enable 3rd party services on their portal.  They used the SDP for the launch of the MobileTV, which took only 6 months from license grant to launch.  Using an SDP enables trial within 2 months, free-to-air launch in 3 months, and full PayTV launch in 5-6 months.  They currently achieve 10% of mobile TV revenue from advertising.  H3G provides a realistic and focused SDP application note.
  • Jonas Wilhelmson, Ericsson (Drutt), explained the emerging Multimedia Marketplace composed of the following actors: Media, Customers, GAMeY (Google, Amazon, Microsoft, eBay and Yahoo!), Internet Services, Advertisers and Operators.  The role of SDP is to hide complexity in this marketplace, speed time to market, and lower costs.  Quoted data from H3G Scandinavia that 70% of customers access the operator’s portal and 15% ARPU comes from VAS.
  • James Steadman, Oracle:  Gave the Oracle pitch on the SDP being composed of OMA OSE, J2EE application server, and SOA for integration.  Gave an insight into the CXDN (Communication Experience Design Notation) they’ve developed with BT, and will open source later this year.  CXDN re-uses SOA tools from the enterprise, to make it easy to create applications agnostic to network and easily integrated into an enterprise’s business processes.  The CXDN has significant potential for the industry, and the addressable market is where telco’s can provide significant immediate value through the Telco API.
  • Richard Mishra, Amdocs.  Highlighted the important of SDP’s (Service Management Layer) awareness of the resource layer (network capabilities, e.g. QoS over a RAN or DSL link).
  • I asked a question, “If the SDP saves money and enables new services, what are the figures?”  Broad consensus on opex savings of around 50%, which is in line mt projects, perhaps even on the conservative side.  No commitment to ARPU uplift potential, on that I have a weblog entry The Telco API: Potential to raise ARPU by up to 36%

Afternoon Key Note

  • Matt Bross, BT.  Gave the usual world-class inspirational pitch.  Highlighting the shift in power to the user, increase in complexity and importance of green issues.  Gave a great example on the success of BT TradeSpaces in dramatically improving BT’s relevance to the SMB (Small Medium Business) segment.  I often use TradeSpaces as a case study on how operators have a role in communities beyond simply enabling access to Facebook.
  • Bhaskar Gorti, Oracle, provided some much needed figures on the reality of an operator’s business.  Quoting observed SDP savings of: development cost and time reduced by 50%, reduced IT support cost of 30%, RFT (Right First Time) improvement of 30%, TTL (Time To Launch) improvement from 30 days to 1 day, and lowered provisioning costs by 30%.  He made and clearest statement of the show, that the SDP is about improved productivity (operational performance).

Overall, I still feel like the “Through the Looking Glass” quote is relevant in the definition of the SDP.  However, there is broad consensus and specific numbers on the process improvements provided by the SDP, what is lacking is the same specificity on the services.