By Vimal J. Naikeny, chief technology officer for Digital & Cloud Business at Huawei Technologies
The intelligent world has three defining characteristics: All things are getting digital, gradually getting connected and some are even gaining the ability to sense, that’s how fast ICT is advancing.
In an intelligent world, devices are playing the role of the “feelers”, in an all-sensing environment.
Networks have started connecting everything, and the cloud is becoming the source of intelligence behind all things.
These three elements form an architecture that promotes seamless interaction between devices, information pipes, and the cloud.
This is the era of diversification, an information explosion, where the consumer behaviour is increasingly dependent on the Internet. This demand is showing an exponentially upward trend and it can be summarised as the ROADS experience (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY and Social) which is paving the way for what we call the Digital Transformation.
In this context, it is becoming almost impossible for telecoms operators to continue running on traditional, legacy networks which don’t allow for crucial sharing of resources, agile innovation and flexible expansion options. Not to mention complex and unstructured operations and maintenance routines.
Since 2012 voice & SMS revenues have dropped drastically for carriers around the world, mostly due to the unregulated OTT impact; leaving CxO’s scrambling new ways of generating revenue.
In the last few years, IT/Cloud Services revenue has grown from 5% to 20%, with a mushrooming of new digital services such as video and music streaming, M2M communication, and IoT solutions for smart homes, education and healthcare. Today these Digital revenue streams are literally on par with the traditional revenues.
Cloud transformation will enable the digital boom
As the digital economy opens up a myriad of opportunities in almost every industry, Cloud Transformation, has to be the foundation.
The Cisco Global Cloud Index depicts clearly that the cloud will even go bigger in the coming years with a CAGR of 25 % [2014 – 2019] for Cloud Data Centers and a growth of 44 % in cloud-related services [IaaS, PaaS, & SaaS]. With time, the global competition will increase.
The African market will not miss out on this universal wave; a study by BMI Technologies estimated the continent’s cloud opportunity at $197m in 2015. It’s projected to grow three-fold by 2020.
How the cloud will enable the carriers, digital transformation
Cloud enables Business Model Innovation, helping carriers to provide digital services at a click. It allows for architecture transformation and provides the option to build Unified Cloud Based Architecture through ICT convergence. This allows carriers to offer a catalogue of services to both enterprises and consumers.
The pillar of the cloud business is the underlying infrastructure [computing, storage, and network].
So for many carriers today the challenges lie in legacy Infrastructure, which lacks the agility to accommodate transformation. The choice of infrastructure is of paramount importance in driving the right digital strategy and expansion.
The converged resource pool, also known as converged infrastructure has given a new dimension to the adoption and enablement of digital services. Infrastructure scalability is no longer an impediment to such a strategy, allowing the move into the cloud; and through the adoption of various cloud-driven services, comes the ability to generate more revenue.
The converged resource pool gives rise to the unified cloud architecture, helping operators build efficient and agile cloud platforms for network services, internal IT services and B2B offerings.
The unified cloud architecture is divided into the infrastructure layer, the cloud operating system and the management layer. This concept is called ‘One Cloud’ and is known to be open, normalised and economical.
One Cloud is entirely based on an Open Source Management Platform, with easy interoperability given its open API capabilities. It provides unified resource orchestration for IAAS and PAAS, allowing carriers to build their strategy around the adoption of private, public, or hybrid cloud offerings.
One Cloud is also known for being economical through utilisation of resource pool infrastructure for efficiency and planning and handling high a volume of transactions. The Enterprise Market is a key strategy in the carrier business, One Cloud also allows carriers to step into B2B Cloud with flexible offerings.
The cloud era means greater connectivity, more sharing and more freedom. If we want everything to fall into place, the adoption of the cloud mindset is very important. We should start seeing things at the cloud level, from a higher, more strategic perspective. In a way, we need to get a better view from the cloud.