Mobile IoT Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Sematext Blog, Elizabeth White, Scott Allen

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing: Opportunities for Communication Service Providers

Cloud computing offers CSPs a great opportunity to regain an important role in delivering services to consumers

Cloud Computing is an evolution of existing technologies to deliver services to end users. Communication service providers have an early adopter opportunity to compete with new entrants, increase their bottom line and play a dominant role in delivering cloud services.

Service providers have seen many so-called next- generation technology waves in the last 15 years. Cloud computing, which was seen as a new fad, has passed the initial test. Cloud computing is for real and not a vague idea anymore. It helps drive down costs for IT organizations by making infrastructure more distributed, more efficient and massively scalable. It's being accepted by enterprises of different sizes as a smarter way to deliver services. The worldwide cloud computing market is growing fast. According to IDC, it will be a $148.8B market by 2014, of which the public cloud alone would be about $55.5B. Communication service providers (CSPs) have made a significant investment in technology, people and processes. They have customer knowledge and relationships. Public cloud computing offers a unique opportunity to CSPs to defend their hosting business and grow significantly by focusing on a much larger market than what they can do today. This article focuses on some of the areas where CSPs have an advantage over others to take the lead market share in public cloud computing.

The Connected World
We live in a world where we expect everything to happen instantly and in real-time. It's a connected world, where people expect personalized information anytime, using any access device, delivered instantly. Everyone expects information to be processed in real time. The connected world is now moving to an agile world. The days of batch processing are numbered, if you want to meet the expectations of your users or customers. The computer and network infrastructure need to be ready to respond to this new connected or real-time world.

Communication service providers (CSPs) understand this better than any other industry. From the very early days of telephony, customers always expected a dial tone when they picked up the phone. CPSs know how to ensure a dial-tone each and every time. CSPs understand and appreciate what it takes to deliver information instantly anywhere every time. They are used to designing, implementing, running and managing infrastructure that is always on. Traditional voice services could be classified as cloud services.

Now it's beyond just the dial-tone. Today, the enterprise that can deliver instantly what a customer/user expects has a competitive advantage. It's important for businesses to make sure that applications, infrastructure and processes in the back end are able to meet this expectation. Businesses need to be agile to capture opportunities presented in this instant-on world.

Cloud Computing
To address these market pressures, CIOs are looking for simplified and flexible architecture. This is where cloud computing makes sense. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort.

Today the focus is shifting to service and away from infrastructure components that are getting virtualized, standardized and commoditized. Virtualization utilizes resources better. But an architecture built on disparate components in a virtualized world adds more complexity. As a result, converged infrastructure, based on industry standards, is the foundation for agile service delivery with reduced time to provision additional resources. IT neither has the time nor the budget to integrate different components and own up to the risk of integration, resulting in increased time-to-market.

With virtualization, the application is not tied to the IT infrastructure, resulting in flexibility that's needed to meet the requirements of the real-time world. The service can be delivered from a data center or from the network or a combination of the two, as long as it makes business sense and can meet user's service-level expectations.

Cloud computing is a natural evolution due to the convergence of IT delivery and network.[1] With cloud computing, networking is part of the shared resources. It plays an important role in making everything work in an instant-on manner. It needs to be based on open industry standards, not proprietary protocols, more so now than ever, to provide the required agility and flexibility at reduced operational costs.

Opportunities for Service Providers
The telecom industry understands the value proposition, technical and operational transformation required as well as the opportunities that exist with cloud computing. CSPs have a lot of intelligence about their subscribers, their preferences, the services they consume, how and when they consume, etc., which help them add more value in a personalized service delivery. CSPs have billing and mediation platforms to charge customers based on usage. Combine all these with their brand and CSPs can play a dominant role and increase their top line revenue, if they proactively embrace public cloud computing.

Today, CSPs provide network connectivity to enterprise and SMB customers. Cloud service is a natural extension to what they are already providing:

  • Cloud computing makes a lot of business sense for the SMB market, which is expected to adopt it sooner than the enterprise market. SMB is a price-sensitive market and normally doesn't carry a lot of legacy application infrastructure. It's a market that is more likely to adapt to a standard cloud offering with little or no customization. On the contrary, enterprise customers would look for a more customized cloud offering. In a global study conducted by Forrester for HP, more than 65% of SMB customers expressed an interest in getting call center as well as unified communication services as cloud services from CSPs. [2] This opens up a great opportunity for CSPs to target that market segment and deliver packaged cloud services (Compute as a Service and Communication as a Service).
  • Market adoption of cloud services is best suited for CSPs. The study done by the IDC [3] shows that top cloud services accepted by the market are collaboration applications, web-based applications, information security and back-up or archiving services. These are the areas where CSPs have core strength and have been delivering them as standalone or dedicated services.

The computing resources and applications remained mostly in data centers. CSPs have focused primarily on managing and supporting networks connecting data centers. Typically, the computing resources are managed separately. If a customer looked for a single point of contact, CSPs, in most cases, worked as sub-contractors to large IT and SI companies.

  • In the world of cloud computing, this situation is changed to the advantage of CSPs because of the flexibility of putting compute resources either in the data center or network, wherever it made business sense. Cloud computing helps CSPs add more value by delivering more than just connectivity and network support. They can compete better with traditional IT service providers, thereby improving the top line.
  • CSPs are better positioned to provide web-based application services. Network assets are important assets of service providers that, in the world of cloud computing, can manage and deliver quality of service to users. This will not only allow service providers to differentiate themselves but will maximize the value of their investment in the network and create a new revenue stream.
  • As the network becomes an important part of the overall service, and when some computing resources reside outside data centers and in the network, traditional IT service providers and SI companies will work more closely with CSPs to commit SLAs to their customers. IT service providers will look for ways to jointly go-to- market with CSPs because they play a key role in delivering SLAs.
  • Events (natural disasters, sports events, elections, civil unrest, etc.) drive a burst of network and application traffic. It's cost-effective for organizations to handle such bursts of application usage or increased traffic to their sites using cloud computing. CSPs are in the best position to set it up very quickly for a short period of time and then tear it down.
  • Enterprise and SMB customers will also experience an occasional increase in their computing needs that can be easily met by CSPs with cloud computing with a pay-per-use model, which is more cost-effective compared to permanently investing in the infrastructure to meet occasional peaks. This reduces Capex as well as Opex for businesses.

According to Gartner, "By 2012, 20% of all business will own no IT assets." [4] As CSPs play a central role in delivering quality service to customers, they have an opportunity to be a services broker for customers. They can become the CIO of many businesses and deliver applications (services) from multiple sources.

  • CSPs can offer Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to defend their hosting customers. They can differentiate themselves from other providers by ensuring service quality and by bundling IT service with communication services. CSPs are less likely to win the battle in this area mainly on price. The next logical step for CSPs is to start offering Platform as a Service (PaaS). But they will be able to meet the required margin targets with Software as a Service (SaaS), bundling services and ensuring service levels.

  • Some service providers are considering building a repository for health care data (storage cloud) fed wirelessly from monitoring devices, labs and other sources. The health care cloud would give secure access to doctors, clinics, hospitals, insurance companies and pharmacists. This is just one example of an early adopter working with HP in Asia.

CSPs can be trusted providers of network connectivity to cloud services providers. As we move some computing resources from the data center to the network, the network becomes a gateway to store, retrieve, process and analyze information. This increases network traffic with cloud and drives more bandwidth.

  • With content delivery solutions (CDN), CSPs can speed up the delivery of Web and cloud applications to employees, partners and customers. Combined with policy solutions, CSPs can do it more intelligently, i.e., not speed up everything but understand the content and take into account user privileges and adjust the acceleration of traffic.

CSPs can aggregate different types of services and content and deliver them as and when requested through a self-service portal to customers with required level of quality and personalization on any access device. They can also let consumers store their content in the cloud and allow them to access it on any device.

The traditional hosting business growth for CSPs is tapering off. Cloud computing (IaaS and SaaS) not only offsets this decline but fuels the overall growth for CSPs.

CSPs will improve efficiency and reduce their internal IT costs by deploying cloud, thereby improving the top line. They will also realize a positive business case for internal cloud deployment when it's coupled with revenue-generating GTM programs.

Cloud computing offers CSPs a great opportunity to regain an important role in delivering services to consumers as well as SMB and enterprise customers. The questions remain: Who will take the early adopter advantage with cloud computing and who will try to be early followers?


  1. Mike Candsfield, F. (2010, June 16). Telecom's Central Role in Cloud Computing. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from Forrester.
  2. Forrester for HP. (n.d.). Communication as a Service for Midsize Businesses. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from hp.com.
  3. IDC. (2009, September 29). Cloud Computing 2010, An IDC Update, IDC Executive Telebriefing. Retrieved June 20, 2011, from cionet.com.
  4. Gartner. (2010, Jan 13). Retrieved June 20, 2011, from Gartner Newsroom.

More Stories By Kapil Raval

Kapil Raval is an experienced technology solutions consultant with nearly 20 years of experience in the telecom industry. He thinks ‘the business’ and focuses on linking business challenges to technology solutions. He currently works for HP and drives strategic solutions in the telecom vertical.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In the next forty months – just over three years – businesses will undergo extraordinary changes. The exponential growth of digitization and machine learning will see a step function change in how businesses create value, satisfy customers, and outperform their competition. In the next forty months companies will take the actions that will see them get to the next level of the game called Capitalism. Or they won’t – game over. The winners of today and tomorrow think differently, follow different...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...