The Future of Telecom: What I Learned at GENBAND Perspectives17

As a first-time attendee, let me just say this five-day action-packed event definitely lived up to the hype. Perspectives17 was the avenue to exchange ideas with the brightest minds in telecom.

Apart from networking with leading service providers from around the globe, I had the privilege of seeing first-hand the latest groundbreaking trends affecting communications today. The panel discussions such as Network Evolution illustrated just how important Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) really is. The invaluable information delivered in all the key notes perfectly validated where Kontron fits into the cloud and telco ecosystem, and that what we offer makes life easier for service providers, despite the constant change that is shaking up the telecommunications industry.

There were several takeaways that stuck with me after the conference with respect to the future of telecom, which I thought I’d share.


Network Evolution: What it means for Telecom

NFV is playing a critical role in the future of telecom, as it represents key virtual technologies that promise to transform telco networks. Customer demands are at the forefront and service providers need to be able to respond rapidly and be more flexible in terms of turning services up or down as well as introducing new services customers will love to pay for. The reality is, service providers who lack innovation naturally risk losing their customers to others who don’t. The benefits of NFV, which include acceleration of innovation and the ability to launch services much faster, have many SPs jumping on the bandwagon in hopes of meeting, and more importantly, exceeding their customers’ expectations.

Another top consideration is its ability to significantly reduce costs. The virtualization of telco networks either at the core or edge, grants operators themselves not only big savings on power consumption but on additional network equipment, freeing up more space in their datacenters. It comes as no surprise that many of the service providers present at the conference took the time to speak to us about how our OpenStack Platform for rapid carrier cloud, NFV/SDN and private cloud deployments can help them leverage NFV’s benefits.


NFV – Not only for Service Providers

Mainstream adoption of NFV will likely bring more enterprises into the mix. With significant automation advantages to the network and devops areas, the enterprise is paying closer attention. From a cost perspective, the advantages of NFV are too strong for them to ignore. Going forward, most network functions will be processed and deployed on x86 servers. Consequently, NFV will be managed programmatically in conjunction with Software Defined Networking (SDN) at a much higher scale and at a much lower cost.


Partnering is Key for Network Evolution

One pressure point by service providers is the demand for improved network reliability and security. Meeting many GENBAND strategic partners helped me discover just how important partnerships are to respond to those demands, improve the company mindset, and evolve to more sophisticated services. Although mapping the customer journey and aligning it with the services you offer is essential, it’s not enough. We seem to be constantly focused on the technology over the human touch that has a direct impact on its success. Having an ecosystem of partners who help provide expertise in different areas, such as hardware and software for example, is just as important as the overlaying technology itself.

The Kontron approach involves working with an assortment of vendors on open source solutions that help communication service providers (CSPs) leverage SDN and NFV as a means to achieve – much more quickly – a state of absolute flexibility to roll-out new services and achieve scalable cost-efficiencies. Our mission continues to be: find the right mix of hardware and software components that work best for a CSP’s infrastructure needs, for both legacy and transitioning SDN/NFV deployments.


Final Thoughts

The Kontron team proudly displayed our SYMKLOUD OpenStack Platform at this year’s P17 conference. As an “open services platform”, it is used for NFV infrastructure to run virtual network functions (VNFs) without any vendor lock-in. It enables service providers to build and control their cloud environments –either as VMs or Bare Metal (Ironic) – and tie it to existing compute infrastructure or to Kontron rack-level switches and servers.

For those who did not attend, we collaborated with GENBAND to highlight their Advanced Media Software (AMS) virtualized network function running on the SYMKLOUD OpenStack Platform, enabling elastic and horizontally scalable media processing in the NFV cloud, either at the datacenter core or edge. We were thrilled to be a silver sponsor at Perspectives17 and we look forward to more developments in the near future.


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