Traditionally, the network has been the main revenue centre for Service Providers (SPs); voice or VPN data services are good examples of this. With the growth of the Internet and especially the Over-the-Top (OTT) services, SPs have been forced to throw additional resources to support the traffic growth and are rapidly being forced to build unsustainable business models were the network becomes a cost centre.
OTT services are mostly offered by third parties on the Internet and are transported over the best effort access of the SP. In recent years, OTTs have been able to capture most of the audiences’ attention and thus also an increasing part of the subscriber's share of wallet.
However, many SPs based within EMEA, who I have had the opportunity to talk to, have all told me about the difficulty in competing against the OTTs with its own in-network services. Ironically the best effort access service they have built is too good, and that it competes with the higher QoS services. Obviously in the current SP competitive market, no one will make the first move to degrade the best effort service and run the risk of losing the subscriber base.
So, how can a SP setup a strategy to monetise the OTT traffic?
At this point I have to say that no single strategy will solve the entire problem and it will be a combination of well thought out network utilisation options to enable a successful operation.
I predict that one of the main successful strategies will be bringing the network back to the centre of the business model and converting it back to a revenue centre. Nowadays the value of the network perceived by the subscribers is quite limited and in many cases it translates on speed, price and availability. So, the new model should be looking for a new type of customer that can benefit from accessing the network intelligence. I have heard of some OTT companies that have already expressed interest in these types of services, but only if SPs could offer it in a simple way.
The network programmability concept launched by Juniper Networks provides simple tools such as network SDKs to easily create interfaces where applications can interact real-time with the network, getting first hand information of traffic conditions and being able to generate on-demand requests for specific services such a CoS or additional capacity. OpenFlow, one of the network programmability tools provides a standard interface.
We are making inroads to have orchestration platforms become able to address the network as an entity rather than sets of individual boxes. Protocol standardization on topics such as real-time topology understanding (ALTO, BGP-TE), traffic engineering (Stateful PCE) and selection/filtering of traffic (OpenFlow) make part of this.
Network programmability will play a critical role in connecting the application developer world to the networking world and more important, it will provide the right interfaces at the business level for the SP to interact with the OTT world, opening a new era where the network will revert back to the revenue generation centre.
David Ward, CTO & Chief Architect, Platform Systems Division at Juniper presented at JavaOne conferece on that. See David Ward’s talk “Programmable Networks are Safe to Work”
At Juniper we are pleased to offer an extensive set of tools to engage the software developer community to the network programmability world, check out these resources below:
Juniper is introducing the new tools of the trade. Everything you need to create, build and develop the next big (network) idea. From platforms and applications to SDKs and APIs – it’s all here.
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