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Dialogic - Blog Page 6

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Facebook Looks At Telco Infrastructure From the Ground Up

Facebook is at it again. Back in 2011, Facebook formally kicked off the Open Compute Project (OCP) along with companies like Rackspace, Intel, and Goldman Sachs. The intent was to share ideas and figure out ways to build the most efficient computing infrastructure at the lowest possible cost. The various projects were set up in an open source model to help hardware with more efficient, more scalable and more flexible platforms for computing, storage, and networking.  There are now more than 150 member companies such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and recently this year service providers AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG., EE, and Verizon all joined the project as well.

At the recent BCE event in Austin, Facebook was pushing something relatively new: the Telecom Infra Project, or TIP.The stated goal of this project was to “reimagine the traditional approach to building and deploying telecom network infrastructure.” TIP is building on the open, community-led OCP as a model to drive innovation into the traditional telecommunications infrastructure, and has established inaugural projects in three basic areas:

  • Access – The focus here is on system integration and site optimization, access unbundling and media friendly solutions to more cost effectively serve difficult-to-access rural and urban areas and identify methods to improve throughput and the user experience by moving compute and storage resources closer to the network edge
  • Backhaul – Open Optical Packet Transport and high frequency autonomic access activities are the focus of this project that aims to define a Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) open packet transport architecture that avoids implementation lock-ins and a lightweight and extensible software stack for routing, addressing, and security in packet switched IP networks
  • Core and Management – Core network optimization and greenfield network solutions are addressed here by deconstructing and disaggregating traditional core network bundled components and evolving telecom networks from the ground-up to be more efficient and IT-oriented.

I spoke with Hans-Juergen Schmidtke, Director of Engineering Infrastructure Foundation at Facebook, who gave a keynote at BCE in which he emphasized that Facebook did not want to be viewed as a telco. He added that that TIP was started in order to reimagine telco infrastructure, and one of the goals of the project would be to build infrastructure - hardware and software - for the telecom industry and change the concept of innovation in a telco environment.

The Facebook initiated Telecom Infra Project is modeled on the successful OCP to drive innovation and openness into telecom hardware and software infrastructure

Service Providers and equipment vendors have started to jump on board. EE, SK Telecom, Deutsch Telekom, Globe Telecom, Intel, and Nokia are all initial members. So it seems that the same disruptive approach to the computing and data center architecture is being applied to telecom infrastructure. How will this align with what is going on in the ETSI NFV, OpenStack, 3GPP and other SDOs and open source activities that impact infrastructure functionality and end-to-end service orchestration? Does it even affect them? What innovation is lacking at the communications infrastructure and application layer that this project thinks it needs to address for hyperscale data center environments? The fact that operators are jumping on board along with major players from the vendor community tends to lend credence to this movement. What do you think? Tweet us at @Dialogic and let us know.


Publish Date: June 9, 2016

Most Forgotten App Development Best Practice

On April 19, Dialogic’s Alan Percy hosted a webinar on “Application Development Best Practices.”  To listen to the webinar, please click here.  While I was listening to that webinar, I had my Product Management hat on.  In my blogs, I typically write about what’s going on in the market, but today will be different. I’m going to get into my product management persona for a bit.

Everything they talked about in the webinar, such as using an Open Architecture, looking towards the future, and having mobile in mind is excellent advice.  However, no matter how you cut it, one big item is understanding the requirements before you start.  Even in an agile development method, one needs to understand the requirements.  Agile doesn’t mean you just go for it but the team discusses the requirements and prepares for what they need to do.  That is going to save you time and money in the long run.

At any rate, go forth and develop.  Just remember to think a little bit about the requirements before you start.


Publish Date: June 7, 2016

The Rise of HD Voice

With the Global Mobile Suppliers Association reporting a total of 494 LTE-based mobile data networks commercially deployed across 162 countries, it is reasonable to expect that rollout of closely associated voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services will accelerate within the next few years.  And as these VoLTE deployments accelerate, increasing numbers of end users will experience first-hand a remarkable improvement in the clarity of voice conversations along with an improvement in the ability to understand highly accented speech.  These advantages are a direct result of VoLTE’s use of High Definition Voice (HD Voice) digital media formats. 

In the near future, HD Voice will likely become a significant differentiator for mobile service providers, especially as market competition intensifies.  In fact, voice quality plays such a critical role in mobile networks that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) organization has standardized a newer Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) media format that offers full compatibility with existing HD Voice formats while providing an even greater sense of conversation “naturalness.”  Accordingly, with time-to-market and innovation as two keys to business success, it is not unreasonable to forecast that cutting-edge LTE service providers will likely deploy this new “being there” EVS voice technology in the not too distant future. 

In the immediate term, the global rollout of VoLTE services will force mobile operators to reevaluate their end-to-end connectivity strategies, and to scrutinize the capabilities of their interconnect partners, both nationally and internationally.  When HD Voice calls are placed wholly within a single IMS VoLTE network (between two HD Voice capable handsets), both parties on the call experience a “High Definition Voice” conversation.  However, if an HD Voice call originates in one VoLTE network and terminates in a different VoLTE network, then whether or not this conversation takes place in HD Voice depends on the capabilities of any associated interconnect network operators, and more specifically, on their ability to support end-to-end HD Voice sessions.  For this reason, the coming deployments of HD Voice service by mobile operators will create new interconnect opportunities.  By differentiating with end-to-end HD Voice connectivity and transcoding services, interconnect carriers will be able to meet the needs of VoLTE users for both HD Voice connectivity and seamless interworking with disparate user devices such as webRTC soft clients.

Quoting from a May 2016 i3forum report, “60% of interconnect carriers still have over half of their international interconnect using TDM.”  Over the next few years, as more mobile operators require end-to-end connectivity for their VoLTE HD Voice services, interconnect carriers should anticipate decreased demand for lower cost TDM links and increased demand for all-IP end-to-end HD Voice interconnect solutions.  The conclusion here is that a compelling growth opportunity exists for agile network operators that support carrier grade IP interconnect solutions and enable HD Voice conversations.

As a key network element providing secure real-time communication sessions and IP-to-IP transcoding at interconnect borders, Session Border Controllers will remain critically important to every network operator’s success, both today and in the coming future.  To learn how Dialogic Session Border Controllers bridge the gap between COTS and cloud with both appliance-based and fully virtualized solutions, simply click below and download a Dialogic BorderNet Session Border Controller Solution Brief. 


Publish Date: June 6, 2016

Cisco VNI Report on Mobile Video

The past few weeks, I have mentioned the February 2016 Cisco VNI report to make some points about WiFi.  However, the Cisco VNI report also has some other very interesting information that I wanted to point out in the next few blogs. 

Today, I want to make some points about mobile video. As readers of this blog know, I have been very bullish about the potential of mobile video.  3G was the technology that enabled mobile video, but there were clearly limitations (the spinning circle became pretty ubiquitous to those of us that tried mobile video on 3G) and people used it only if they were committed to it.  But with WiFi and 4G, bandwidth availability and improved speeds have enabled video to be similar to a wired home experience.  And with larger screens, the viewing experience is also better.  As such, it’s no surprise that the Cisco VNI reports that mobile video traffic accounted for 55 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2015, and that by 2020 video will account for 75 percent of total mobile data traffic.

What video are people watching?  By all accounts, streaming in one form or another, ranging from YouTube and Netflix, accounts for most of the video.  And we’re seeing more and more video advertisements as well, which isn’t surprising considering we see advertisements all the time if we go online from our wired home computer.  That model is tried and true.  And while streaming will ultimately continue to dominate the mobile video space, video value-added services are becoming more and more prevalent.  Services like video chatting, video messaging, making video conference calls / having video collaboration calls, and video IVRs are finding their way.


Publish Date: May 31, 2016

The Mobile Network Operator’s Cry for LTE Services is Answered by Visual IVR

Services, Services, Services…  you can practically hear the cry of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) all over the world pleading for new (or even old) services that can run on their shiny new LTE networks.  Of course, this is nothing new, as this repeated cry for services is generated with the roll-out of every new generation of network (e.g. 2G, 3G), because MNOs are well aware that the serious payoff comes primarily from running  new services, which in turn can justify their investment. 

FYI, in this blog I won’t address what over-the-top (OTT) services are doing to the bottom line of MNOs, which goes without saying is why new services offered by the MNOs are so critical.

One service that is ideal for LTE is Visual IVR, or Visual Interactive Voice Response (different than Video IVR).  At this point I know what a lot of you are thinking…IVR is dead, so why resuscitate it for a new network?  My short answer is that Visual IVR is not your parent’s IVR.

FYI, in this blog I also won’t address the fact that IVR is not dead, but rather it is one of those unique applications that is continuously morphing itself into new services.  For example, Visual IVR extends the capabilities of the IVR by transforming it into a collaborative web-based voice and visual mobile application for smartphones, tablets, and computers.

As the name clearly implies, Visual IVR adds a visual interface to the audio-only IVR by visually representing an IVR menu on the caller’s smartphone or computer.  What makes Visual IVR ideal for LTE is the need for speed since the visual content is web-based (unlike Video IVR where the content is streaming together with the audio).  In many cases, LTE also provides the added ability to simultaneously manage a voice call and data to a network.  In short, Visual IVR enables the caller to make choices both visually and audibly by syncing the audio and visual portions of the call, and LTE’s rollout helps make this happen.  In fact, Visual IVR not only visually represents the menu, but also allows for more content to be pushed out to the caller. Content such as documents and visual media.

Visual IVR brings with it a lot of benefits…

  • Increased selection accuracy lowers average handling times/call duration (visual navigation is faster than listening to audio prompts).
  • Intuitive visual navigation improves first call self-service resolution rates better than speech recognition.
  • Information rich input allows for the easy collection of complex alpha-numeric data better than speech recognition.
  • Simultaneous interactive two-way voice and data interaction reduces the need for agent involvement.
  • Omni-channel experience enables the caller to start a chat or text session, send an e-mail, request a callback, or transfer to an agent.
  • Secure communication channel for data exchange to and from the IVR eliminates data theft.
  • Sharing visual content during conversations can boost comprehension and recall up to 600% (John Medina, Brain Rules).

As you can see, Visual IVR is an ideal service for MNOs to run on their new LTE networks.  It is simple to use yet offers callers great benefits, especially when it comes to Contact Center services such as self-service customer care.  That said, as is always the case, the success of any service, including Visual IVR, comes through the MNO’s knowledge of their subscribers and how they best want their information delivered on this new and shiny network.


Publish Date: May 27, 2016

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