Monitoring the digital transformation in mobile

John English, senior manager, Service Provider Solutions

Data is big business. As the saying goes, information is power, and this has never been truer than with traditionally hardware-focused companies shifting towards a software-based model.

This digital transformation is happening across the board and resulting in businesses the world over scrabbling to get a better grip on what’s happening on their networks. As a result of this transition, the last few years have seen the likes of IBM and Oracle hoovering up application and cloud-focused technology providers, driven by a need to offer end-to-end services to their customers.

Cisco’s $3.7 billion acquisition of AppDynamics is yet another example and has become the latest in a long line of major tech brands betting big on application and network management technology in the age of IP. It’s predominantly been a change we’re seeing in the enterprise space, but it’s holding big implications for the telecoms sector too, says John English, senior manager, Service Provider Solutions, NETSCOUT.

The current state of play

Underpinning digital transformation is the global conversion across all sectors towards an information-driven economy where data is the new currency and almost all aspects of business are rooted in software.

The shift experienced by the telco industry has included the move to 4G, which has supported and encouraged data-hungry applications and high-bandwidth traffic. This has been great for the end user who has been able to experience much faster speeds and better connectivity. For the operator, however, it’s posed a problem.

Faced with the dual challenge of slow business growth and on-going disruption to their core services by OTT players and new market entrants, managing mobile data explosion and network expansion, while providing a consistent subscriber experience, has created a disconnect between the significant investments operators have made into 4G LTE and the decline in revenues they’ve seen thereafter.

Fortunately there’s light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the broader digital ecosystem and the new commercial opportunities that are opening up to operators, although this brings with it even greater expectations from the network.

The future will be virtualised

Yet proprietary hardware alone is simply not capable, or economic, when it comes to supporting 5G, meaning the deployment of this technology will only be possible via network functions virtualisation (NFV). It’s already recognised that NFV holds the key to simplified operations, increased automation, and the enhanced flexibility and agility of existing systems by creating a “quick to fail” environment where new business models can be set up and running in minutes rather than days or weeks.

All hail virtualisation then? Not exactly. While costs are reduced and capacity increased, network visibility is compromised. Operators have always relied on network monitoring and troubleshooting tools to identify issues affecting subscribers but it’s become all the more essential within a virtualised environment, particularly if operators are looking to introduce new digital services.

Addressing the problem

Its clear network performance and subscriber experience needs to be running at peak levels at all times. To ensure this, monitoring and service assurance also needs to be continuous, providing the operator with both real-time and historic network insights.

From a server in a data centre to a physical base station, all aspects of the network need to be accessible and capable of being monitored at a granular level to keep track of digital service performance. Everything is interconnected, and when 5G arrives and the IoT becomes ubiquitous, there will be no margin for error. These connections need to be faultless and operators must be able to track all the data crossing their networks at all times.

The challenge, therefore, is to get in front of network problems before they become major issues. This depends on having the right tools in place, and brings us back full circle to M&A activity we’ve seen in this past month and throughout 2016.

We can expect more of the same as we look towards this year’s MWC and beyond, with more players than ever looking to cross the divide between the enterprise and mobile sectors and address the network visibility challenges that are commonplace between them.

The author of this blog is John English, senior manager, Service Provider Solutions, NETSCOUT

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow


IoT interoperability – Living the dream

Posted on: September 28, 2022

With the arrival of cost-effective Satellite IoT (SatIoT), Systems Integrators are rushing to meet the huge pent-up demand for global solutions that allow asset tracking across the 85% of the planet not covered by cellular networks. They are building fully connected IoT solutions, where mobile assets can be tracked as they move, connecting to an

Read more

Watch the MWC Las Vegas Keynote Livestream on IoT Now

Posted on: September 28, 2022

Catch the top keynote addresses live on IoT Now

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox