At The New IP Event in San Jose, Calif., on February 19, service providers and suppliers answered a burning question: What is the New IP? They debated and discussed buzzwords like NFV, SDN, IoT, open source, cyber security, OpenConfig and more, but most came to one conclusion: the New IP is not about technology. It's about delivering simplicity, visibility and control.
Of course, technology plays a role. Virtualization of network functions and software-defined networking will make the magic happen, but the New IP mindset has to be about the big picture, according to speakers from Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco and Ericsson.
By getting wrapped up in the complexity of the technology, service providers and suppliers are missing the point, according to Basil Alwan, president of IP routing and transport, Alcatel-Lucent. "We get too focused on technology and not on what's going to make a difference to customers," he said. "Customers really crave control and visibility into their own services. If you can deliver that at speed, you will be surprised at how the market will change."
It's true that the industry is at a pivotal moment and all players have to be confident about what they are trying to achieve. Service providers need to be driven by end-user requirements, noted Alwan. "There's a ton of complexity in the network, but the thing that is the most urgent is focusing on service evolution and velocity," he said. "We're going to have to embrace complexity because it's how you do simplicity in the end."
Simplicity directly relates to customer experience which is "king" in the New IP world, according to Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president, Service Provider Business, Products and Solutions, Cisco. Customer demands have shifted, he said. Every consumer has become digital and the number of connected devices each consumer owns will continue to increase. As a result service providers must be agile and able to deliver services, workload and network on demand.
"The network frontier has shifted from outdoor to indoor. It's about applications and services moving around," said Ahuja. "The job of network is about connecting the user to content dynamically in the best possible way."
Delivering services dynamically and quickly directly affects the bottom line, said Siva Ananmalay, head, IP Router Product Line, Ericsson. According to the company's research, getting services to market just one month ahead of competitors boosts revenue by 2% and subscribers by 1%. "Launching a service one year ahead of your competitors equals a fourfold increase."
Veteran analyst Michael Howard of Infonetics added another wrinkle to his personal definition of the New IP: automation. In his comments, Howard said it's important that all processes be automated so that network operators can be more efficient at turning up -- and turning down -- new services more quickly and at lower cost.
Of course, connecting users to content requires industry unification, strong ecosystems, collaboration and simplification -- all part of the New IP. While Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, said that there are definite risk factors to the New IP -- government interference, technology dictatorships, standards splits, Wall Street and cyber security -- ultimately the business opportunity created by the New IP "is good for everyone on the planet."
Stay tuned to the New IP this week for more analysis from The New IP Event, including keynote videos and service provider interviews.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP