Stefano Pileri Issue: Europe I 2016
Article no.: 7
Topic: Why operators need to act now to take advantage of the huge opportunities the cloud and mobile synergy is creating
Author: Stefano Pileri
Title: CEO
Organisation: Italtel
PDF size: 236KB

About author

Stefano Pileri is the CEO of Italtel

Since September 2010 he is Italtel Chief Executive Officer with the task of leading the company in financial restructuring following a new industrial strategy based on the development of the Network and System Integration In Europe and Latin America with a strong component of Engineering, Research and Development in the Telecommunications Market, Enterprise and Public Administration Market.

Before becoming CEO of Italtel, he has spent his entire career in Telecom Italia where, until the end of 2009, he was the Chief Technology Officer and Director of Technology & Operations. Reported to him the divisions Open Access Network, Information Technology and Real Estate, with the aim of increasing the transparency and quality of the network, develop innovation in services offered to the enterprises, public administration and families and then continue along the path of efficiency and cost reduction.

He has received several international awards. Among these, the Tele Management Forum Award, the International Engineering Consortium Award in the USA and EUCIP Champion.

Stefano Pileri graduated in Electronic Engineering in 1980 and holds a Masters in Applied Electromagnetics. His thesis, in Microwave Technology, was published in the IEEE Proceedings on Communication.

Article abstract

So far, the telco environment has remained fairly traditional but as more and more data, both professional and personal, is moved into the cloud, the risk of cyber-attacks is continuing to grow. In order for the cloud and mobility synergy to reach its ultimate level, operators need to accelerate their approach and competences and react to the situation.

The need for action from operators becomes even more pressing when we consider that in the not-too-distant future it will not just be smartphones and tablets accessing the cloud but also things like connected cars and smart meters. In this scenario, where all applications have devices that access the cloud, a cloud that just stores data is no longer good enough. Instead, we need to have a more powerful and more distributed cloud which can manage a much larger amount of data and greater number of applications.
 

Full Article

As technology continues to transform our lives and the way we communicate, there are two stand-out trends which promise to keep on growing – cloud and mobility.

The increase of mobile devices in the enterprise, combined with their integration with business processes, has increased IT support demands. Gartner projects that 40 per cent of service desk calls will be driven by mobility by 2018. The same is true for cloud adoption which is also growing at a phenomenal rate. IT spending on public cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business Process as a service (BPaaS) is growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 18% through 2018 – more than six times the growth rate of IT spending generally (2.7%) over the same time period. According to Gartner, 75% of organizations use public cloud services today and 78% plan to increase their investment in cloud services in the next three years.

Traditionally associated with enterprises and the workplace, cloud has irrevocably altered companies’ IT Systems, taking core activities, information and applications out of physical, often incumbent, hardware and into a virtualized space, kick-starting the ‘as a service’ era. Meanwhile, mobility has also seen huge growth, particularly in the consumer sphere, where the rapid rise of smartphones and tablets means people have become accustomed to accessing the day-to-day content that makes up their lives anywhere, anytime – whether it be friends, photos, calendars or correspondence.

But, of course, these two trends are not happening in silo. In enterprises, certain roles have always required mobility and are increasingly taking advantage of the cloud which enables this. Sales teams, for example, spend more time at customers’ premises than in the office, while field technicians, by definition, work in the field where they often require access to their company’s core information and applications. Smartphones, and to some extent tablets, provide the interfaces required to access these through the cloud. This same crossover can also be seen in the consumer market, where personal data is increasingly being stored in the cloud and accessed on the move from various devices.

With the crossover set to grow in the future, are mobile devices and the cloud ready to handle the new and different applications that will utilize them – or are there improvements which need to be made before we can take full advantage of the potential the cloud and mobility synergy promises?

The future outlook
In order to answer this question, we must first look at how the convergence of cloud and mobility is likely to develop in the future. With the ties between mobile devices and cloud growing stronger by the minute, the synergy between the two will accelerate further as the Internet of Things (IoT) concept begins to be realized.

In the healthcare market, for example, we are beginning to see wearable sensors which measure people’s parameters, such as blood pressure and heart rate, in order to communicate this information to doctors and nurses so appropriate action can be taken if required. Here, the mobility is provided by the wearable sensors, while the cloud plays its part by hosting and storing patient data and statistics.

In other words, IoT – whether in healthcare, agriculture, home automation, energy efficiency or manufacturing – will be a big driver which will further promote cloud and mobility synergy, as well as take full advantage of the smartphone trend. Gartner expects global sales of mobile phones to end-users to grow from 1.9 billion units in 2015 to 2.1 billion units by 2019. By 2020, Internet-connected things will outnumber humans with a ratio of four-to-one, creating new dynamics for marketing, sales and customer service. Consequently, our industries will have a completely new way of operating.

Let’s get virtual
In terms of how this trend affects our work, we have already seen a huge shift. As a company which has traditionally helped operators and enterprises optimize their communications platforms – namely voice and video – we have been a key enabler of the growing synergy between cloud and mobility. We were one of the first players in market to evolve products for operators, like our Session Border Controllers, for the cloud through Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), replacing embedded hardware and software with real-time software that runs on cloud platforms.

Vodafone Germany is just one operator which was taken advantage of this approach. Vodafone’s NFV and SDN strategy, called Telco over Cloud, and its implementation in Vodafone Germany, which we supported via a partnership with worldwide IT leader Cisco, was a large and ambitious network evolution program. The initiative saw the migration of the German operator’s fixed legacy networks and the deployment of innovative services onto a common virtualized infrastructure empowered by VCE technology. This included the migration of six classless proprietary-based soft-switches serving more than two million SIP subscribers onto three Vodafone Data Centers spread in the country.

We have done the same thing in the enterprise world, where traditional telephony equipment has been sidelined in favor of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) platforms. Many large enterprises now utilize this technology in both private clouds – provided ‘as a service’ by telcos – and public clouds from OTT players, like Amazon and Apple.

To give an example, we have delivered UC&C solutions for very large Enterprises in Energy and Banking, as well as for smaller dynamic companies. For instance, Pasta Rummo – which was founded in Benevento in 1846 and now supplies its products to more than 45 countries – chose our Collaboration At Work 2.0 solution. At the core of the solution, based on Italtel NetMatch SBC, is Italtel Embrace, a platform for WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) with enhanced functionality which delivers unified communications services, audio and video conferencing, instant messaging and desktop sharing, with the only requirement being the most common web browser. The solution also incorporates Voice over IP, allowing reliable and integrated communication between fixed and mobile devices, such as PCs, smartphones and tablets.

The main benefit of this approach is economical, with the total cost of ownership reduced by between 35 and 40 per cent. Customer proximity and productivity is also increased, while time to market for new services is reduced.

The next steps
To prepare for the era which will come as a direct result of the growth of IoT, we have also spent time researching and developing a full cloud-oriented IoT platform which collects data from sensors. From this point of view, the initial steps to realize the future outlook has already begun, so what is left to do to join the dots between where we are now and reaching it?

While there is nothing particularly missing from the picture, improvements are needed. The first and perhaps biggest issue still to be addressed is the matter of security and network capabilities. It is here, in the core network and cloud architecture, that operators can play a very important role in completing the coming together of cloud and mobility. So far, the telco environment has remained fairly traditional but as more and more data, both professional and personal, is moved into the cloud, the risk of cyber-attacks is continuing to grow. In order for the cloud and mobility synergy to reach its ultimate level, operators need to accelerate their approach and competences and react to the situation.

The need for action from operators becomes even more pressing when we consider that in the not-too-distant future it will not just be smartphones and tablets accessing the cloud but also things like connected cars and smart meters. In this scenario, where all applications have devices that access the cloud, a cloud that just stores data is no longer good enough. Instead, we need to have a more powerful and more distributed cloud which can manage a much larger amount of data and greater number of applications.

Conclusion
The benefits of cloud and mobility synergy are numerous and when applied to industries like agriculture, energy and health could be even more far reaching. While we are not far off this vision, there needs to be an evolution of the network architecture which moves the cloud from being a centralized system into an edge cloud which encompasses every aspect of both the business and consumer spheres. Only then can we take full advantage of the virtually unlimited access to storage and on demand processing the cloud and mobility synergy promises.