|Big Data and global networks: The future of high-performance applications and content delivery depend on Big Data and analytics
in global networking
|CEO, Growth Ventures
Rangu Salgame is Chief Executive Officer, Growth Ventures & Service Provider Group at Tata Communications. Based out of the New York area he leads a diverse portfolio of global businesses in carrier services, mobility, data center, cloud and media.
Rangu is a global business leader with operating experience in over 30 countries, having partnered with business and government leaders across diverse cultural environments, in developed as well as emerging markets. He has been a transformative growth leader throughout his career, having made market changing impacts at Cisco Systems, Verizon Communications and PwC.
As a senior executive at Cisco Systems, first as President of the India and Asia region and then as General Manager, Emerging Markets Group, Rangu architected and executed a bold strategy that transformed Cisco’s business in emerging markets, with a significant market share gain and accelerated revenue growth. Prior to Cisco Rangu was the CEO of Edgix, an Internet company in New York, with operations across US, Europe and Latin America. Earlier he was a senior executive at Verizon Communications in New York; over a ten year tenure he led organizations in technology, marketing and new ventures. He led Verizon’s foray into data and internet markets and as the President of the unit, built the business from the ground up to become a global leader. Before joining Verizon, he was a Management Consultant at PwC.
Rangu holds an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He also has MS and BE degrees in engineering.
Big Data by definition is data sets that are too large and complex to manipulate or interrogate with standard methods or tools and this is what we encounter when we examine new network KPIs and metrics with increased granularity. The results of which can inform the entire telecoms value chain from routing and security through to marketing and customer service while enabling the future of innovation in applications and content delivery
International communications networks are becoming increasingly complex. New applications and services are making more sophisticated demands on basic network infrastructure while service providers look for greater cost efficiency and performance.
It is a dynamic that shows both the potential and the challenges service providers face. They need to serve new demands for high-performance applications and high-quality content but must do it in a way that is sustainable and profitable.
Simply scaling-up bandwidth requires capex-intensive investments with no guarantees around future-proofing of the network. That is a short-term fix that will not necessarily set the service provider on a path to long-term innovations in applications and content services.
For service providers, this is about finding new ways to fine tune their network infrastructure to the bandwidth and performance demands of the future. It is network data and analytics that can unlock the potential of their global networks to serve this next wave of application and service development.
New transparency in the network with a focus on gaining insights from Big Data and analytics has the potential to shape a future that is rich in application innovation and growth in content services. In this way, the next killer app for service providers will not necessarily be something that they can sell to customers but it is increasingly looking like a way to harvest, manage and make sense of the data on their networks.
Of course, network monitoring and data mining exist today and service providers are using data to drive network efficiency, segment customers and inform decision- making. The real turning point comes when granular data is collected on a vast scale from the physical network layer through to the application layer globally, on-net and off-net that new opportunities arise.
Big Data by definition is data sets that are too large and complex to manipulate or interrogate with standard methods or tools and this is what we encounter when we examine new network KPIs and metrics with increased granularity. The results of which can inform the entire telecoms value chain from routing and security through to marketing and customer service while enabling the future of innovation in applications and content delivery.
A question of quality
When discussing Big Data in the communications industry, service providers often ask how this data is going to be directly monetized. It is easy to ask, “What is the ROI in Big Data?” but the answer is entirely down to service provider and the business outcome they are looking for. If a service provider focuses directly down on translating data into revenue then it might be missing the bigger picture.
Where Big Data and analytics can have a long-term impact is in offering customers greater levels of quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE) for increasingly demanding applications and content services.
Every year service providers develop and deliver new applications and content services. That has not slowed down but the potential for these applications and content services changes when new depths of data are leveraged in order to deliver enhanced QoS and QoE. It is the key to unlocking the potential of service provider networks and the delivery of new bandwidth-intensive services.
New innovation can occur when network traffic, usage patterns and performance are measured and analyzed with new granularity. Greater transparency end-to-end and at the application layer will allow for new applications to be created. This is a world beyond “Best Effort” with stricter SLAs and guarantees around not just network performance but application performance and end-user experience.
What is important is that service providers recognize that Big Data and analytics can address these business challenges. New levels of QoS and QoE are critical as global networking becomes more end user-centric.
How the end user experiences the application is what determines the success of the deployment. This is no longer just the case of serving financial services customers with strict latency and performance demands. It spans every kind of application and content service and particularly the rapidly emerging era of 4K ultra HD (UHD) video.
The turning point will come when service providers can use granular data about network traffic to optimize routing and deliver real-time QoS and QoE steering end-to-end with visibility into the application layer. Applications that require burstable bandwidth or unique policy and network management can be catered for with real-time insights and better yet, automation.
Increased automation of processes will eventually lead to self-optimizing networks, which function in real-time to best serve new application and content services. With the emergence of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) giving service providers visibility into each element of their networks, this becomes even more of an opportunity to drive efficiency and deliver better services to customers.
Automation fed by real-time data and insight will allow for the most complex and bandwidth-intensive applications to be catered for, expanding the scope of what services can be delivered globally.
In addition to this, service providers can leverage real-time analytics to detect fraud and determine the profitability of services and routing. This creates new cost-efficiencies that help to balance the tension between innovation and efficiency.
The most exciting aspect of Big Data and international networks is that the benefits can be felt on a global scale and have a real impact on the services that get developed in the future. This is an area with a lot of whitespace and unexplored territory.
A deep data future
The communications market of the future will become less about points of presence and more about how hard service providers can make their data work for them. While the geographic reach of service provider networks will naturally grow, it is the visibility they have into each layer of the network that will help them to differentiate their service offering and meet end-user demands.
The service providers that explore Big Data and the impact it can have on the QoS and QoE they offer customers will gain a competitive advantage. They will be the go- to providers for new applications and content services. The transition to IP and the IPX-enabled networks being deployed globally will only feed this with greater standardization of network technologies and more opportunities to interconnect over IP.
The challenge will be for service providers to recognize the opportunity in Big Data and analytics to shape their businesses and create the opportunities of the future. The service providers that harness this data will be leaders in global networking and set the stage for a diverse and dynamic applications and content of the future.