Anyone who remembers the Orb will remember their piece lovely atmosphere “Little Fluffy Clouds”. He spent a bit but had an American voice fey lovely place and was a calming trance inducing kind of way. In fact, the news endlessly about the clouds that are forming in the sky telecommunications arguably similarly soporific. There are so many clouds; it’s a miracle that we can see the sun at all. However, there is something really interesting going on here. Not only are telecom media avidly following the news of the formation of clouds, but is seeping into the media, as the recent interest of the national media in the UK shows.
Today, any hosted service is described as being in the cloud. We are told that cloud services are both an opportunity and a threat to the telecommunications industry. On one hand, cloud services enable telecommunications companies to increase the range of applications and services they offer to their customers. Furthermore, the advent of cloud technology allows calls “over the top” providers to offer services that compete with those of the telcos. This has opened an intense debate that touches on a number of areas, from value-added services, data protection and conservation and for the delicate area of net neutrality.
So what is the cloud? Well, in a way that has been around for a while. A couple of years ago they were using a slightly different nomenclature – remember “anything as a service”? Before we talk about “hosted” services (some still do) and there in the distant past the buzz was about ASP or Application Service Provision. Whatever we call it, it seems that the cloud is reaching maturity and is sure to be an interesting – and sometimes confusing topic.
Of course, it helps to define what we mean by a cloud-based service. For our purposes, we believe that there is a clear line to be drawn and is illustrated by the case of classical value-added services. While cloud services is the term used to refer to the memory and processing power that is available through Internet connections, has also begun to be used to include more traditional hosted services. What was before IP Centrex has become, then the voice as a service and now another cloud service. It’s the same with many other hosting solutions – Fax and conferences are just two examples. Are all value added services suddenly cloud services? Well, yes and no. Depends on where to draw the line.
We believe that the line is the boundary of the telecommunications network. As soon as it breaks and services interact via IP, then we can more accurately be called the implementation of a cloud service. Of course, that is an arbitrary judgment, but it seems reasonable for now.
Simple text messaging can live in the network, but is not generally an IP service, though of course it will be a day. For now, in our taxonomy, let’s leave it as classical VAS. And it really is a telecommunications service, such as messaging platforms classics not often interact with things that live outside of telecommunications networks. But combined with instant messaging, group chat capabilities, and an address book based on the network and you definitely have a communications service based in the cloud. In fact, you have something that looks a lot like RCS!
So it seems that many traditional telecoms VAS offerings are evolving into what we might today generally based services within the cloud. This is interesting because it suggests a link between the (telco) service offering traditional and non-traditional offering, exclusively based on cloud OTT community, which is a happy coincidence, as we will be speaking on a panel on this topic at the IMS World Forum in April. But more of that anon. We believe there is significant opportunity for telcos to offer capabilities to complement the capabilities that exist in the cloud telco and not vice versa. It is a time of great change.