2011 marks the 10th anniversary of Carrier Ethernet services launched by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). The technology has penetrated deep into global communication businesses, both as a service and as a network infrastructure cornerstone, with the entire business ecosystem investing in this technology. Here are a few statistics that show just how deep the services have been integrated.
More than a decade ago when mobile infrastructure companies, service providers, and device makers started working on Location Based Services (LBS), analysts predicted LBS as "the next big thing” in the mobile services market. Operators had expected to increase their average revenue per user (ARPU) by deploying location services. Network infrastructure vendors made significant investments on increasing the accuracy of a user’s location using various technologies like GPS, AGPS, and cell-IDs. And, application vendors and device makers were pretty excited about the possibilities of LBS. But, "the next big thing” never happened.
In a talk earlier this year to employees, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop asked a question that many were probably afraid to answer truthfully, given how Nokia is struggling to combat the iPhone. As BusinessWeek described it:
Apple's World Wide Developers Conference keynote last week will be remembered for two things: the bloodbath of disrupted developers and apps it left in its wake, and that it was as important for cloud services as the iPod was for digital music, and that the iPhone was for smartphones.
Traditionally, telcos have sold “communication” as the application over an underlying “connectivity” capability. However, the advent of an all-IP telecom network has forced the telcos to open up their “connectivity” capability. Today, they sell both “connectivity” as well as “communication.” But, the market has been smart enough to quickly commoditize the telcos’ “connectivity” service, and today, connectivity has become the commoditized infrastructure for a buzzing marketplace camped on the Cloud (and the Internet in general).
The message on the second day of Mobile World Congress from the heads of AT&T, Vodafone, Telefonica, China Mobile and American Movil was unambiguous: competition, open-ness and cross-carrier interoperability are what is needed to take mobile to the next level. (Perhaps in the spirit of interoperability, all five gentlemen were wearing blue ties, mostly with dots.)