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Telecom Convergence to be driven by Service Delivery Platforms (SDP)

Jan. 04, 2011 4:17 PM ETVZ
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What is a Service Delivery Platform?
SDPs can be loosely defined as a standards based framework that facilitates the design, development, implementation and management of services required to run the operations of network services providers. The services could range from the basic voice connectivity to the state-of-the-art rich multimedia services. The most critical value-addition offered by the SDP methodology lies in its ability to abstract controlling parameters such as location, media control, integration and others.
Need for Growth
All Carriers have hit a growth plateau with both voice and data becoming increasingly commoditized. Competition is based on pricing, which forces decreased margins for telcos. Wireline providers are hurt by emerging competitors such as Google, Skype, Vonage, etc. Telcos see potential revenue and margin growth coming from converged services including the so called triple play (wireline, wireless, and TV). Whereas today this represents primarily only price bundling, SDP affords the opportunity for unique services through converging bearer services with enhancements from other channels. In addition, telecos see the potential for enterprise services creating new opportunities for application growth.
Wireline and Wireless Convergence
One of the main drivers for SDP deployment is wireless and wireline convergence. One of the main driving factors is the desire for traditional wireline features on wireless and vice versa.
Convergence in General
However, convergence is more than just a cross-over between wireline
and wireless feature/functionality. Convergence comprises a variety of
factors including:
  • Convergence of technologies: IP is the common network protocol
  • Convergence of networks: wireless and wireline networks sharing nodes
  • Convergence of access: handsets that access more than one network
  • Convergence of services: features that follow the user across networks
  • Convergence of content: access the same content across multiple networks
  • Convergence of revenue: user’s demand is divided across fixed and mobile
  • Convergence of control: customer control over service provider features
  • Convergence is therefore about a lot more than voice. Convergence is
  • about applications and service integration and blending across new dimensions of usability and value.
Convergence is also about leveraging information, content, enablers, and applications such as:
  • Information – Example: End-user contact information
  • Content – Example: Optimizing content across the three screens
  • Enablers – Example: Utilize presence and location
  • Applications – Example: Caller-ID on the TV

Targeted Service Offerings
With the ability to launch new service more quickly without the parallel launch of new support processes, the telco can take a chance on launching more targeting niche services. Each offering does not have to be a blockbuster, but new revenue growth can be nurtured among an extensive set of niche offerings completed at lower cost. Telcos can more easily justify the smaller incremental investment to target a new feature idea towards a smaller, perhaps more non-traditional market group.
SDP and Service Oriented Architecture
It is important to understand that SDP is based on Service Oriented
Architecture (SOA), which is an arrangement of Information Technology
(IT) services that have the following characteristics:
  • Loose coupling
  • Standardized interfaces
  • Consumer-provider relationship
SOA is a collection of services. Individual services represent the bare minimum in functionality. Individual service does not require references from other services about its context and state; it is independent of all other services. These services are combined to design and develop complex applications and functionalities. At the basic level, the services are fairly static; that their character is rigid and unlikely to change. Thus the services are said to represent the architecture at the very atomic level.
Network Operators and SDP
The companies that should pay attention to SDP as a means of convergence and enabling new applications are the tier one wireless carriers.  Those carriers in the United States are: AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, and T-Mobile USA.  Those companies that most effectively leverage SDP deployment and related applications can enjoy a significant market advantage.
Recommended Reading
We recommend the following publications for additional information about Service Delivery Platform technology, related technologies, and related market opportunities.
Understanding SDP and Related Technologies
The Mind Commerce publication, Understanding Service Delivery Platforms (SDP) , will help the reader understand the basics of SDP as well as more advanced areas such as workflow management, content publishing and management. It is a must read for anyone considering deployment of SDP-based applications and/or rationalizing the network to become more streamlined in terms of application development and service delivery.
Topic Areas
  • Evolution and business drivers for SDP
  • Implementation of SDP in existing networks
  • Evaluation recommendations for SDP for Mobile Operators
  • SDP architecture, workflow management, and content publishing and Management
For more information, see:
Also see:
This publication will help the reader understand the market opportunity for deploying applications on SDP systems including market forecast, potential applications, vendor review and more.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

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