You never know where great are ideas are going to come from, and today at the largest gathering of mobile technology companies in the world (Mobile World Congress 2017), Tata Communications proved the point when they took the wraps of a stealth business incubated over the last year as part of their “Shape the Future” innovation program.
Tata Communications, part of the massive Tata group, founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, today comprising over 100 independent operating companies across six continents, has recently defined itself as “a leading global provider of A New World of Communications.” The company boasts a global network including a Tier-1 IP network with connectivity to more than 240 countries and territories, 400 PoPs, and nearly 1 million square feet of data center and colocation space.
The company is apparently not standing still, despite its major asset base, as they revealed today that NetFoundry is a platform by which enterprise developers can “spin up” private data networks they claim are as secure as traditional private IP networks (MPLS, VPN), and use software to ensure quality of experience on an app-by-app basis.
They seem to be heading in the direction of providing a platform for creating private networks in the same way companies like Twilio and Kandy provide a platform for creating and delivering messaging “over the top” (OTT) with enough control that despite relying on “best efforts Internet” connect humans and humans and humans and things.
Where NetFoundry differs is that they are not selling the collaboration or IoT solution, rather they are making it possible for developers to “embed the network” into their apps.
“Leveraging APIs, web consoles and standard DevOps tools such as Jenkins and Ansible, instead of proprietary network management tools, enterprises are able to deploy and manage software defined networks (SDN) in the same manner in which they spin up virtual machines,” according to their announcement.
Galeal Zino, founder of NetFoundry, seems to know a thing or two about platforms after helping develop the platform powering the world’s largest VoIP network as part of the ITXC startup, developing global web, WebRTC, enterprise video chat and unified communications services, and being granted at least seven patents.
“As we built platforms that leveraged WebRTC, it occurred to us that there had to be a way to bring the same kind of tools and abstraction for developers to leverage the Internet, but yet get the consistency and predictability required by many real-time enterprise applications with the security required by applications in verticals such as healthcare and finance,” Zino said.
Galeal Zino, Founder, NetFoundry
Zino, who was also leading IoT projects within the engineering community at Tata Communications, pointed out that “IoT looked easy for a few years, with a lot of disruptive and useful applications being invented that really couldn’t operate securely over the public Internet. The Mirai attacks a few months ago drove home the point that IoT applications that run over the Internet are extremely vulnerable to being hacked, whether to disrupt directly, or to use endpoints as part of a botnet in large-scale network attacks.”
“Our platform enables developers and partners to embed secure, reliable networking inside their solution stacks…and enables enterprises to rapidly take IT, IoT and cloud apps from prototype to production, while meeting the most stringent enterprise requirements for security and performance.”
The NetFoundry venture has been in the works for twelve months, has already been deployed in Fortune 100 company WANs, and is working with top tier technology partners they intend to announce over the next few months. They did reveal two technology partners, Dispersive Technologies for Virtual Network Function security software, and Sonus Networks for virtualized session border control.
Integron, a company offering managed services to healthcare providers who require a high level of security for compliance and performance for digital health collaboration announced a partnership with NetFoundry. VeloCloud, a leading SD-WAN provider, also announced today that their NetFoundry interoperability helps provide better security and performance for their customers utilizing cloud services.
Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Innovation Officer, Tata Communications
Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Innovation Officer at Tata Communications said in the announcement, “The Shape the Future programme is testament to our belief that innovation can happen at scale in large organisations. In a short space of time, NetFoundry has quickly built-up its APIs, channel and partner ecosystem and credentials to show how it can enable businesses to solve their networking challenges in today’s digital world and also extend software developer innovation by abstracting them from the underlying network.”
NetFoundry has been demonstrating their platform at MWC, as well as sharing solutions being created with DellEMC, V5 Systems, Wireless Glue, and Esprida – prototypes of IoT integrations which bring together infrastructure, endpoints, software and control applications that are all connected over NetFoundry Internet overlay networks.