Have we become so good at working together as an industry over the last decade or two that our ecosystems are evolving just like our networks into more and more software? Yes.
At the turn of the century, the ecosystems we needed were very often built around hardware. Boxes needed to talk to other boxes, boxes needed to fit physically within frames and rack and within data centers that were filling up with the old form factors. Blade servers started to solve for the need for higher processing power in a smaller footprint, and even as the servers themselves were becoming standardized, the value of ecosystems in the “physical layers” became even more valuable.
One visualization of the massive mobile technology ecosystem from Abstractionshift using the TAIC approach.
As mobile exploded, the ecosystem expanded to include devices, and the security of those devices. As mobile applications exploded, the mobile ecosystem began to include everything from app stores to mobile device management solutions.
Throughout all this, IP networks became increasingly interconnected with the PSTN, even as fixed line traffic continued to decrease, and “fixed mobile convergence” became a buzzword on the ecosystem front.
But enough backtracking!
Today, as an industry we can be proud to have done a great job “playing well together” to help Communication Service Providers build the “networks of the future” that are keeping the world connected today.
And today – new ecosystems are emerging in the software domain, revolutionary new ecosystems that are thriving as “the cloud” thrives – are growing as more Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are getting a foothold.
From IHS Infonetics, Top Drivers for NFV Initiatives
Software networks (NFV and SDN) are quite often a cost-savings measure, and they needed and will continue to need ecosystems lead by massive vendors to accelerate that side of the value equation.
But what’s most interesting to me, having literally lived through and contributed to all these ecosystem initiatives, are the Real Time Communications (RTC) ecosystems which have been made possible through new approaches including Platforms as a Service (PaaS). These platforms are enabling entirely new businesses to form overnight, while also making possible faster to market and more attractive services for Tier One CSPs.
Gartner’s growth predictions for the PaaS Market
These platforms with APIs and SDKs are making it easier than ever to build RTC applications or even more interesting, embed RTC into existing applications and whole work flows, large ERP, CRM and other systems making human contact as easy as one touch or swipe of a screen.
While new standards like WebRTC and ORTC are still in their infancy, we are seeing more and more large CSPs and Enterprises taking advantage (through our Kandy PaaS for example). This is driving the need for more modern ecosystems, and today those include systems integration companies, independent software vendors, web services companies, cloud providers, and more.
High level illustration of Kandy’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
What we used to refer to as “Interop” has become an assumption (everything will work together!) and it is now through a lighter means of software – APIs for example – that we are able to create value through collaboration.
The success of this new ecosystem depends as much – or more – on new business models, new alliances and federations, and often disruptive economics than technology per se. And that is what is making this new ecosystem more creative, more dynamic, more exciting than ever.
Kandy’s ecosystem, while less than a year old, has attracted companies like SAP, IBM, TechMahindra and more. It has also attracted some very interesting start-ups. You can learn more at kandy.io and Kandy Channel.
We also welcome you to schedule a visit at your offices of the Kandymobile, which is making its way around the US this year.