Major telcos join list of companies getting OCP

Written by on February 1, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

OCPFacebook’s Open Compute Project (OCP) looks set to catapult telcos into a software centric world. Launched in 2011, the OCP team has recently announced a new telco project within the OCP. The goals of the project align well with the goals of the telco industry and look set to provide the boost that was needed to achieve them. Focused on the future of networking, with aims to make networking faster and more agile, early telco signings make impressive reading.

AT&T was an early mover, having announced that virtualisation was a priority. According to Andre Fuetsch, SVP of Architecture and Design at AT&T, “We’re becoming a software and networking company. As a result, our central offices are going to look a lot more like data centres…”

They are not alone, with Deutsche Telekom, EE and SK also signing up.

It is, perhaps, the way of the world, that an evolutionary approach to major change is extraordinarily hard and takes too long to combat present threats. Revolutionary change will always come from elsewhere and it is not surprising that this lifeline for telcos has come from a ‘data centre’ king, Facebook.

It is interesting reading the quotes that were added to the news that telcos were joining the OCP. These reflect the different views of what telcos see their role is in the future. To AT&T the focus is the move to virtualisation and a software based business. EE, on the other hand, sees the initiative as a way of getting far enough ahead to allow them to cause disruption within their own arena. A way of innovating. They have ‘ambitious plans’ in this area. DT on the other hand sees that efficiency within their data centres is critical to success and cites that as the reason for joining. SK sees the OCP as a way of building a system that will be able to manage the continuous – and continuously growing – torrent of mobile data.

All of these quotes are interesting, partly because they are all, still, very focused on the network. What happens once you have state of the art networking capabilities seems to be ‘someone else’s problem.’

The good news, then, is that telcos are signing up to an initiative that will accelerate the move to a software based business. The irony is that the initiative is driven by an old ‘enemy’ an ‘OTT’ player.

The bad news, on the face of it, is that the innovation engine – the business – does not seem to be at the table, working on the partnerships and innovations that will transform the telco.

Unless, of course, we will see such announcements a little later.

Read about the OCP, and its ‘vanity free servers’ here, and the Telco Project here.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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