According to Genband Executive Vice President/CTO Fred Kemmerer, operators now are in a period of overall disruption.  Speaking at his company’s “Genband Perspective 2011” analyst gathering in New York City yesterday, he added, “Service providers are changing in a big way. Are they the operators or are Facebook and Google?”

Certainly, from a sheer-numbers standpoint, more people are reached on a day-to-day basis regarding products and services by Facebook, whose total membership could populate a fairly large country.

“You have to be able to compete with Facebook and Google for messaging and chat,” Kemmerer said. “And it isn’t just a consumer thing; more than 700,000 local businesses are on Facebook.”

What can the traditional operator do to compete? As it turns out, Kemmerer outlined several options, all under the heading “The Blended Services Experience” than melds operator and OTT services.

He gave the following advice:

  • Get involved in the next big thing – video calling and video conferencing for both the consumer and the enterprise.
  • Think about deploying a “socially enabled address book” that gives users all-in-one-place information on their colleagues, accounts and friends as to what kinds of information they want, how they want to receive it and best times for them to be reached.
  • Enable “viral content,” making it easy for subscribers to post their videos quickly on the sites they prefer.

These kinds of services open the door to more carrier opportunity. First, Kemmerer discussed a better user experience with simplified control, pointing out that Google TV is not about TV but about the ease of posting and finding content. “By 2014, all traffic will be video, and people don’t want to use ‘search’ to get at it.” He also recommended that operators start paying attention to such music services as Pandora and SiriusXM, especially in light of the advent of Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G wireless technology in vehicles. “Music and podcasts will become more important in the car,” he said. “This will drive more growth of IP networks.”

The Genband CTO touted extending the Internet’s reach to offer services beyond access networks through partnerships in order to develop fuller analytics and advertising, and to broaden the revenue base. If an operator has a good set of crunched user data (not just raw data), that information could be sold…to advertisers.

In a recent company newsletter, Kemmerer wrote, “Some service providers see OTT services as a competitive threat, but successful service providers will leverage OTT services and content to generate subscriber growth and loyalty. Innovative service offerings that blend communications and OTT services will enhance user value and increase demand.”

Kemmerer added his office is in the process of developing a new client-based service concept dubbed the “Social Navigator” aimed at integrating voice, video, social networking, instant messaging and collaboration tools.

But none of these ideas can be deployed overnight. Operators that still haven’t made the move from TDM to all-IP could be at a disadvantage, and there are a lot of nodes out there that need to be changed out.

“We’ve converted 3,000 nodes just this year,” said Genband President/CEO Charlie Vogt. While most of the work has been done on the traditional wireline side, “we’re making a lot of headway in the cable space,” he added.  

-Debra Baker

The Daily

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