Main Companies at the MWC13 that Offer Cloud Computing Services (1)
In the words of Dor Skuler, VP and General Manager of Cloudband Business Unit at Alcatel Lucent: “Last year was about the promise of cloud, this year is about the execution of cloud […]. If a year ago we were talking about why you should do the cloud, how it can change your business… This year is about specific discussions”.
This was a hot topic last week at the Mobile World Congress, as keynote speakers held a session on cloud computing, concluding that operators must learn to add value to their cloud services, in order to avoid a ‘dumb cloud’ model. One of the ways to provide this value is, according to Joachim Horn, CTIO of Tele2, “providing a single, secure user interface into [different types] of cloud services.”
Some of the benefits of cloud computing are its ubiquity, or that it allows for software to be always updated. But according to Juniper’s CEO Kevin Johnson, online advertising, e-commerce and online media will be the main revenue generators in the consumer cloud space, while cloud opportunities for businesses will be mainly focused on software-as-a-service. Most telecommunications companies are already implementing this technology, and Onbile talked to some of them at the Mobile World Congress. Here is the first part of this article, with our interviews to Tata Telecommunications, Telenor and Telefónica.
Tata Communications Limited is an Indian telecom company, with its own submarine cable network, a Tier-1 IP network and data center and colocation space. We talked to Sarina Tu, Head of Strategy and Marketing Global Carrier Solutions, who is also in charge of finding mobile services providers all over the world. This is what she told us:
We’d like to know what kind of internet-related products and services –under a bundled services model, like internet+hosting– is Tata Communications offering right now to its professional clients.
Tata Communications company is dedicated to both professional clients and international services providers, especially telephone operators like Telefónica. Our main business model lis to provide these operators, who have their own professional clients, with services. So we help these operators providing them with all the services their clients need, and they make up their bundles. For instance, we provide parental control, real time video, videogames… All these capabilities require an efficient management from the operators and new distribution technologies, like the cloud.
What do you think will be the most important launches in the mobile ecosystem for this year?
The truth is there are many interesting new launches in the internet right now, in video, connected cars, for instance, managing your own device, machine-to-machine technology is evolving and maturing. Also, there’s being much talk about network infrastructure, being able to optimize networks for connectivity and authentication and protection of the mobile identity in order to guarantee a better security in view of the growth that is taking place in number of mobile users that not only use their device, but also all related services.
What does it mean for Tata Communications to assist the MWC?
Coming to the MWC was something very important for us, given what mobile operators mean for our business, as well as services providers. The Congress means a new meeting point, and to show our 4 new launches for this year, although we already presented them before the event.
We also visited Telenor at the MWC, Norway’s main telecommunications company and wireless carrier in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia. It also operates broadband and TV distribution in 4 nordic countries, and has a 10-year-old research and business line for M2M technology. We talked with Josep Maria Nolla, Director of Global Partnerships, and here is what he told us:
What kind of cloud services or business model is Telenor thinking about integrating during this year?
Software-as-a-service, basically. We’ve created an independent unit called ‘Tapstorm’, which is the commercial name, that works for our B2B teams, but which is also an open company for any other business in the world. It is a website any SME can access and select what software services they want, what hardware –mobile, tablet, Google Chrome, telephone…– and what connectivity plan, an aggregation service. Right now, this company has been commercially launched in Sweden and Norway, with just one product, Microsoft Office 365. We’re now going to launch Google apps, Renault, Dropbox, hosting and domain services and probably one day, responsive web design.
What do you think of responsive web design? Do you think it will be one of the important launches (although it already exists) of 2013 in the mobile ecosystem? Maybe aimed at large operators and telecom companies?
I think it’s going to take a bit longer, because operators know how to sell voice and data, but they don’t have experts that can sell cloud or online services.
Telecom companies already took a leap to offer TV, but they succeeded.
That’s right, but it also took a while. Their first challenge is internal in terms of education and sales force, but it’s something that needs to go one step at a time. You first need to offer voice and data, and then add other services little by little. One of the main services today is online visibility. So I’m not sure 2013 will be the year, but it’s definitely coming up.
Eduardo Méndez, Responsible for Cloud and Low Cost at Telefónica España’s Information Systems also gave us an interview at the MWC:
What cloud services does Telefónica offer right now and what are you thinking about improving or launching this year?
We’ve got may cloud services –after all, everything on the internet is cloud-based. Every time we offer our clients a residential service (especially mobile services, which is where there is more communication and navigation margin), it’s cloud-based. And more especifically, IAS, SAS and PAS. We offer two types of services for companies and corporations: On the one hand, an infrastructure and management servcies called Virtual Data Center, which consists of virtual machines to host operating systems and which allow them to organize and manage their infrastructure. They manage it just like if they had a physical machine room, a CTD, but everything is in Telefónica’s premises.
On the other hand, we have a recently acquired company called Joyent, which is more focused on high level hosting and processing: symetric parallel, cloud computing, that kind of stuff. It is a state-of-the-art company in virtualization.
As for software-as-a-service, we have a web portal: Aplicateca (in Spanish), which is available in all Spanish-speaking countries, and from where we offer all kinds of software: from billing solutions for SMEs, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, but also specific solutions for education, health, etc. Everything with support to add quality to the service.
And the third kind is the most classic one, which is PAS (platform-as-a-service). Although we aren’t currently offering anything like this, we’re looking at it for internal use. I don’t know if the market will ask for this in the mid-term, but if so, Telefónica will be ready to offer it, because we already have everything we need to offer this kind of solutions.
Regarding bundled services offered to companies, professionals, etc., what would you think about including a responsive web design platform?
We already have content management solutions, although it’s not exactly the same, but right now we’re not offering that kind of solutions. We do offer bundles (from software-as-a-service to hardware management, communications…), but we still haven’t reached something as specific as responsive web design.
What do you think will be the most important launches this year in the mobile ecosystem?
We already have commercial solutions, and which we believe that will grow in the future, like for instance Telematics, with the insurance company Generali. And then we’ve got things like the new mobile operating system we’ve developed with Mozilla, Firefox OS, which we will be launching in Spain and Latin America this year, and in the rest of Europe in 2014. With regard to cloud, this is going to be the virtual PC year: solutions for companies to virtualize jobs, reducing the costs and complexity of physical desks.