As network operators invest in mobile video, can vendors tempt them with AI and sprawling security solutions?
In Part 1 of this article yesterday, we reported on Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan’s expectations for the year ahead. They predicted NFV-based virtual network services would gain traction in 2015 but it truly hit last year.
Now the analysts are excited about Connected Homes & Consumer Communication Services, plus Operations, Orchestration, Data Analytics & Monetisation (ODAM), and Operators’ Security.
Connected Home and Consumer Communication Services
Augmented Reality is finally, well … a reality
Augmented Reality (AR) will shimmy out of the lab and into the consumer space in a big way in 2017. At last, we all say; we’ve been teased about it for years. With Microsoft’s HoloLens and Facebook’s integration of Facebook Now with its Oculus Rift technology, AR will likely achieve significant levels of penetration by year’s end.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) enters the home
With major over-the-top (OTT) providers such as Google and Amazon contending for dominance in the home intelligent agent space, Stratecast says you can expect a rapid increase in capability during 2017 from AI functionality integrated into the likes of Alexa and Now. Expect Apple to push its home automation solution with Siri built in, as well.
OTT service bundles become an operator reality
You may not be surprised to hear that Stratecast’s Consumer Communication Services Tracker shows the multichannel video market has been losing subscribers over the last several years. Service providers have been scrambling to find new promotions and marketing solutions that will help to retain customers.
However, you may expect service providers to finally embrace over-the-top (OTT) video, and to begin offering a fully-fledged OTT bundled services package in 2017.
Original video content is King
As more television networks make their content available online for free or for a small price, it is imperative for service providers to differentiate themselves in the video market. In 2017, Stratecast thinks that video service providers ― from OTT video providers to MSOs and telecom providers — will invest in original video content.
Operations, Orchestration, Data Analytics & Monetisation (ODAM)
Digital ecosystem management enables cross-industry virtual business
At the end of 2015, partner ecosystems (and the platform-based enterprises that engage them) were the fastest-growing branch of the general technology sector. No fewer than 176 public and private platform companies around the world, each with US$1 billion or more in market value, were estimated to have a global market capitalisation of $4.3 trillion.
None of these companies was a network operator, but nearly all of them offer their platform functions as cloud-based services. Network operators, with partners, will deliver complex
B2B2X services at the retail and wholesale levels in 2017.
More and more enterprises engaging in a platform-based strategy will move the way they conduct business to web-based services. It has already happened in the automotive and hospitality sectors. It will swiftly follow in others, say the analysts.
Cognition is coming in stages
Headlines like the one below make it hard to take the practical advances of AI seriously:
IBM and MIT partner up to create AI that
understands sight and sound the way we do
No. They won’t.
Companies are quickly advancing AI-based cognitive systems for networking, operations, and
monetisation; but these systems cannot know the myriad ways that humans experience the stirring sound of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah, nor the subtle beauty of a Santorini sunset.
Cognitive solutions will be evaluated vigorously in 2017, as CSPs look for real-time decisions, automation, and better correlation. These solutions will amaze, but they just cannot discern that your customer is too old to be wearing those skinny jeans. So, neither expect too much nor be afraid to trust the powers of AI cognitive perception.
Return of the systems integrator (SI)
With technology interconnection, interoperability, and business models growing more complex, CSPs will rely heavily on outside expertise in 2017, as they prepare for NFV, SDN, IoT, and digital services deployments in 2018 and beyond. After labouring to drive integration costs down, CSPs are seeing the trend forcibly reverse as unfamiliar technologies emerge, several environments simultaneously transform, and ecosystems diversify.
System integration and consulting services will become major components of operations again. This resurgence of SI services will force the industry to grapple with the shift from a CAPEX (capital expenditure) to an OPEX (operational expenditure) economic model.
Advanced malware sandbox technologies initiate deep, synergistic integration
The advanced malware sandbox is among the hottest new security technologies and is in high demand. However, it has been primarily an enterprise-oriented solution until now. As demand mounts across all segments, acquisitions of stand-alone sandbox solutions will signal the start of deep integration of the technology within established network security platforms and cyber security solutions.
Today’s malware sandbox solutions already ingest data from a range of network, email, and endpoint sources. For sandbox vendors, the importance of broad, bi-directional integration
continues to mount, as threat actors continue to target new threat vectors. For the sandbox-acquiring platform vendors, their task will be to demonstrate that these are ‘better together’.
Heavy consolidation of knowledge-based network security suppliers is inevitable
Industry consolidation is gaining resonance with network security providers. In knowledge-based network security, Stratecast identified 33 companies that offer VM, SIEM, NAC, and network security forensics products that achieve $10 million or more in annual revenue.
They expect that no fewer than five of these companies will be acquired, or spun off from their parent companies. These will become independent entities that will engage in their own technology acquisition paths.
Driving this activity are two themes:
- A common base of data collection and processing is required across all knowledge-based
- Customer desire to place risk understanding and risk management workflow optimisation under one roof: a single, integrated solution.
Security-focused operational RoI takes centre stage
Legacy cyber threats do not go away, they just evolve and new threats emerge. For today’s digitally-connected organisations, not only are threats increasing but so too are their stacks of security point solutions and endpoint agents.
The result is a sprawling assortment of technologies, vendors, administrative systems, and bespoke workarounds, which further complicate both assessment and management of risk. For security vendors, the bar to gain entry has risen.
Not only must they convince sceptical buyers on the merits of what their ‘solution’ addresses but, increasingly, how it assists in decluttering the operational environment. The battle against cyber threats is tipping from primarily an arms race to one of operational proficiency.
Smarter vendors will recognise this shift and adapt their product strategies and go-to-market messages accordingly, says Stratecast.
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To read Part 1 of this report published yesterday, Click here.
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