Why it’s time to consider connectivity-as-a-service
Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS) is gaining semi-buzzword status in the telecoms industry, but it is still so new that few agree on what it is and how it should be applied. That only means one thing: We need to keep talking about it, writes Tim McElligott, a senior analyst at TM Forum Research & Media
TM Forum is defining CaaS quite broadly as “the delivery of connectivity/IP presence solutions to meet the specific demands of different applications and users.” However, this definition will evolve as members of the Forum’s Digital Ecosystem Management Project, and the market, refine the concept and the practicalities of implementing CaaS. Depending on one’s point of view, CaaS can be either a bold step toward the future of telecom service delivery or an admission of failure for the current telecoms business model. Somehow connectivity has become increasingly devalued by the emergence of internet applications, content and smart devices when the value should have increased – because without connectivity, new over-the-top (OTT) applications and services would not exist. Instead, OTT providers succeeded in kidnapping the value, the customer mindshare and the revenue from the underlying network providers.
Seeing connectivity in a new light
A deeper look at CaaS tells us that this technology can play a role in all these efforts and that operators need not fear the connectivity name. While they may have gotten out-manoeuvred by internet and cloud providers so far, CaaS gives operators an opportunity to add value to connectivity in many cases by making it far easier for the customer to procure and modify services and exact guarantees. In other cases, CaaS allows developers and partners to add value to their own offerings by including connectivity with the push of a button
There is a lot of work to be done to make CaaS a reality. Automation must make a giant leap forward. Network as a service (NaaS) – well underway as a project in its own right – must be in place behind the scenes. Network slicing needs to be real – and automated. Ultimately, CaaS makes the experience of engaging with telecoms operators as effortless as buying from a cloud provider, which is something operators must do beyond all the other transformation they have underway.
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