2012 is going to be a big year for communications service providers (CSPs) around the world. Though there is no way of knowing what will come to pass in the next 12 months, many industry players have made predictions about what's to come. Common among them is the theme that, as smart phone data usage expands, networks are rising above capacity, and as a result, the quality of customers' experiences is suffering. Therefore, many have said that this will be the year that CSPs move from their previously passive stance on quality of experience (QoE) and network performance to a more proactive one. This will likely be done by offering more value to customers through additional network services as a way to differentiate from competitors.
Adding to the current chatter around this topic, we at InfoVista have some 2012 predictions of our own:
1) In order to differentiate themselves in the current marketplace, CSPs will continue incorporating network performance and service quality visualization into their service offerings. By allowing customers to visualize and report on the end-to-end performance of their mobile networks in real time, CSPs can provide additional, marketable value to customers, offering improved network performance and higher ROI.
2) Similarly, Carrier Ethernet has often been used as an alternative to mitigate the effects of high mobile traffic because of its low cost per byte. However, many CSPs are finding it difficult to measure and assure the QoS of this new transport network. In 2012, we are expecting increased implementations of service assurance solutions that visualize Ethernet performance and accelerate wireless backhaul migration by empowering staff to make optimal decisions at key points in the backhaul network lifecycle.
3) Finally, we predict that self-organizing networks (SON) will be widely-used by mobile network operators (MNOs) in 2012. As the number of networks that MNOs manage continues to grow (2G, 3G and now 4G/LTE), they will be in need of a cost-efficient strategy to simultaneously augment current network capacity and assure the customer experience. SON automatically configures network systems, allows capacity gains, maximizes performance and remediates network glitches and degradation — without any human intervention. This automation frees up engineers' time and focus to allow for more innovative work, rather than bogging them down with constant network degradation issues.