Today, Telecom carriers are facing challenges in many folds, either in the area of reducing the IT operations cost, rolling out the new value added services/applications for customers, migrating to next generation networks /platforms, or keeping the customer churn controlled. They actively seek solutions which address the above issues. “Cloud computing” is one such interesting and upcoming trend. Cloud computing offers a means of sharing resources like hardware, software, and data on demand to users. Telecom carriers will soon embrace cloud computing to solve some of the above issues and provide business models like “Infrastructure as a service” or “Pay as you go".
Telecom carriers will build cloud based architectures to offer a wider base of applications for SMB and enterprises in a hosted model. They make use of the expertise gained all along in network and data centre operations to a great extent in deploying the cloud based solutions . Telecom Carriers may provide hosted enterprise IT / collaboration applications initially and then move on to business process specific applications. Few such examples are mobile field force management, sales force tracking, retail goods delivery tracking, fleet management, location based services, unified communication and collaboration applications using Video conferencing to SMB /enterprise market. This offers a great potential not only for increasing the network traffic/usage but also the revenues for Telcos. The concept of private clouds helps in overcoming any enterprise data security concerns. Cloud based services offer an advantage for enterprise customers in reducing their capital expenditure and use the resources being hosted by a Telecom carrier, in pay per use model.
Security, storage needs, computing needs and network managed services for enterprises is another part of offering using clouds as part of “infra as a service” model. Similarly, Telecom carriers will look inward to optimize their various IT estates, data centers comprising different OSS/BSS/SDP/CRM stacks in to a virtualization model, thus bringing OPEX reduction too. Moreover, as the next generation networks (IMS) are highly componentized, Telecom carriers will find lot of synergy in going for cloud based architectures for their future expansion and deployments.
Thus, cloud computing offers a great market potential and calls for collaboration amongst Telecom Carriers, OEMs making cloud computing platforms, IT system integrators, and application developers, to work closely and make cloud based service offerings a reality for consumers.