• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content

Loading…

Flash Player 9 (or above) is needed to view presentations.
We have detected that you do not have it on your computer. To install it, go here.

Like this document? Why not share!

Comarch Technology Review magazine

on

  • 2,377 views

Comarch Technology Review provides expert commentary and analysis on current trends shaping the telecommunications market, as well as insight on how to solve problems most commonly faced by telecom ...

Comarch Technology Review provides expert commentary and analysis on current trends shaping the telecommunications market, as well as insight on how to solve problems most commonly faced by telecom operators.

This unique and comprehensive publication is written by our specialists with expertise in various fields, ranging from BSS and OSS to VAS and professional services.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
2,377
Views on SlideShare
2,377
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
62
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Comarch Technology Review magazine Comarch Technology Review magazine Document Transcript

    • no 2/2010 [12] The Magazine of Comarch Telecommunications Business Unit www.comarch.com In ThIs IssUe: Customer spotlight Bouygues Telecom Achieves the Right Balance Thanks to Comarch Bss suite Oss/Bss Features M2M Market Trends: Overview Of The M2M Value Chain how exactly Will You Benefit From Automating Field services In Your Company Technology & Innovation Comarch Tests at the IBM Innovation Center
    • Personalize your customer experience Transform seamlessly to new business models Ensure the highest quality of delivered services Take full control of your network Meet with Comarch experts face to face at the Mobile World Congress 2011 14 – 17 February at Fira de Barcelona, in Barcelona, Spain – 1F20, Hall 1
    • PrefaCe 3 What will surprise us in the near future? ne of the world’s most renowned inventors, Location based services, previously forecasted as a trigger O Sir Faraday, was asked by the Minister of the Treasury who was visiting Faraday’s lab „What for location based ads, has become very popular because of applications from iPhone Android using our position to define benefits would people have from these experiments with a context for smart applications. Users are becoming more electricity?” „I don’t know,” he said, “but I’m sure your accustomed to positioning information required by applications government will be collecting taxes from these results in and will be more open for mobile ads in the future. the future”. The same answer can probably be given to us today by this year’s Nobel Prize laureate in Physics. Many Cloud computing is growing in the context of the expansion interesting and revolutionary technologies are waiting for of mobile application shops which has to find storage and business opportunity to make them profitable and begin resources to support relatively small and smart applications entirely new revenue streams. Market innovation combines on smart phones with which the user is still moving from technology with business modeling and extensive work place to place with. from engineers and marketing specialists. Web cloud computing, location services and multi-screen pIOTR MAChnIk Gartner’s report, Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies interfaces in the connected world are good examples of the Comarch sA 2010, published in October, points out that almost all the adoption of new business and revenue models, rather than Vice President, Product analyzed IT technologies are related to user experience, new simply the adoption of the newest technology. Management & Marketing interfaces or user interaction methods. Telecommunications From the perspective of communication service providers, one Business Unit The Web phenomenon has been moving from PC’s to of the most important challenges in the Connected World is other devices such as smart phones, TV’s, flat panels in how to ready infrastructure and business processes for new automobiles, public transport and retail. New interaction interaction methods, new business models like revenue and styles based on accelerometers and location services, infrastructure sharing, direct and indirect sales models, quality which made no sense for PC’s, are boosting the sales driven by customer experience and multi-technology service of intelligent terminals. User experience as well as new fulfillment and assurance. This edition of Technology Review interaction styles, such as gesture recognition and tangible demonstrates how Comarch analysts, solution managers and user interfaces, simplify communication between the developers approach the Connected World trend. application and the user and make our handsets more intelligent and more personal. Enjoy reading. Comarch’s offices in poland: Krakow Comarch Technology Review is a publication created by Comarch experts and specialists. It is created (HQ), Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan, to assist our customers and partners in obtaining in-depth information about market trends and Katowice, Lodz, Lublin developments, and the technological possibilities of addressing the most important issues. Worldwide Offices: Americas panama | Panamá editor-in-Chief: Katarzyna Gajewska Technology Review is a free publication available United States of America | Chicago europe katarzyna.gajewska@comarch.com by subscription. The articles published here can be Austria | Wien Layout & DTp: Jakub Malicki copied and reproduced only with the knowledge and Belgium | Brussels photos: www.fotolia.com Finland | Espoo consent of the editors. The names of products and France | Lille, Grenoble proofreader: Martin Jones companies mentioned are trade marks and trade Lithuania | Vilnius publisher: Comarch SA Germany | Dresden, Frankfurt/Main, names of their producers. Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Muenster, Al. Jana Pawła II 39a, 31-864 Kraków Duesseldorf, Bremen Tel. +48 12 64 61 000, Fax: +48 12 64 61 100 Russia | Moscow To receive your subscription to the electronic slovakia | Bratislava www.comarch.com version or see the previous issues, please visit: Ukraine | Kyiv, Lviv print: Skleniarz Printing House tr.comarch.com Middle east United Arab emirates | Dubai ul. J. Lea 118, 31-033 Kraków Asia Circulation: 1 500 China | Shanghai Vietnam | Ho Chi Minh City
    • 4 table of Contents neWs 16 Business Cases For policy Management 30 Bright Future For IpTV – Are You Ready? 5 What’s new Some years ago, policy management did not By the end of 2010, Vodafone will present its constitute a hot topic. Today, policy management proprietary IPTV offer, named Vodafone TV, at IFA. CustoMer sPotlight is becoming an essential tool for operators in Based on a hybrid approach, satellite and cable 6 Case study: managing network traffic, based on policies signals are processed via a platform developed Bouygues Telecom Achieves the and improving service offerings simultaneously. by Vodafone Germany. Following Telekom and Right Balance between Flexibility and Operators can adjust their service offerings using Alice, Vodafone will now be the third provider of IP Maintainability Thanks to Comarch Bss suite various parameters, such as service type, time of television in Germany. Bouygues Telecom required a platform to support day, customer location and data volumes. the company’s business development strategy of 34 Why Use plain Old Inventory Management supplying additional mobile services to end users 19 M2M Market Trends If You no Longer sell plain Old Telephone through SMS, Voice, MMS, WAP and I-Mode™, in Overview Of The M2M Value Chain services? collaboration with a growing number of content The Machine-to-Machine (M2M) business, If we look to the future of Communications Service and service providers. This approach demanded a related to the communication between machines Providers, we will see LTE technologies emerging sophisticated billing system capable of handling and other traditionally non-computing remote with constantly increasing power. Among others, the the complex accounting processes between the devices or sensors, is attaining a global presence. new technologies were designed to make networks French mobile operator and its partners. According to The European Telecommunications more flexible, adaptable and cheaper to deploy. The Standards Institute (ETSI), the M2M market has time required for enabling new services shrinks from 8 Case study: the potential to connect up to 50 billion machines weeks to days, and maybe even hours. how Cablevisión de saltillo entered a new today, and even more in the near future. Market while Minimizing Costs telCosPhere blog Comarch offered a pre-integrated billing, customer 23 From Circuit To soft (packet)-switching 38 Unlimited Data plans – Disappearing Into care and network management solution that Not so long ago, as the traditional Public Switched extinction supported all of Cablevisión’s business lines, Telephone Network (PSTN) evolved from analog to including telephony. Additionally, the solution digital (thanks to digital Time-Division Multiplexing 39 Murphy’s Law In 21st Century included a prepaid module that allowed technology), we entered the era of NGN networks, Telecommunications Cablevisión to offer prepaid services and an based on Internet protocols such as IP (Internet interpartner billing module to efficiently handle the Protocol) and MPLSs (Multi-protocol Label 40Why Doing Your Laundry Can Be A Lot Like company’s agreements with other carriers. Switching). Therefore, next generation networks Talking On The phone are often named “all-IP” networks, to emphasize oss/bss features the transformation towards IP protocol. teChnology & innovation 10 how Cablecos Can Get Ahead Of Their 42 performance In Action Competition 26 knowledge Transfer Or Change Customers require a better quality of software. The Critical Role Of Next Generation BSS/OSS Announcement? They also need improved performance of In Cable Providers’ Business Every company requires an ongoing business processes. High availability is a standard On today’s cable market, there is an ongoing communications and training program. They should requirement. It calls for more and more testing. race among operators towards the valued goal be designed to ensure that all employees, full time How do you perform increased testing in a more of becoming an MSsO (Multi-Sservice Operator). and temporary, as well as contractors understand diversified test environment? Although TV services still remain the main and the enterprise’s policies, processes and software most stable revenue stream, significant income and know how to follow and use them properly. 44 Improving The scalability Of Modern Web- growth originates from high-speed Internet and Based software system telephony services, and the importance of these 28 Boosting service Innovation Nowadays, the scalability of software systems, will continue to increase. Getting Through The Jungle Of Buzzwords: considered as their ability to handle growing SDP, Service Broker, Orchestration, SOA, amounts of work, is of great importance. Modern, 13 how exactly Will You Benefit From Service Composition… web-based applications should often handle Automating Field services In Your Company Communication Service Providers (CSP) strive thousands of requests per second, and it’s Field Service Management tools are solutions that to boost service innovation to augment basic impossible to achieve this throughput without are primarily deployed by companies in order to connectivity services. They are aware that they rapidly-operating hardware and well-designed achieve certain business improvement goals. The may need new tools to realize this goal, but are systems with the ability to be enlarged. most popular and commonly requested client bombarded with buzzwords, by many claiming goals in FSM systems include decreasing costs, they have the right solution. This article suggests CoMMentary minimizing risks, and maximizing the profitability taking the problem-centric approach, to avoid 46Relation after Comarch Bss/CRM/Oss of their services. being drawn into the flood of new buzzwords. Workshops in stockholm Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • neWs 5 What’s New Recent Contracts: Latest Award: 15 | 09 | 10 01 | 07 | 10 kpn optimizes multinational corporate Comarch nGnp receives 2010 next customer management with a Comarch Generation network Leadership Award solution Comarch Next Generation Network Comarch delivers a comprehensive set of BSS Planning was awarded by NGN Magazine modules to help KPN lower operational costs, in the category of Network Technology, in improve customer satisfaction and launch recognition of its outstanding innovation. new services faster. 18 | 08 | 10 Recent product Launches: The e-plus Group selects Comarch as a strategic partner for next Generation 05 | 08 | 10 network planning Comarch provides a solution supporting Comarch introduces a new product to its planning and configuration of Radio Access, offer for telecom operators – Comarch Bill Transport and Core Networks. This innovative shock prevention platform, delivered in the Managed Service The growing usage of data services among model, improves the efficiency of network mobile subscribers has led to the surfacing of planning and, in particular, supports the a brand new problem that operators worldwide accelerated roll-out of the high-speed E-Plus have to face – the so called ‘bill shock’. Comarch is Building its own data network. Comarch’s response is an addition to the broad Data Center Abroad: scope of its offer for telecom operators – the 14 | 07 | 10 Comarch Bill Shock Prevention solution. 17 | 05 | 10 Comarch implements an innovative class 29 | 07 | 10 In 2010, Comarch plans to open a Data 5 service platform at Telefonia DIALOG, Center in Lille, France, with the next one poland Comarch launches new end-to-end solution planned for Germany Comarch has signed a comprehensive for Cloud service Management and Billing contract with Telefonia DIALOG, one of As Cloud Computing and Cloud the biggest independent telecom service Services increase in popularity on the Currently, Comarch has two modern Comarch providers in Poland for the provisioning, telecommunications market, Comarch Data Centers in both Cracow and Warsaw, installation and implementation of a service responds with a comprehensive solution for with an additional facility in Cracow currently platform based on class 5 Soft Switches. managing and billing cloud services. under construction. For more information, go to: www.press.comarch.com Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 6 CustoMer sPotlight Bouygues Telecom achieves the right balance between flexibility and maintainability thanks to Comarch BSS Suite he advent of newly developed accounting models Acquiring separate modules from different vendors would T and the introduction of an extensive number of novel mobile services prompted Bouygues Telecom, have been an extremely complicated process, involving signing and maintaining a number of contracts. Additionally, “We were looking in 2004, to replace its partner billing tool with a systematic the integration of these modules could have been extremely for a billing system and rule-based system capable of managing the consequent difficult, adding to ongoing implementation risks. that was able to growth of increasingly complex revenue-sharing agreements keep up with the with content providers. frantic pace at The Approach which we were expanding, while The Business need Comarch offered a pre-integrated billing, customer care ensuring increased and network management solution that supported all of revenues for Bouygues Telecom required a platform to support the Bouygues business lines, including telephony. content providers company’s business development strategy of supplying and Bouygues additional mobile services to end users through SMS, Voice, Bouygues Telecom, with over 10 million subscribers (March Telecom” MMS, WAP and I-Mode™, in collaboration with a growing 2010), manages numerous products such as voice, SMS, stated Emmanuel number of content and service providers. This approach MMS, data, internet, etc. and has to manage content and Micol, Access demanded a sophisticated billing system capable of service provider billing for various products and services and Interconnect handling the complex accounting processes between the (premium SMS, WAP, vote+ etc.).The solution is interfaced Director, Bouygues French mobile operator and its partners. with their own central Partner DB, backup and many other Telecom. interfaces within their information system. The Approach Why Comarch? Comarch provided Bouygues Telecom with a convergent and agnostic billing and rating solution for postpaid and prepaid In addition to Gartner assessments of the performance of services, including discounting and threshold charging. Comarch BSS, Bouygues Telecom conducted a detailed Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • CustoMer sPotlight 7 products & prices management partner revenue management Sharing CuSTOmer revenue Bouygues usage data Sharing Telecom adapters payment & Charging partner Gateway InduSTry Self Care Invoicing Communications Founded in 1994, payment & Bouygues Telecom Service Invoices Charging usage has 10,352,000 mobile requests data subscribers, 311,000 fixed customers partner’s Telco and employs 9000 partners administrator Content partners members of staff. premium The company aims to services, “become the preferred VaS Content -based brand of mobile and services fixed communication services as well as Figure 1. of TV and Internet provision”, and looks study of various solutions on the market supported by The industrialization and integration aspect of to provide users a POC (Proof of Concept). The billing and partner relationship this project plays a prominent role. As an example, with more freedom modules stood out due to their ability to elaborate and Bouygues Telecom’s CRM is interfaced with when using their handle reconciliation and mass processing, as well as their Comarch Partner Care for automatic provisioning mobile phones - with capability to manage the complex partnership between of subscriptions. In addition, the system has been an emphasis on Bouygues Telecom and its partners responsible for content adapted to all maintenance and usability constraints hospitality, service and service provision. imposed on any application in production at Bouygues and support for its Telecom. In particular, the InterPartner Billing system customers. “We chose Comarch InterPartner Billing over several other can be monitored using remote central monitoring, rating engines as it enabled us to achieve the right balance and billing-specific processes can be initiated from between flexibility and maintainability. This allows Comarch Bouygues Telecom’s central scheduling system. This to provide superior service and content delivery to mobile enables streamlining operating tasks, optimizing costs customers, as well as revenue sharing in a highly dynamic and efficiency, as well as increasing the reliability of the market where innovations arising every few months is solution. paramount”, explained Emmanuel Micol, Access and Interconnect Director, Bouygues Telecom. “Our solution for partnership management offers far more than simply sharing money among companies. We created a business solution based on a thorough The Result understanding of the nature of relationship building. We are confident that our system will enable our client to Comarch deployed a specially designed IT solution concentrate exclusively on their core business activities for gathering information related to customer service and strengthen their competitive advantage”, explained COmarCH usage and computing the complicated revenue-sharing Tymoteusz Wrona, Head of BSS Solution Management. prOduCT: rules that arise between Bouygues Telecom and its partners. The system generates all the necessary “The system has been up and running for several years, InterPartner Billing financial documentation and statistical reports, which and it allows us to respond effectively and rapidly to are then loaded into a dedicated data-mart and emerging market demands”, stated Emmanuel Micol, transferred to SAP financial applications for further Access and Interconnect Director, Bouygues Telecom. processing. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 8 CustoMer sPotlight How Cablevisión de Saltillo entered a new market while minimizing costs ablevisión de Saltillo, a cable TV operator in The Business need C Coahuila, Mexico, had ambitious expansion plans that included entering the telephony market and In order to offer voice services, an operator needs to the acquisition of several smaller operators. Changes in significantly modify its IT infrastructure to support the new anti-monopoly laws allowed the company to execute its technology. Cablevisión de Saltillo’s existing IT systems did plans, but heavy investments were necessary to guarantee not support telephony, and when analyzing BSS vendors, proper scalability and support telephony. Comarch helped the company found that very few offered an end-to-end CuSTOmer Cablevisión de Saltillo make the leap with a cost-effective integrated platform. The target infrastructure is depicted in Cablevisión de end-to-end integrated BSS solution. the following diagram: Saltillo InduSTry Communications Telephony Cablevisión de saltillo Television is the flagship operator Internet of Grupo RCG. Today, Controllers Cablevisión de Saltillo is the largest Multi- HFC network Service Operator (MSO) Call Center in the state of Coahuila, Mexico’s third-largest. Service delivery The capital of Coahuila is platform the city of Saltillo, where Cablevisión holds an Help desk Billing System overwhelming share of & Customer payment management management the triple-play market. Figure 1. Target IT infrastructure diagram Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • CustoMer sPotlight 9 In the words of Carlos Casas, IT Director at Cablevisión de Saltillo, “Comarch is a true partner that helped us modernize our IT infrastructure and continues to support us in our day-to-day activities. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Comarch for years to come”. Acquiring separate modules from different vendors would a new market, while minimizing costs. Key features of the have been an extremely complicated process, involving pre-integrated solution include: COmarCH signing and maintaining a number of contracts. Additionally, prOduCTS the integration of these modules could be very difficult, Comprehensive solution supporting all services in & SerVICeS: adding to ongoing implementation risks. a convergent manner Comarch Multi-language system and documentation (Spanish Convergent Billing The Approach supported) Comarch Comarch offered a pre-integrated billing, customer care Pay-as-you-grow model supporting the following out- Customer and network management solution that supported all of of-the-box: Management Cablevisión’s business lines, including telephony. Up to 100,000 post-paid subscribers Up to 20,000 pre-paid subscribers Comarch Additionally, the solution included a prepaid module Unlimited system users Workforce that allowed Cablevisión to offer prepaid services and Unlimited telephone traffic Management an interpartner billing module to efficiently handle the company’s agreements with other carriers. Figure 2 Highly scalable system able to support many additional Comarch describes the final IT infrastructure. subscribers by gradually improving hardware capacity, Business Process as compared to other systems that require exponential Management investments in hardware The Result Comarch Self Care Standards-based solution that facilitates the future With the help of Comarch, Cablevisión de Saltillo completed implementation and integration of additional modules Comarch Service a breakthrough project that allowed the operator to enter and 3rd party systems Activation Comarch Billing Mediation Internet Cable modem Comarch 3arts emTa Set Top Box Telephony TV Comarch WI-FI InterPartner hFC neTWORk (DOCsIs – pACkeT CABLe – seT TOp BOX pROVIsIOnInG) Billing Comarch Analyzer multiplexers Firewall aCC motorola Cedar point C3 decoders TV Content Comarch Fraud Controller daC 6000 Safari Softswitch CmTS Detection Internal network Comarch Self Intraway Service Care delivery platform Comarch Comarch Comarch Comarch Billing System data processing 3arts mediation Internet and data base Server Telephony Comarch Customer management Figure 2. Detailed infrastructure diagram after Comarch implementation Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 10 oss/bss features how cablecos can get ahead of their competition: The critical role of next generation BSS/OSS in Cable Providers’ business Why do Cablecos and Telcos Compete? extent that the customer may not even notice the difference between them. On today’s cable market, there is an ongoing race among operators towards the valued goal of becoming an MsO However, differences in service delivery technologies (Multi-service Operator). Although TV services still remain the provide tools for differentiation. Many telcos and cablecos main and most stable revenue stream, significant income are still transforming their networks to allow for appropriate growth originates from high-speed Internet and telephony business model transformation. Networks are transformed, services, and the importance of these will continue to business models are adjusted. Both types of providers increase. strive to offer faster Internet, voice and wireless services. Cablecos have been upgrading their networks to DOCSIS In fact, the strongest competition cable operators’ face 3.0 to make this possible. Telcos are now using fiber-optic derives from telecommunication service providers, rather networks to compete with cable companies through delivery kRzYszTOF than from other cable operators. Customers can turn to a of TV services. Such technologies are powerful arms on the kWIATkOWskI telecommunication service provider to provide a similar battlefield, but what about long-range weapons? Comarch sA service, and without difficulty. This results in operators BSS Product Manager, seeking to improve their offers, and it is this type of Telecommunications competition which can be highly beneficial for customers. Leading the Way to Multi-service Business Unit Transformation Both cablecos and telcos offer multi-play services which consist of video, high-speed Internet, voice and wireless In order to benefit from the transformation momentum, services. There are numerous differences in technologies cable operators require robust support from systems that and quality of services offered, yet telcos and cablecos are understand the specifics of the market and which enable an heading in a similar direction with their offers to such an increase in competitiveness, delivery of high quality services Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 11 and rises in revenue per subscriber. Furthermore, there must be fully managed by BSS, with an integrated sub-ledger also be a continuous focus on the customer. interfacing with G/L, comprehensive payment collection with IdeaS In BrIeF: support for numerous payment methods, managing and BSS and OSS systems can be the key factors in an operator’s clearing financial documents, and bad debt collection and Why cablecos successful business model transformation or lack thereof, configurable dunning scenarios. Furthermore, this should all and telcos have and constitute the long-range weapon in the battle between be carried out whilst supporting Sarbanes-Oxley, SAS-70 and to compete cablecos and telcos. These systems must be focused on PCI compliance. increasing competitiveness, raising revenue per subscriber Why do and should be prepared for the future expansion of the successful business model transformation operators need operator. To facilitate excelling at customer orientation BSS and OSS solutions must also provide flexibility and to transform strategy, it must allow for creating personalized offers stability for IT departments. These departments implement all their business according to the individual preferences of customers, and ideas and business requirements as ready-to-sell products, towards multi- ensure the high quality of delivered services. To shorten the integrate and manage networks and provide efficient service time-to-market and increase profitability, the solution should maintenance processes. Multi-Service Operators require provide multi-level convergence through the entire BSS and robust support for the creation and maintenance of a vast What to OSS, as well as automation of field forces. number of individual price plans and discounts. consider when looking for a network integration and management perfect solution What to Look for in a solution for Cable The network integration challenge of Multi-Service Operators to support your TV Operators is connected to simultaneous multi-network integration with cable business cross-network mediation and provisioning. It also touches Unlimited marketing creativity and customer on service-agnostic billing and active mediation capabilities How does orientation with data format independence, high configurability and Comarch A product catalog with flexible definition of novel products, support for industry standard interfaces and file formats. respond to the services and bundles creation, personalized price plans and needs of Cable discounts is the key factor for providing the differentiation There is a requirement for cable-TV-specific inventory with providers tool for marketing departments. the usage of HFC Network Hierarchy data models and mechanisms of serviceability checking, with the possibility to The usage of best-practices and pre-configured processes maintain precise information related to equipment at remote dedicated to multi-service and traditional cable TV operators, sites and cable layouts needed to support technicians Cable TV operators enables achieving this goal. working in the field. often comprise of various Market transformation Fault management capabilities should allow planned acquisitions and Readiness for the transformation means being well-prepared outages and detect service interruptions. The new element mergers, and some for such mergers and acquisitions, as well as adapting to the for cable TV operators can be connected with service quality carry such an different characteristics of operations in various regions. management which, together with managing congestion approach forward issues via early detection of network problems and in combination Transformation creates a set of requirements for BSS identification of the impact on services, must be handled in with the multi- such as multi-tenancy with support for multiple billing, order to acquire heightened customer experience. service strategy. product, network and payment providers, and also sales Readiness for the partners. In the BSS sphere, it requires the consolidation of Convergence requires real-time processing of network transformation customer information resulting from multiple billing and CRM events via mediation and a billing system. This is why all means being systems. Additionally, a modern multi-service operator has modules used in the real-time processing chain must have well-prepared for to cooperate with various partners and content providers, the capabilities for upgrade without impacting service such mergers and and this must be supported by the BSS platform with, at a continuity. acquisitions, as minimum, B2B connectivity, multi-party billing and revenue well as adapting sharing. process management to the different MSO complexity requires efficient business process characteristics Complete control and security of financial management, integrated with the entire multi-domain IT of operations in operations ecosystem. Such integration and process management various regions. Bundles, personalized offers and discounts require the has to be handled by BSS and OSS domains with built-in, complete control and security of financial operations. This is configurable order management, business process even more pertinent in the case of Multi-Service Operators execution monitoring and advanced task scheduling that are in comparison to traditional operators. This area should open for integration. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 12 oss/bss features Local resellers CSr end users The characteristics point of Sale Crm Self Service of Multi-Service Operators mean SOa Integration daTa Integration they require external systems robust support marketing and Billing Sales managers managers for the creation and maintenance dmS/archive of a vast number product Catalog Convergent Billing Interconnect Billing of individual mnp InTerFaCeS price plans and Field Service BuSIneSS payments prOCeSS revenue Sharing discounts. Technicians management manaGemenT GL dWH network & Service Service Quality Fault management Inventory management management printhouse Operation managers Billing active Service Connectivity mediation mediation activation HFC Content TV / IpTV dOCSIS Fixed & mobile Telephony multi-play TV, high-speed Internet, voice, content end users Figure 1. Comarch’s comprehensive solution for Multi-Service Operators The Comarch Solution for Multi- Service Operators Comprehensive customer service Today, Multi-Service Operators represent a major gateway provides: unlimited Minimizing costs and maintaining comprehensive customer to entertainment and communication services. Creating marketing service, requires the automation of field forces. Intelligent positive relations with customers is the task of the marketing creativity, customer scheduling and dispatching of technicians, automated task- department, but improving their overall experience requires orientation, resource matching based on technician availability, skills and the collaboration of other departments, such as network, openness to location, and leveraging data stored in the network inventory billing, customer service, and even field technicians. cable TV market in order to support technicians working in the field, may transformation, provide significant cost savings and increased customer The advantage of the Comarch solution for cable TV field force satisfaction. The latter is especially important during operators is that it transforms the broad communication automation and primary contact with the operator, occurring when the first experience into a multi-service business and provides next more… technicians visit the customer’s home. generation BSS and OSS tools to enable maximum efficiency of operations and business model transformation. summary The full article can be found at: http://cable.comarch.com The multi-service approach changes the way in which customers perceive their communication service providers. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 13 How exactly will you benefit from automating field services in your company ield service Management tools are solutions that Customer Technical support and F are primarily deployed by companies in order to achieve certain business improvement goals. The network Maintenance most popular and commonly requested client goals in FsM If you are a Fs Dispatcher/scheduler systems include decreasing costs, minimizing risks, and As a dispatcher/scheduler in the Customer Technical Support maximizing the profitability of their services. or Network Maintenance department, your scope of duties involves numerous important activities within the order In most cases the main goal of the project is achieved fulfillment process. (FSM projects are less risky in comparison with other telecommunication projects) and the influence of these If your company does not deploy any tool for improving improvements in the organization of technicians’ work is your job, you are probably the busiest person and at szYMOn UCzCIWek visible throughout the entire company. the end of the day you are being blamed for all the Comarch sA organizational problems in your department. This is BSS/OSS Solutions In this article I will discuss several job functions in not a normal situation. Field Service Management may Consultant a telecommunications company and will demonstrate that make your job easier and will certainly increase your and Product Manager, each and every employee benefits from an investment such effectiveness. Why? A number of FSM modules align to Telecommunications as the Field Service Management system. help you carry out your responsibilities, they include: Business Unit Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 14 oss/bss features IdeaS In BrIeF: What are the newest solutions in the network Inventory CRM network monitoring Field Service Management domains Network objects Orders Appointments Orders What are the benefits of using Field Work Orders FSM system Field Service Management tools Orders and Time automatic resources maps FSm mobile reporting Tasks management dispatcher How can FSM tools have a direct impact on you and your position in Dispatchers Field Technicians Management a telecommuni- cation company What are the actual cases of applying FSM tools in your daily activities Figure. Different users of field service management tools How can FSM tools improve Scheduling tools technicians have mobile handsets with GPS or vehicle communication This FSM module gives you a 360º view of your team’s tracking equipment, any time you are faced with a critical between situation. If you have a new work order to fulfill, a graphical situation you are able to locate resources in the nearest departments timeline tool helps you schedule it for the proper technician location and assign them to resolving the problem. and allocate the required technical equipment. You will have the following information: If you are a Technician In the end, all the work falls on your shoulders. The strategy the SLA connected with the order of the company always requires you to be more productive – to do more and spend less time doing it. But it’s impossible to No matter a sequence of tasks required to complete the order divide yourself in two. Field Service Management tools allow where you are you to follow the company’s strategy while at the same time, in the company, available resources (human and technical) with skills making your job better and more interesting. How? Field Service suitable for completing the order Management Mobile Access solutions can a list of tasks currently being completed by technicians Imagine that whenever you need to, you are able to check positively impact what work you have to do. Mobile Field Service Management on your work resources in the nearest location for completing the tools allow you to do almost everything on site. A mobile order handset will be the most important piece of equipment you have with you in the field. Let’s go through your usual work Location-Based Services day. You start by picking up your list of tasks. No need to do If you are responsible for dispatching 20 technicians, do this – it’s already on your mobile. Next you plan your route you know exactly where they are at all times? If you have from task to task – no, no! Just use your mobile application a GIS-based FSM tool you are able to check every location to navigate you to the customer. Once on site you have to on a digital map, find any technician, order or vehicle. If verify through documentation or by telephone what work Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 15 you have to carry out – but with your mobile you already customer after some discussions with the field service team When you are have all this information on the screen, along with the or maybe even worse, leave it to them to call the customer a new employee procedure of how to accomplish it and with remote network to make an appointment? Such a situation is confusing not at a company. measurement tools. What’s next? Usually you have to fill out only for you, but probably even more so for your customer. Usually, at the some paperwork with the customer, but now you enter all Field Service Management tools are able to provide you with beginning, it takes this data into the mobile handset and capture the customer’s instant information about free resources and about available a significant signature. time slots for technical service on a customer’s site. amount of your time to Optimization tools understand all “Optimization” sounds like a nice, but very often it means that sales the procedures your limits of petrol per mile are cut again and again. But this and tools used by is not the kind of optimization that Field Service Management According to Gartner research in the area of Field Service your department. tools carry out. FSM optimization tools try to find the most Management (e.g. Magic Quadrant for Field Service The Mobile FSM optimal organization of your work, minimizing route distances Management from 17th July 2010) one of the critical elements application with between task sites. This is possible thanks to information from of the Field Service Management Life Cycle that has to all its details GIS systems like Google Maps. be supported by FSM tools is customer management about orders, capabilities including accountancy and sales. order sites, routes Spare Parts Management and additional There are cables, modems, set top boxes and many other tools If you are a salesperson descriptions from you have to carry in your vehicle. And even if you have tons of Typically the worst part of a sales specialist’s work is the knowledge stuff in the truck, there always seems to be a problem with a unsuccessful interaction with customers, as well as base allows you to certain piece of equipment that wasn’t taken. What do you do gathering all the required sales process documents. It is start your normal in such a situation? One solution is to go to the warehouse and problematic to hold a customer’s attention while going job right from the come back with the spare part for the customer. However this through all the procedures with him needed for completing very first day. is not only problematic for you, but also creates measurable a sale. The second thing is collecting all the required additional costs for the company, not to mention the effect it documents from the customer, such as signed contracts, has on the KPIs in your department. But even this problematic updates etc. FSM functionalities allow transferring certain situation can be resolved thanks to Field Service Optimization sales activities to technicians. They can play a significant role tools. With information about your daily tasks you have precise in customer contact by delivering documents and collecting data about what you need to take with you in order to complete required signatures. This may even include preparing all your daily tasks. invoices for the customer, and executing sales, thanks to the cross- and up-selling functions of the mobile application. The Knowledge Base sales process will be fully aligned with market expectations. When a network element or customer is not in a standard Now, your sales team will be supported by valuable location (multi-story buildings, mountains or underground representatives, and no opportunity will be wasted. locations) having every available piece of additional information shown in the order context is particularly useful. The Knowledge Base in FSM tools will add a description and summary pictures to your order’s details and thus shorten your time GLOSSary: spent on that difficult order. Synergy is still one of the leading optimization strategies. Improvements are made by unifying and synchronizing FsM – Field the entire company to achieve the same business goals. Service Customer service Consider Field Service Management systems as the next Management element of a department’s synergy and communication The impact of deploying Field Service Management tools improvement. It is an element which leaves behind the kpI – Key is not only limited to the main beneficiaries such as field traditional method of managing technical resources and Performance service departments. It has a much broader influence on the puts into practice a customer-centric strategy, using Indicator entire telecommunication department environment. improvements in customer service processes, service convergence (the system allows managing all field service GIs - Geographic If you are a CsR activities not limited to special domains and services) Information You are responsible for resolving customer problems as and cost savings by optimization as well as benefits from System quickly as possible and the optimal situation is when outsourcing field services. the problem can be resolved from the first attempt. But what sLA – Service if it is not possible to give the customer actual information The full article can be found at: Level Agreement about a technician’s visit? What if you have to call the http://field-service.comarch.com Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 16 oss/bss features Business cases for policy management ome years ago, policy management did evolution of policy Management S not constitute a hot topic. One of the first cases in which the issue received extensive Following the operator’s struggle with P2P file sharing, publicity, was in accordance with when p2p file sharing video streaming from services such as YouTube became IdeaS In BrIeF: applications were considered problematic – not only from the next bandwidth-hungry service. Here, the role of third the legal perspective (copyright issues), but also because parties (outside of the operator-customer relationship) How and why of network congestion. Today, policy management is has increased – content providers and other 3rd parties did policy becoming an essential tool for operators in managing can provide data-hungry services to end customers, and management network traffic, based on policies and improving service operators may not attain additional revenues from this issues emerge? offerings simultaneously. Operators can adjust their business. service offerings using various parameters, such as What does the service type, time of day, customer location and data The popularity of mobile data services has made the “bit customer expect? volumes. Policy management combines a mixture of pipe” problem for operators even more challenging. One underlying network, subscriber data and service delivery contributor towards this issue has been the reducing prices How does policy into a single entity. of smartphones and mobile data offerings. Subscribers have management affect customer experience? network cost (existing network) Traffic volume Policy management Loss entails various benefits for the revenue operator: increased profit customer Cost of new network satisfaction, higher (e.g. shared network) ARPU and reduced costs. Time dOmInaTed By VOICe dOmInaTed By daTa Figure 1. Comparison of network economics in existing and LTE networks Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 17 been able to purchase unlimited data plans for a fixed fee customer has their own service usage habits, such as per month. However, the problem is that the revenues from web browsing, viewing video (e.g. YouTube) and gaming. mobile data services do not cover the costs of network For each type of end customer, the operator can tailor investments. Many operators have already announced that individual pricing plans and customize the service level. For they will stop offering unlimited data plans for mobile users, example, a customer who likes to play multiplayer games and will instead provide various tariff plans with different on the Internet would appreciate higher service levels for monthly data quotas. this particular type of service, in this case meaning lower latencies for the game data traffic. The introduction of LTE improves mobile network efficiency, and data traffic growth does not increase CAPEX to the Customers may be interested in purchasing value-added pekkA VALITALO same level as it does in 3G networks. Thus, operators services (such as better QoS levels) for an additional fee. Comarch sA are more able to increase their revenues without the An example case can be a business customer who needs BSS Market Analyst, continuous need to upgrade network capacity. Figure 1 high bandwidth for the corporate VPN services he is using. Telecommunications [source: Analysys Mason, 2010] presents the effect of Another example can be a private customer who would like Business Unit network maintenance costs on the operator’s bottom-line to watch a football match with guaranteed bandwidth and results, between legacy and LTE networks. Notice how traffic reduced latency. This type of user can buy e.g. a temporary volume growth in existing networks correlates with network 4-hour “bandwidth boost” from the operator for an additional The typical costs. After LTE, operators still require tools for managing fee, using the self service portal for the subscription. customer wants the policies, in order to take full advantage of the revenue to attain the opportunities. It can be summarized that customer experience is maximum amount heightened with policy management – network congestion of minutes and is reduced, customers receive more individualized tariff megabytes for policy Management from the Customer plans and customers feel that they are getting more value as little money perspective for their money. Thus, moving from the flat rate, unlimited as possible. The tariff plans to more individual types, can actually become an operator, on the A typical customer wants to pay as little as possible for the advantage for the customer. other hand, would services he is using. Similarly, he also wants to receive as like to acquire much value as possible for his money – this means that as much money he wants to attain the maximum amount of minutes and Why operators should invest in policy from the customer megabytes. From the operator’s perspective, this becomes a Management as he can, and dilemma – the operator wants to acquire as much money from simultaneously the customer as possible, and simultaneously, the customer From the operator’s perspective, policy management is not have the customer should consume as few network resources as possible. only about throttling the bandwidth from high bandwidth consume as few consumers. Policy management entails various benefits for network resources The customer can reap the benefits of the personalized the operator: increased customer satisfaction, higher ARPU as possible. services offered by the operator. Fundamentally, each and reduced costs. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 18 oss/bss features The policy With more individual tariff plans, the operator can up-sell SMS, and it is also possible for him to purchase an increased management and cross-sell more for existing customers, and increase tier for the ensuing months, for an additional fee, in the case engine can make ARPU in this way. An additional advantage is, of course, that the conditions (such as specific level of ARPU) from the dynamic decisions the lower costs for network investments and maintenance previous months are not met. basing on the – due to restricting heavy bandwidth consumers. Network parameters, and congestion can be controlled, for example, by dynamically The self service portal of the operator can be used in various this extends the allowing only specific types of services on the network business scenarios for policy management – from defining operator’s role from (e.g. web surfing is allowed, but video streaming or P2P the service limits (e.g. service type or specific URL/domain) a mere bit pipe, file sharing is not), in temporary situations where network in parental control scenarios, to defining consumption towards a more bandwidth is reducing. restrictions, and time-of-day limits. This reduces the risk of customer-focused bill shocks and also provides more choice for end customers service provider. The operator is able to increase the segmentation of to define the appropriate service allowance. customers, basing on their individual habits. Various parameters can be used for this segmentation, such as service type, location, subscriber status (e.g. basing on Conclusions ARPU), device type and age. The policy management engine can make dynamic decisions basing on the parameters, and The scope of policy management is extending from this extends the operator’s role from a mere bit pipe, towards traditional usage of network throttling towards value-added a more customer-focused service provider. services, by using subscriber and service data available for the decisions that have an effect on the services that The policies can be applied dynamically and without the subscriber is using. Operators are able to use policy individual configuration for each customer, by the policy management for the offering of personalized services and management engine. The information about individual tariffs to their customers. subscribers can be used for allocating customers between various tiers. For example, customers with high ARPU from The Comarch Policy Management solution enables the previous two months may be automatically allocated to Communication Service Providers to control their a higher tier for the ensuing month. Individual tiers can have network, service sessions and subscriber access, and different service allowances and quality of service levels. simultaneously provide subscribers with differentiated The customer can be informed of the new service tier e.g. by services and improved customer experience. The figure presents a general Crm Billing architecture of the Comarch Policy Management solution, situated between the billing/ CRM and network layer. The Comarch policy management solution is integrated with the underlying network elements Online and Offline application HTTp to enforce the policies, and Charging System Function can also be integrated with partners Content the external billing and CRM Web Services systems, instead of using its Subscribe profile policy and Charging own online/offline charging repository rules Function functionalities and the Web Services subscription profile repository. Service Control The supported interfaces not only follow 3GPP standards Gx, Gy diameter, radIuS apI provisioning (Gx, Gy), but also provide additional interfaces and APIs for integration with the network environment and external systems, making Fixed, Cable Ip, ImS, nGn mobile it usable for multiple types Various network types of Communication Service Providers. Figure 2. Comarch Policy Management solution Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 19 M2M market trends Overview of the M2M value chain he Machine-to-Machine (M2M) business, related Thanks to this connectivity, all machines and devices with T to the communication between machines and other traditionally non-computing remote devices M2M cards installed can be efficiently monitored, updated and diagnosed remotely, without human intervention. Errors can be or sensors, is attaining a global presence. According to The detected automatically and alerts can be sent immediately. european Telecommunications standards Institute (eTsI), the M2M market has the potential to connect up to 50 billion An example of the application of M2M cards in the machines today, and even more in the near future. Mobile automotive sector is presented in Figure 1. In this case, network operators, seeking new revenue sources when drivers can benefit from faster passage through a road faced with reduced voice revenues, have developed an toll, due to the automatic charging of cars and the top-up interest in the M2M segment. possibility in the prepaid model. Moreover, logistics and insurance companies can attain accurate information about AGnIeszkA CzULAk Devices with embedded connectivity are used in the the routes’ their employees and customers’ take. Comarch sA various sectors: energy, automotive, logistics, infrastructure, BSS Solution Manager, security, healthcare, merchandising, payment, monitoring, The schema for healthcare monitoring is presented in Telecommunications industry etc. We can encounter machines with SIM cards Figure 2. The remote diagnosis of the patient is one of Business Unit installed in both our professional and private lives. Their the advantages of this M2M application. Besides a rapid application can be wide, from the monitoring of energy diagnosis, M2M monitoring reduces the cost of treatment usage, through car connectivity to entertainment. and guarantees more freedom for patients who can go home, while still receiving care. road Toll Company IT Systems m2m solution pekkA VALITALO Internet Comarch sA eXIT BSS Market Analyst, eXIT Telecommunications eXIT Business Unit Figure 1. M2M application in the road tolls business Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 20 oss/bss features IdeaS In BrIeF: Telco Operator IT Systems Hospital Why the M2M IT Systems m2m platform business is becoming more and more attractive Which actors are Internet present in the M2M value chain mobile network The dilemma network operators face Which trends are present on the M2M market monitored patient monitored patient monitored patient The M2M enabler can be different to that of a network Figure 2. M2M application in the healthcare industry operator, although in some cases the solution provider Overview of the M2M ecosystem Device manufacturers and network operator are Figure 3 presents the different actors of the M2M market: Device manufactures who provide hardware and firmware actually the same Device manufacturer, system integrator, M2M enabler, to M2M partners are equipping devices that were originally company. network operator and end user. Each has different needs and designed to operate without reference to mobile technology, roles related to their activity. with hardware that enables M2M communication. m2m enabler Comarch System end user Self Care Integrator mnO Figure 3. Actors of the M2M ecosystem Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 21 Certification requirements are high. Devices have to be network operators End users usually compliant with various standards. The performance prefer to purchase assurance of devices should be confirmed by detailed tests. Network operators provide the connectivity (network & an “all-in-one” support) to M2M partners and end users. They are interested M2M solution For example, the M2M-dedicated SIM cards must be able to in the simplification of internal business operations and from a single operate in certain environments. Thus, device manufactures optimization of network utilization, in order to provide flexible vendor, instead work constantly on the improvement of their wireless and efficient services to their customers. of purchasing hardware & firmware, in order to satisfy their customers: individual elements MNOs, system integrators, M2M enablers, and also end Some MNOs have created distinct units responsible for of M2M solutions customers of the M2M business. M2M business, which work solely on the rapid development from various & implementation of new M2M services. In addition to different vendors. a dedicated organization, MNOs amplify the cooperation with system integrators device and application providers in order to create common M2M functionalities. The amount of network elements The M2M solution needs to be customized depending on the dedicated to the M2M business is increasing. Many MNOs are target M2M segment. Attaching a SIM card to an electricity deploying their own network elements for this purpose. meter does not automatically enable the automatic meter reading scenario; additional effort is still required. System integrators are in charge of development & maintenance end users of hardware, embedded & server software, bug tracking, and also updates for the M2M solutions. System integrators Even if the global interest towards the M2M business is assume customer risks and guarantee the efficient high, knowledge of required technology and implementation functioning of hardware & software. experience in this area are still rare. Only some end users (enterprises) have already entered the M2M business. Because M2M applications can be complex to set up, the role of system integrators in the M2M value chain is important. But there are also numerous end users conscious of possible The typical end users of M2M services are not focused on M2M opportunities, and who are willing to integrate M2M technical issues, so it is the system integrator that develops technology into their existing portfolio, although they do the solution, regarding the hardware and applications. In not know how to launch it. Furthermore, a large group of comparison to device manufacturers, the system integrator end users exists who are unaware of the existing M2M may need specific applications from external companies to opportunities within their industries. And many potential compose the required M2M solution. end users have also considered the M2M business, but the possible costs have been a barrier. However, the reducing costs of M2M-related hardware and connectivity services are M2M enablers making more M2M-related business cases viable. The main role of an M2M enabler is offering the end-to- End-to-end solutions and high levels of support are necessary Some MNOs have end M2M solution. They provide the complete product, for organizations that wish to outsource M2M-related business created distinct connectivity, support, SIM logistics and applications updates. processes. The organizations need support from M2M partners units responsible The end users usually prefer to purchase an “all-in-one” solution who will provide them with appropriate solutions. This enables for M2M business, from the M2M enabler, instead of purchasing the individual organizations to focus on their core businesses. which work solely elements of the M2M solutions from various different vendors. on the rapid development & The M2M enabler can also provide dedicated applications Trends in the M2M ecosystem/value implementation of for specific types of M2M segment. For example, the fleet chain new M2M services. management industry may be interested in applications that provide all necessary data for transportation management MNO strategies differ; some of them decide to cooperate with purposes. These applications can be run on the M2M platform provides, while others are looking for a proprietary enabler’s M2M platform. From the fleet management platform. Recently, the role of MNOs in the M2M value chain company’s perspective, the availability of transportation has shifted. Previously, MNOs were not as interested in management applications, as a hosted service, reduces the directly entering the M2M business, while the revenues from initial investments in the proprietary IT platform. traditional voice and data services were still rising. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 22 oss/bss features device System mnO, m2m end user manufacturer Integrator enabler Figure 4. MNO as an M2M enabler The growing revenue forecasts for the M2M business have narrowly focused for a large MNO, meaning it can be a more pushed MNOs to enter the M2M market more directly. Figure suitable business case for a smaller scale M2M enabler, 4 presents this type of scenario, where the MNO also takes instead. Figure 5 presents this type of business case. the role of M2M enabler. MNOs can also provide additional services for increasing The MNO can deploy additional network elements (e.g. HLR revenues, such as design, deployment and support of M2M and GGSN) that are dedicated to M2M traffic. This can also be solutions for enterprises, although these types of services carried out by the M2M enabler that uses the same masts as are more commonly offered by a smaller business unit within the MNO, but sets up its own network elements. For the MNO, the MNO organization. These business units can set up the the usage of separate network elements enables the MNO to partnerships with device and application manufacturers use the network resources more efficiently and reduces the more rapidly, to provide complete end-to-end solutions. internal bureaucracy. For the M2M enabler, the proprietary network elements grant more independence from the MNOs, and better flexibility for provisioning activities and error Conclusions MNO dilemma: is diagnostics. it better to use an Which approach should the MNO consider: cooperation with external solution Depending on the type of M2M segment, the MNO may wish an M2M enabler, or setting up a proprietary M2M platform? provider (e.g. M2M to cooperate with niche M2M enablers focused on a specific No unique strategy exists for MNOs that is optimal for all enabler) that M2M segment. For example, the M2M enablers that focus on types of M2M business cases. Many different approaches provides a hosted fleet management hardware and applications can help the are possible, and the individual MNOs should evaluate M2M solution for transport companies to focus on their core businesses, thus which is the best strategy for them. The ongoing trend of end users, or to set creating a win-win situation for both. These niche companies MNOs entering the M2M market more directly transforms up a proprietary are able to provide a complete end-to-end solution for the the revenue stream towards MNOs. The smaller players will M2M platform? fleet management industry, starting from hardware delivery, still have business opportunities on the market, but they will to providing a hosted platform with fleet management need to focus on more niche segments, while MNOs focus on applications. These kinds of end-to-end offerings can be too the areas that have the highest volumes. mnO device System m2m end user manufacturer Integrator enabler Figure 5. Cooperation with an M2M enabler Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 23 From circuit to soft (packet)-switching hen, in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was awarded for VoIP call control and integration with the PSTN network. In W a patent for the electric telephone by the United states patent and Trademark Office (UspTO), the early stages of softswitch technology development, the solution architecture was based on a Call Agent, responsible nobody, including Bell, nor any other inventors for that for call control, call routing and signaling and a Media Gateway matter, could envisage the future of voice transmission. responsible for end-to-end media (voice, data) streaming. The not so long ago, as the traditional public switched Call Agent would control several Media Gateways interfaced into Telephone network (psTn) evolved from analog to digital PSTN or IP networks. In modern softswitch-based architecture, (thanks to digital Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) the Call Agent is separated from the Media Gateway. Due technology), we entered the era of nGn networks (next to the immaturity of the technology, various definitions of Generation network), based on Internet protocols such softswitches have been used by different manufacturers. LUkAsz GRODzkI as Ip (Internet protocol) and MpLs (Multi-protocol Label With the development of NG networks, softswitch technology Comarch sA switching). Therefore, next generation networks are often matured and was standardized as an IMS (IP Multimedia BSS Solution Manager, named “all-Ip” networks, to emphasize the transformation Subsystem) architecture by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Telecommunications towards Ip protocol. packet-based nG networks are able to Partnership Project) and ETSI (European Telecommunication Business Unit provide data, text, fax and numerous types of multimedia Standards Institute). Within the IMS architecture, the role of the such as video, in addition to the traditional landline softswitch is performed by an MGC (Media Gateway Controller) telephone system (pOTs – plain Old Telephone service). using MGCP protocol (Media Gateway Control Protocol) or H.248 protocol (also known as Megaco). The rapid development of broadband Internet access in the early years of the 21st century accelerated the growth of services supported by VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Where does Unified Communication fit in? The standardization of IP-based signaling protocols such as H.323 or SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) raised voice NG network convergence introduced VoIP technology into services migration from circuit-switched architecture (PSTN) fixed and mobile networks. Softswitch technology was to VoIP. And so the era of Internet telephony has begun. designed to provide voice and data services, while the IMS is “...the era of focused on all multimedia and IP network features, offering Internet telephony the customers of fixed, mobile and cable providers’ access to has begun softswitch technology’s evolution to an multiple services such as: IMs architecture Voice and video telephony The necessity for voice transformation from circuit-switched (PSTN, SS7) to packet-based form (IP) initiated the evolution IP PBX, hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) of softswitch technology. In telecommunications networks, softswitch is a software-based central device responsible Automated Attendants, receptionist Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 24 oss/bss features Signaling IdeaS In BrIeF: media application Service / application plane HSS Servers (aS) What are the trends in mod- SCIm ern telecommu- nications? Control / Signaling plane CSCF What are the S-CSCF I-CSCF BGCF benefits of voice p-CSCF mGCF transmission SGCF pSTn raCS through IP pro- naSS a-raCS (S)pdF I-BCF / SIp aLG tocol? mrF ue dSLam BaS / mrCF How to under- r7: Broadband a=BGF mGW mrFp stand Unified Ipv4 ue WaG pdG Communication I-BGF / network r6: WiFi GGSn Core network TrGW Why Internet ue ran SGSn Ipv6 Protocol seems r5: GprS/umTS media / Transport plane network to be the future Figure 1. IMS Functional architecture of convergent communication VMS (Voice Mail System) and IVR (Interactive Voice costs. The idea of Unified Communication is to deliver Response) communication services seamlessly to any device, across any access network. Fixed and mobile convergence can The migration from Enhanced phonebook, with a presence feature benefit both residential and corporate customers with new circuit-switched to services, its simplification and unification. packet-switched Enhanced messaging, with chat and history features technology seems The main advantages of a mature IMS architecture delivered to be inevitable. Enriched call, with multimedia content-sharing during through packet-switched technology are: voice sessions IP-based NGN architecture (well-defined modularity and This set of multimedia services is usually referred to as interfaces) Unified Communication (UC). The advantage of UC is that it enables providing services through multiple devices Common media control and network management and media types anytime, anywhere and in any way. It functions allows service providers to offer fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) without any other additional equipment. Mobile Lower OPEX through remote and centralized communication services such as enhanced phonebook, management, and common network infrastructure enhanced messaging or enriched call are known as a Rich Communication Suite (RCS). RCS is an IMS-based 140000 specification of communication services, developed by the 120000 The evolution of consortium of mobile manufacturers and operators, such IMS stimulates as AT&T, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, SonyEricsson, 100000 the growth of T-Mobile and many others. Millions of Minutes 80000 mobile and fixed telecommunication 60000 networks. The benefits of IMs and Unified 40000 Communications 20000 IMS, as the advanced carrier-grade service delivery platform, 0 enables operators to deliver innovative real-time and non 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 real-time services or Web 2.0 applications to demanding traffic 5544 11021 18502 28706 46057 68900 97567 123974 customers through a unified platform, thus lowering Figure 2. International voice IP traffic growth Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 25 Decreased CAPEX through scalable server-based generation network). The main advantages of LTE are high GLOSSary: hardware architecture (multiple hardware platforms throughput, low latency and flat architecture, which imply supported) and user-based licensing minimal operating costs. The first LTE services are available in hD - High Density Scandinavia (opened by TeliaSonera in Stockholm and Oslo), Revenue-generating services and shortly operators will announce the running of all-IP LTe –Long-Term based LTE networks. Global mobile operators and device Evolution manufacturers support VoLTE (Voice over LTE), an initiative 120% Source:CIBC announced in February 2010 and adopted by GSMA (GSM VoIp - Voice over IP Network Equipment 100% Physical Facilities World). The purpose of VoLTE is to standardize the method of Protocol Fiber delivering voice and messaging services in the future for LTE, Operations 80% using IMS specifications developed by 3GPP. GSMA VoLTE is UspTO - United 45% built upon the following principles: States Patent and 60% Trademark Office 25% Single implementation promotes scale - single 40% 25% 15% technology being used across all networks, phones and psTn - Public 20% 20% devices Switched Telephone 20% Network 10% 7% 0% Single implementation reduces complexity Legacy NextGen TDM - Time-Division Figure 3. NGN Network benefits Single implementation enables roaming Multiplexing The prognosis states that the top 25 LTE operators will attain MGC - Media LTe – the future of IMs - VoIp goes hD 200 million subscribers by 2015. Gateway Controller and wireless pOTs – Plain Old VoIP traffic is constantly growing in international networks, What’s next? Telephone Service replacing TDM international networks. TDM traffic has noted negative growth since 2004. Nowadays, billions of Migration from circuit-switched GSM and 3G networks to sIp - Session minutes of international long distance calls are transferred IP-based LTE networks won’t happen overnight. Operators will Initiation Protocol over IP via wholesale carriers or global voice providers. need to provide service continuity. However, besides all of The evolution of IMS stimulates the growth of mobile and the challenges, operators have no other choice. IMS in mobile pBX - Private Branch fixed telecommunication networks. Third generation mobile networks is materializing. By 2011, 80% of service providers Exchange networks (3G) provide a High Density (HD) of voice and video, will deliver voice over IMS. What’s next? LTE Advanced, the with an elevated quality of service (QoS). The migration younger brother of LTE, will emerge in the second decade of VMs - Voice Mail from circuit-switched to packet-switched technology the 21st century, with the benefits of a throughput rate level System seems to be inevitable for both fixed and mobile networks. of 1 Gbit/s, and low power nodes such as pico or femtocells. Mature 3G networks, such as UMTS (Universal Mobile IVR - Interactive Telecommunication System), which is a combination of What is beyond this? The human need for communication – Voice Response circuit- and packet-switching technology, will be replaced the only consistent factor stimulating technologies to evolve by all-IP flat networking architecture. The way to achieve to bring communications to us more cheaply, simply and at FMC - Fixed-mobile this is LTE (3GPP Long-Term Evolution), also called 4G (fourth a higher standard convergence UC - Unified Communication excellent Mobile Broadband Today enhanced User experience Voice and full range of Ip Services Improved voice and data capability RCs - Rich Communication rel-99 rel-5 rel-99 rel-7 rel-8 rel-9 & beyond WCDMA hspA hspA+ (hspA envolved) Suite 3Gpp - 3rd LTe leverages news, wider and Tdd rel-8 rel-9 rel-10 Generation spectrum LTe LTe-A Partnership Project 2009 – 2010 2011+ ----------> eTsI - European Telecommunication Figure 4. Mobile technologies evolution Standards Institute Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 26 oss/bss features Knowledge transfer or change announcement? very company requires an ongoing Don’t hide anything e communications and training program. They should be designed to ensure that all employees, full According to Murphy’s law, when everything is well organized IdeaS In BrIeF: time and temporary, as well as contractors understand the and every detail has been perfectly arranged, something enterprise’s policies, processes and software and know always happens to ruin the ‘happy ending’. This is exactly why it Different training how to follow and use them properly. is best to reveal each and every stage of a new project to those methods for who it may concern. Starting from the context of the change, different types Imagine the following situation: new software has just its strategy and ending with the contact peoples’ names or the of users and been implemented and we have several or a few dozen exact dates of the implementation. If any threats to the project systems employees that must be trained to use it. There is always exist, it is in the company’s best interest to raise the awareness reluctance to change at work, always thoughts of: “there of the team responsible, in order to make them more focused Scheduling - one will be reductions”, “I won’t be needed any more”, “I will have on the given problem. In the end, this new software may not of the keys to more problems now”, “I liked the old way better”, and these meet all requirements and expectations due to various reasons. success types of sentiments can be multiplied. How can an employee It is better to disclose this at the beginning, rather than to wait be convinced that this change will have a positive affect until the last minute, and make the issue seem like a bolt from Not only teach, and how can the training be made more effective for the the blue for system users. but also listen company? Here are some tips to do just that. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 27 Blue-Collar White-Collar Vertical Immediate Type of Training new employees Mobile Filed skills Training Mobile Workers Applications Response Workers Classroom √ √ √ √ Web-Based Virtual √ √ √ √ Classes Personal Trainer √ √ √ E-Training Modules √ √ √ Cheat Sheets √ √ √ √ Help Desk Training kATARzYnA √ √ Modules GAjeWskA JITT Embedded in Comarch sA √ √ √ √ the Application Marketing&PR Specialist, √ = Appropriate to user or application Telecommunications Figure 1. Training Method Comparison Business Unit Consult new features Consult changes with engaged employees Every employee will feel appreciated if you are informing her/him about planned changes. This is especially true if A training plan cannot be taken from a template. It must In most cases, it concerns the job that they perform. Usually a delegated be well-suited to the scheduled training. It must literally be a user’s attention team is responsible for First Site Application (FSA) tests “tailored” to the specific needs of the customer. Off-the-shelf span drops and the final user may not have much in common with the training is usually a very fundamental mistake. Of course for significantly during new features being planned for the next release. Imagine products which are standard and unchangeable, this course training that lasts how they would react when coming back from holidays: of action may be appropriate. However, in the real world of IT more than half they read an email explaining how a new version of the projects, such a situation is like discovering a unicorn. Project a day. For mobile software was installed and the interface has changed. leaders should discuss use cases with workers and after the field workers who Frustration along with many raised eyebrows would be first training sessions, the training plan should be adjusted. work in vehicles or common. Questions would be asked such as: “Our bosses Maintaining and measuring workshop effectiveness is also outside all day, the don’t use this software on a daily basis! What do they very important. Ideally, workers should be able to use at least attention span can know about it?” or “On which basis was this change 80% of the system’s functionalities. If there are many teams be as low as 30 requested? What for?” There are ways that may bring you to be trained, managers must measure this effectiveness minutes. benefits while keeping end users satisfied: a Mailing list, and make corrections for subsequent groups. a dedicated website or a meeting with several agenda points. New software should have features that the old system did not have, features that allow users to work Constant improvement based on faster, more effectively and most of all, make their life feedback easier. There is no better way to obtain this information than from the end users themselves! Getting feedback from training participants is vital in the E-training is a cost- process of constant improvement. Effective communication effective approach between a trainer and system users will benefit both sides. for off-the-shelf proper communication Using feedback forms and questionnaires after every training applications. Users is a great practice. This can help highlight issues that may can work on their Everybody wants to be well informed about impending have been overlooked during the training planning phase or own schedules changes. Remember that decisions should be sent in topics that users are not concerned with. and pick the advance. The type of application, the sophistication of appropriate level of the end-user audience and the geographic distribution of difficulty. the users will create all kinds of demands. In addition to Worst-case scenario standard classroom training, just–in-time-training cannot be overlooked. Every training delivery mechanism is specific to The worst-case scenario is providing no training at all. Poorly certain situations, and always comes with advantages as trained or untrained users will cost the company significantly well as disadvantages. In general, the entire set of training more to support than well-trained employees. Workers who mechanisms, as shown on the table below, is required. are devoid of training, who spend a significant portion of their Source: Gartner [Toolkit Best Practices: Training End Users]. time away from the office, and who often have networking questions from multiple remote locations, are generally the most expensive to support. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 28 oss/bss features Boosting service innovation – getting through the jungle of buzzwords: SDP, service broker, orchestration, SOA, service composition… ommunication service providers (Csp) strive of SOA - it can only help you to employ this architecture. C to boost service innovation to augment basic connectivity services. They are aware that they may For me, SOA is all about reusability, realized by component- based service creation. In other words, the concept that need new tools to realize this goal, but are bombarded with you can create new services from reusable building blocks. IdeaS In BrIeF: buzzwords, by many claiming they have the right solution. This is, in fact, also the main concern of mash-ups. Newly This article suggests taking the problem-centric approach, to created (assembled) services can be used farther for SOA is a concept, avoid being drawn into the flood of new buzzwords. composing higher level services. This may lead to confusion, tools can only as many tools assisting service composition may operate at help CSPs to Currently, CSPs face two main challenges: firstly, they are a different level of service composition. realize it pushed by Internet players, Google, Apple and alike, which may result in rendering CSPs as dumb pipe providers. Secondly, Why does understanding service component granularity Right level CSPs do not receive proportional compensation for the costs matter to CSPs? CSPs are unlikely to want to compete with of service inflicted by the serge in data consumed by customers. The developers, or even force them to change their favored composition is latter change makes the effect of the first even more severe. development environments, but on the contrary, aim to key for effective leverage the creativity of a developer’s work. This means service reusability As a remedy, CSPs aim to refocus more on customer that what, from a CSP perspective, should be treated as applications and end customer services, instead of an atomic service component, might, from the developer’s Service purely on communication services. This also leads to the viewpoint, represent a coarse-grained composite service component introduction of new business models, which allow CSPs to component. An example could be an augmented reality granularity should assume a central role in the value chain. (This subject I have application, which when simplifying, can be perceived as match CSPs discussed in blog post [1]). composed from: a geolocation service, image recognition, expertise customer preference services, searching information and To realize this trend, CSPs need to boost the service innovation overlaying the found information on top of other original Service catalog- rate, and this may require novel tools. This demand has been images. From the developers perspective, searching can be driven fulfillment recognized by many who claim to have the right tools for CSPs. a complex service leveraging indexing, key matching and and service The problem is that in order to market these new tools, many a rating service. execution is an buzzwords have been created. There is nothing wrong with answer new terms introduction, as long as they help us to understand What is also worth realizing, is that the more fine grained and solve problems, but quite often they are simply used as a component is, the more complicated service assembly CSPs require marketing ploys to convince CSPs to buy tools which sport the is. ‘Complicated’ in this context refers to requiring more IT use cases longest list of popular buzzwords. expertise. Although implementing SOA means replacing demonstrating cumbersome, monolithic services with composite services how to quickly built up from more fine-grained components, it does not introduce new sOA, reusability, components, mash-ups… mean that service components should be broken down into services, not new tiny pieces. The CSPs should only tackle service composition buzzwords Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is not a product, but which does not require programming skills, leaving more a concept. Even the best tool will not guarantee the benefits fined grained types to developers. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 29 Fulfillment and execution time promising to diminish the silos problem. Another hyped term orchestration is “Service Broker”. This name is defined by 3GPP, but there are extensions to the 3GPP definition which add additional New service introduction must comprise three main areas: roles, like Reverse IM-SSF and even Web 2.0 gateway. service fulfillment, service assurance and service execution. The former is to enable IN applications to leverage new The first two areas are well-defined process verticals on components developed on the IMS platform. The Web 2.0 the eTOM map. Service execution is simply the period when gateway includes the role of Network APIs (reference to blog a service (after it has been ordered) is used by a customer. post “Network API – Business Models”) for web developers to Introducing the SOA service composition concept also means leverage network assets. To depict how service broker refers bringing in the term “orchestration”. If a service is composed to NGSDP would be a subject for a dedicated article. LUkAsz MenDYk of smaller pieces, delivering a service means leveraging Comarch sA the functionality of these components. Orchestration is OSS Product Manager, focused on employing the functionality of these components. Conclusion – practical approach for Telecommunications We can identify two types of orchestration: fulfillment Csps Business Unit orchestration, and orchestration at the point of execution. Fulfillment orchestration is also related to the term “order Understanding what buzzwords really mean and how decomposition”, when the initial customer offers’ are different terms relate to each other may be somewhat decomposed down to orders, against the components from challenging, especially when quite often there are no What is important which a service is built up. From a technical point of view, common definitions for them. The practical approach CSPs is that the orchestration refers to invoking the service management can take when evaluating different solutions, is to simply ask granularity of API of the service component. Execution time orchestration for a use case for introducing a new service. The use case the components accounts for invoking the functional API of the component should demonstrate the whole process and cover: managed by the when a customer uses a service (during a call). These two service catalog methods of orchestration should naturally relate to each where service composition is controlled should be limited other, as the service execution must comply with what to the level where a customer has ordered. This leads to the concept of the what granularity of service composition is intended to composition common model for the fulfillment and execution environment. be managed by the CSP does not require programming what skills are required – how complex composition/ skills, and ought service catalog-driven composition orchestration definition is to enable CSP product managers To really enable CSPs to rapidly introduce new services, whether it embraces service fulfillment, execution and to introduce new there should be a single location where service composition service assurance services to the is controlled. Ideally, it ought to be a service catalog which market. drives service order fulfillment, and by orchestrating service if it is integrated with the service catalog which drives components, management API should define execution customer order management orchestration. What is important is that the granularity of the components managed by the service catalog should how easily I can reuse my existing services, and what be limited to the level where composition does not require is required to make them service components programming skills, and ought to enable CSP product The practical managers to introduce new services to the market. This whether it is accompanied with design patterns approach CSPs concept is described in my whitepaper [2]. can take when This article may prove to be controversial, and so I encourage evaluating different further discussion on my blog, where the article is also solutions, is to sDp, nGsDp, service brokers… published. simply ask for a use case for introducing The Service Delivery Platform was initially touted as a new service. a complete solution for CSPs to rapidly introduce new References: services. The problem is that many SDPs turned out to be stove-pipe SDPs, and as a result CSPs would require [1] “Seeking New Revenue Opportunities – Application a constellation of SDPs, and so the issue of reusing service Platform Wars” Comarch blog: components implemented on different SDPs remained. www.telcosphere.comarch.com Then, the term “Next Generation SDP” appeared, and this defines a solution which may be perceived as the “SDP” of [2] “Fulfilling the Promise of Component-Based Service “SDPs”, meaning the introduction of a horizontal service layer Creation” – Comarch whitepaper Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 30 oss/bss features Bright future for IPTV – are you ready? y the end of 2010, Vodafone will present its TV, broadband Internet, fixed-line telephony via Voice over IP, B proprietary IpTV offer, named Vodafone TV, at IFA. Based on a hybrid approach, satellite and cable as well as mobile telephony via the Telefónica O2 network. This way, the operative business of cable TV operators and signals are processed via a platform developed by Vodafone conventional telecommunications providers equals more and IdeaS In BrIeF: Germany. Following Telekom and Alice, Vodafone will now be more. the third provider of Ip television in Germany. What is IPTV Normally, IPTV is offered by a telecommunications provider nowadays In light of the growing competition, the market via its broadband network, with defined quality (QoS) and research enterprise Canalys sees the conventional fixed program bouquets, which reflect TV contents that can Requirements and telecommunications providers as under pressure to clearly be subscribed to by certain users. offerings of IPTV increase their average revenue per user (ARPU). According to Canalys, many of these companies may resort to IPTV. In the The strongest motor for the spread of internet-based TV is The basic future, IPTV will be an inherent part of complete service offers most definitely the development of broadband connections, structure of an to consumers. such as DSL, ADSL2, or VDSL promoted in recent years. IPTV headend The transmission of TV contents in PAL or SDTV (Standard The growing competition is primarily provoked by cable Definition Television) quality requires a data rate with an Comarch’s network providers that retrofit their cable networks for average of 2-6 Mbit/s. HDTV even requires bandwidths with proposal for IPTV broadband Internet, and who now want to join in the large an average of 6-16 Mbit/s. Furthermore, it must be possible operators telecommunications market as quadruple players. Kabel to operate several TV sets in each household at the same Deutschland (KDG), the German cable network operator, is time, which would cause a respective multiplication of the one example here. KDG already offers analog / digital cable bandwidth required. Therefore, IPTV supporters forecast ISdn, dSL, adSL, VdSL Internet over Cable In the future, IPTV Internet will be an inherent part of complete ISdn, pSTn VoIp service offers to Telecommunications Telephony consumers. provider GSm, GprS, umTS GSm, GprS, umTS mobile Communications CaTV mVnO provider IpTV TV, HbbTV Television Figure 1. Convergence of Telecommunications and CATV providers Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 31 future demand for Internet bandwidth to reach a rate of at Video on Demand enables playing any video clip at any least 30-50 Mbit/s per household. time However, new technologies and improved coding procedures Hooking up multiple audio programs, foreign language such as, for example, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC – a standard channels, subtitles for highly efficient video compression – help to minimize required data rates and to optimally use existing bandwidths. Interactive television (hypervideos) So why do conventional telecommunications providers Purchase transactions and T-commerce increasingly include IPTV in their service portfolio, and thus take the plunge into the television world when facing Web 2.0 functions DAnIeL kLOppICh competition from cable network operators? Comarch sA In fact, conventional television also tries to enhance its OSS Consultant, functional range by means of Internet or newly established Telecommunications so is there a future for IpTV? standards, in order to offer viewers not only the broadcasting Business Unit of TV channels, but also innovative services. HbbTV (hybrid While the bandwidths of Internet still grant ample scope both broadcast TV) represents a new international standard, on in telecommunications and cable networks, the question that which leading European TV operators and companies of the remains unanswered is: which TV medium will dominate in electronics industry agreed. This expansion of television the future – conventional analog / digital TV or IPTV? connects broadcasting and Internet contents, and offers, Conventional amongst others, the following services: television also IPTV normally requires a broadband Internet connection, tries to enhance whereas its bandwidth and the signal form (SD or HD) restrict Integrating media libraries of TV channels and Video on its functional the simultaneous broadcast of several television channels, and Demand range by means thus also the operation of various TV sets. Moreover, the image of Internet or quality is often of lower quality than that of conventional analog Integration of HTML pages newly established / digital TV a typical television consumer is used to. standards, in order Transparent overlay presentation on the current to offer viewers However, IPTV currently offers viewers more than traditional television image (interactive text and image information, not only the television image transmission. Due to the integral return menu functions, news tickers) broadcasting of TV channel of IPTV, a variety of new functions and services channels, but also opens up like, for example: Improved options for teletext, like high resolution innovative services. presentation of pictures and graphics Searching for video clips or TV channels via clear-text queries Combination of previous TV services such as the Electronic Program Guide (EPG), current Internet offers Generating TV contents based on user preferences and/ of TV broadcasters, videotext or viewer profiles Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 32 oss/bss features signal processing in IpTV headends The reception and processing of TV channels, as well as conversion for Internet, take place in so-called “headends”. An example of signal processing by resources of an IPTV headend is given in Figure 2. Comarch offers a comprehensive Broadcasters (television stations or their service providers) deliver the signal either via satellite or cable connection solution for efficient (e.g. glass fiber). Direct delivery is primarily used for adequate HD signals. The L-band matrix enables the flexible and centralized interconnection of any inputs and outputs, so that diverse satellite signals will be transmitted to connected receivers or IPTV channel IRDs (Integrated Receiver Decoder). management. This solution IRDs receive and decode the satellite signals. Since some channels are delivered in a scrambled form, additional supports IPTV descrambling is required, using a CA (Conditional Access) module. IRDs provide two different output signals. On the one service providers hand, a SDI (Serial Digital Interface) signal is generated with an uncompressed audio/video signal, and on the other with connecting, hand, a compressed ASI (Asynchronous Serial Interface) signal is generated. In addition to audio and video, the ASI signal managing and includes, for example, signal streams for service information and teletext. Direct delivery over cable can take place via planning several various signal streams, which are then connected to different devices for further signal processing. In part, these signals hundred TV are conducted through IRDs, as they have to be decoded. programs, as well as with An SDI signal delivered over cable can be directly transferred as well. For further audio/video processing, the SDI signal inventorying and enters into the SDI router either from an IRD or from direct delivery. This router enables switching from inputs to outputs configuring the without changes being necessary to the wiring. In the audio leveling system, the audio signal is separated from the SDI headend devices signal (de-embedding) and the sound level is adjusted. Depending on the type of signal, additional processing steps involved. are required. In contrast to simple stereo signals, Dolby Digital signals (e.g. AC3) have to be decoded before leveling, and encoded again afterwards. The SDI signal is passed on from audio leveling, over an encoder router, to an encoder that corresponds to the video format (SD or HD). The encoder converts the signal within a multiplexing process and generates a MPEG4/AVC transport stream. This stream includes audio and video, but the EIT (Event Information Table) data required for the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) are still missing. Parallel to the audio/video processing, the ASI (Asynchronous Serial Interface) signal is conducted from the IRD to a corresponding multiplexer, in which only the SI data are processed and summarized as signals with several SI streams. These signals are analyzed in the SI subsystem, and the EIT data included in them are processed. If the TV channel does not contain any embedded SI data, such data can be uploaded via external data sources also. The SI subsystem processes all kinds of information and provides the necessary EIT data as an output signal. The EIT data and the MPEG4/ AVC stream are combined in an IP multiplexer. The complete transport stream is conducted over an IP switch to the distribution platform (e.g. Microsoft Mediaroom), and from there it is distributed to customers. Customer- Services facing Transmission path delivery platorm TV Channel distirbution platorm Internal Services receiving System audio Leveling encoding SI data processing multiplexing Ip routing Backbone access Connection Connection resource- Services facing SaT L-Band SdI Stereo SdI Sd aSI aSI SI Ip Ip distribution router dSLam Cpe matrix Ird router Levelling router encoder router muX Subsystem muX Switch Server resources Headend Core network access network Figure 2. Service tree of a full Transmission Path Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 33 IpTV channel management – Comarch’s supports the IPTV operator with planning new TV channels, approach as well as with the required headend equipment. GLOSSary: TV signals are predominantly delivered by broadcasters in The configuration of headend equipment is guaranteed by ADsL2 – various ways. They can differ, for example, with regard to Comarch Configuration Management. Device configurations are Asymmetrical Digital signal source, coding, scrambling, or video format. For this also saved and managed in the form of templates. This way, Subscriber Line 2 reason, diverse technical devices, connections, and software different templates can be created for one device and assigned packages are applied within a headend, and connected to to TV channels. Thus, it is possible, for example, to allocate ARpU – Average each other as transmission paths for TV programs, according a template to the encoder of a sports channel with its specific Revenue per User to specific channels. configuration parameters. The respective configuration of the devices is transferred to such devices using the Comarch AsI – Asynchronous Comarch offers a comprehensive solution for efficient Mediation Platform. This way, the system can automatically Serial Interface and centralized IPTV channel management. This solution carry out a complete channel connection and the adequate supports IPTV service providers with connecting, managing configuration of the devices required for the respective CA – Conditional and planning several hundred TV programs, as well as channel in the headend. Furthermore, the actual configuration Access with inventorying and configuring the headend devices of devices can be gathered and compared with the target involved. In the Comarch Resource Inventory, all headend configuration stored in the system, in order to resultantly detect CATV – Cable TV devices, their parameters, software licenses, as well as discrepancies and avoid misconfiguration of the TV channel. physical connections between the devices, are stored and Comarch OSS Process Management automates the different DsL – Digital managed. In addition to these physical objects, broadcaster operations with respect to channel connection, channel Subscriber Line information, as well as the profile data of the TV channel deactivation, and the transfer of configurations. (e.g. name, language, genre, etc.) are saved. The Comarch eIT – Event Service Inventory stores the structure of TV channels as Additionally, Comarch’s IPTV Channel Management solution Information Table service templates. A service template is modeled with can be upgraded with the Service Assurance solution. In regard to the channel characteristics and groups the various doing so, the Comarch Mediation Platform collects alarm epG – Electronic devices required for realizing a channel type. Based on these signals and performance data from headend equipment, and Program Guide service templates, new TV channels can be easily created informs the administrator about possible service impact, in as a service in the system. Furthermore, Comarch’s solution order to ensure the proper broadcasting of TV programs. h.264/MpeG-4 AVC – Advanced Video Coding KnowHow Trouble Ticketing BSS (3rd party) database system (3rd party) hbbTV – Hybrid OTheR sYsTeMs Broadcast TV hDTV – High Definition TV enhAnCeD COMMUnICATIOn BUs reusable components of Comarch OSS IpTV – Internet COMARCh Oss pROCess MAnAGeMenT Protocol Television Comarch Service Comarch resource Comarch planning Comarch Configuration Inventory management Inventory management module management authentication IRD – Integrated Service Receiver Decoder network provisioning & reconciliation ... Comarch OSS reporting pAL – Phase ... ... ... & WeB Console Service Alternating Line enhAnCeD COMMUnICATIOn BUs sDTV – Standard COMARCh Oss notification System Definition Television mediation mediation mediation mediation mediation MeDIATIOn pLATFORM & escalation repository & device device device device device (CORBA, jDBC, snMp, XML, proprietary) Service Configuration sDI – Serial Digital Interface Ird encoder Switch VDsL – Very High heADenD DeVICes emS 3rd party system neTWORk enVIROnMenT Speed Digital Subscriber Line Figure 3. Comarch’s solution for IPTV Channel Management Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 34 oss/bss features Why use Plain Old Inventory Management if you no longer sell Plain Old Telephone Services? f we look to the future of Communications service Future-proof inventory management I providers, we will see LTe technologies emerging with constantly increasing power. Among others, We live in exciting times, when some terms require The plain old the new technologies were designed to make networks redefinition. The plain old inventory management systems, inventory more flexible, adaptable and cheaper to deploy. The time seen as databases storing network element configurations management required for enabling new services shrinks from weeks to and network topology, decorated with some wizards and systems, seen as days, and maybe even hours. consistency checks, simply do not fit anymore. databases storing network element Delivering services to the customer requires several coarsely The following questions will help us to draw borders, for what configurations and grained steps being performed through different operations is future-proof inventory management. network topology, departments. These departments use dedicated systems, decorated with usually from different vendors, to perform their tasks. That’s Do you know your network? some wizards for today’s future. Today’s past relates to how all these What You See Is What You (have) Got. This well-known and consistency sophisticated and full-featured systems do not integrate acronym describes a system in which content displayed checks, simply do seamlessly. Each stores its own data (often relating to the during editing appears within the final output. In the case not fit anymore. same things) in separate databases and in different formats. of an inventory system, this applies to systems, accurately Interfaces cut out advanced functionalities, simply because reflecting important network and service structures. they are not flexible enough. The data exchange is often a (inverted) trade-off between complexity and reliability - less Unfortunately, synchronizing the state of the real network complexity, less reliability. with its virtual representation in the inventory is not a trivial Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 35 IdeaS In BrIeF: Why the ‘inventory management system’ term needs to be redefined Some useful questions that will help you recognize future- proof inventory management systems What builds the perfect ecosystem for inventory data task, for it usually involves thousands of elements being Do you control your network? scanned, and their model representation created and We do not only create plans, we also execute them. Some compared with corresponding data in the inventory. And still, plans deal with hardware to be added or dismissed, others this is the only way. with software or hardware configurations. Networks are heterogeneous organisms, built from thousands of elements Can you plan your network? from different vendors. The manifold of networks creates Every day, engineers must plan network development. problems with many vendor-specific configurations, and the They try to predict the future to satisfy growing customer only effective way to cope with it, is to configure network demands, or to prepare for large-scale events lasting several using generic models, and let the system translate it to days. In each case, they need to try out new configurations vendor-specific parlance. pAWeł sABInA in connection to the current network state, although not Comarch sA influencing it. The plans also need to be validated, yet the Can you do so in a consistent and automated way? OSS Solution Manager, character of the plans differs from that of the operational Are you aware of the details for introducing a new base Telecommunications data. Plans can be incomplete, even invalid – that’s perfectly station? Finding the location, leasehold, construction, Business Unit fine. There still, however, must be a degree of validation hardware/software deployment, configuration etc. - single allowing planners to work efficiently. tasks performed by operations departments which comprise a greater process. You should be able to define, manage, automate and optimize network and service processes, according to business and technical rules. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010 Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
    • 36 oss/bss features The unique Comarch Inventory ecosystem combination of the following With Comarch OSS Suite modules composed together, you can reply YES to all these questions. The unique combination of the Comarch OSS following Comarch OSS Suite components: Reconciliation, Inventory Management, Planning and Provisioning & Configuration Suite components: Management, build the perfect ecosystem for your inventory data. Reconciliation, Inventory And this is how: Management, Planning and Provisioning & Configuration Inventory management Inventory planning Management, build the perfect ecosystem for your inventory data. plan Inventory Operational Generic model + vendor-specific data data network State delta ion liat nci o provis urationt rec Configgemen mana ioning & Live network State (Generic) Conversion Each stores its own data in separate Vendor specific data databases and in different formats. Interfaces cut process Technician Live network out advanced State (Vendor functionalities, specific) simply because they are not flexible enough. Sca nni ng network Figure 1. Comarch Inventory ecosystem Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • oss/bss features 37 knowing the network… modules work with two layers of element parameters: You should be To know the network, means to have an insight into its very generic – homogenous for the given element type, and able to define, workings. Comarch’s Reconciliation component is able to vendor-specific. In this way, inventory management tasks manage, automate scan the network, employing a rich mediation layer. can be performed the same way, regardless of who delivers and optimize the equipment. Such generic parameters are automatically network and Accurate inventory requires continuous scanning of the transformed to vendor-specific configuration. In this way, service processes, network in search of changes. Indeed, LTE claims network inventory management tasks can be performed the same according to equipment of the future will report their statuses over the way, regardless of who delivers the equipment. Nevertheless, business and common Northbound Interface. At this moment, however – specific vendor configurations are also stored in the technical rules. and in the near future – we will still rely on network scanning. inventory, and thus are accessible if needed. The necessary Comarch reconciliation employs powerful multi-vendor simplifications are introduced on purpose: resignation of mediation, so you will never need to work with an outdated some vendor-specific attributes helps achieving business network inventory. This also has business implications. benefits: reduced CAPEX - no need to buy separate vendor- Accurate inventory leads to reduced OPEX, through better specific software; reduced OPEX - due to less onsite visits organization of tasks and limiting unnecessary onsite visits. and simplified configuration. planning the network… In an automated and controlled way Comarch OSS Planning seamlessly integrates with inventory All the aforementioned components of the Comarch components. This means you can plan using accurate data OSS Suite cooperate perfectly, in terms of data flow, and from an operational inventory. Moreover, planned executions the natural consequence of this is wrapping all these can be verified (and measured), because the inventory components (and activities) with processes. OSS processes always contains accurate data – thanks to the Reconciliation are, by nature long-running - lasting hours, days, months component. or in many cases, years. Their elements vary from highly detailed tasks manipulating data in the inventory, to coarsely Planning is a long-running process, and you can expect grained types, like invoking services to tasks performed by incomplete or even invalid data within them. On the other humans. Comarch’s processes integrate seamlessly with all hand, plans are made on an operational inventory, which Comarch OSS Suite components, acting as a central point treats invalid data as errors. To cope with this dual-opposing of management and automation. And from the business assumption, Comarch Inventory employs multilevel perspective, you should be able to remove ‘the integration validation; a configurable set of check-rules reporting issues tax’ (cost and time inefficiencies created by disintegrated depending on the network context (operational, planning, systems) from business processes, and provide enhanced strategic). integration and improved efficiency of these processes. No more forgotten tasks, nor work duplication. Controlling the network… Controlling a network, consisting of thousands of network Inventory management system revisited elements, from different vendors, in a consistent way is only This paper highlights that we can no longer refer to an possible using umbrella systems. Such systems employ inventory management system as a slightly more intelligent dedicated mediators for particular network element types. database for network element configurations. The bleeding This seems like the perfect solution, yet to be so, another edge inventory system is merely an organism of perfectly level of abstraction is needed. Furthermore, bringing all the connected components, building a data ecosystem. This is mediators under the hut is surely cost-effective, but it doesn’t especially valid in the context of upcoming LTE deployments necessarily resolve the problem of many vendor-specific which, to fully exploit their features, will require powerful configurations. In the case of Comarch Reconciliation and Operation Support Systems. Provisioning & Configuration Management, it does. These Comarch Inventory employs multilevel validation; a configurable set of check-rules reporting issues depending on the network context (operational, planning, strategic). Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 38 telCosPhere blog Unlimited data plans – disappearing into extinction? Many operators have already removed their offerings of unlimited mobile data plans, and replaced them with new plans that have a monthly data quota (in the case that the quota is exceeded by the subscriber, an additional fee is paid to the operator). The reason for the removal of such unlimited data plans, is because data service revenues are not covering the network investment and maintenance costs for handling the growing amount of traffic. While traffic expansion for mobile data services can reach bandwidth) via a revenue-sharing scenario, where the 50% CAGR until the year 2014, the actual revenue growth from operator charges a specific fee from the service provider. pekkA VALITALO data services may only amount to 13% CAGR for the same Comarch sA time period (source: OVUM). On the other hand, the removal of unlimited data plans brings BSS Market Analyst, additional revenue opportunities for operators. Mobile data Telecommunications The subscribers already used to the “freedom” of unlimited offerings can be customized, basing on individual subscriber Business Unit data plans may of course be annoyed by such a change habits. For example, expect to see the following types of (e.g. no more video streaming). Despite the fact that promotions in the near future: “6 hours of smartphone web current contracts will not usually be affected (thus, existing surfing for 10 EUR per month”, “Facebook-only mobile data customers still have the chance to benefit from limitless data services for 5 EUR per month” and “2 hours of YouTube usage until the end of the contract period), new subscribers viewing (with high bandwidth and no latency) for 8 EUR will have the “privilege” of choosing a new, limited data plan, per month”. These examples can be offered as an add-on and will potentially have to change their usage habits. service, or as an individual data service. A customer may only be interested in using his smartphone for updating his Introduction of a monthly data quota will also have an Facebook status, as opposed to using it for visiting other effect on the businesses of third party service providers. websites too. For example, streaming services such as YouTube and Spotify will suffer from the data caps, because subscribers Are you willing to pay extra for your favorite services? Will will have to pay more attention to their mobile data usage. the removal of unlimited data plans affect your smartphone Of course, third party service providers can cooperate usage habits? with the operators (e.g. video on-demand with guaranteed Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • telCosPhere blog 39 Murphy’s Law in 21st century telecommunications A thought-provoking thing occurred during the TM Forum webinar I led last week on a cloud computing CRM solution. Both I and the other moderators were dialed-in to a conference bridge, each of us calling from a different country (the audience was connected via a live audio stream). When I finished my segment of the presentation, the other presenter started his part. pAWeL LAMIk Comarch sA CRM and Self Care Product Manager, Telecommunications Business Unit After perhaps 30 or 40 seconds, his connection was lost. As made more interactive (as it stands, the typical webinar this was a live event, I had to take over and continue with his format is one-to-many communication, with questions slides until the end of the show. It was an exciting experience. from the audience posed via chat) Thank goodness I had reviewed the slides beforehand. Afterwards, I had an afterthought: Alas, 21st century communications is still surprisingly far from being perfect. Connections are lost. Trust gets Murphy’s Law is alive and well – always be prepared for undermined. I’m not surprised webinar organizers the least probable occurrence. Fight the thinking: it’s so conservatively require the call to be made on a fixed, unlikely to happen, not now, not today, not to me non-VoIP phone, due to the required high reliability and extensive quality. Think about it when you have an 21st century communications is great – take online important call to make meetings – people from different countries and time zones can gather, share thoughts and exchange ideas, Have you ever had a similar experience? What is your view on without even leaving their desk. I do think, however, this matter? that the webinar formula should be developed and Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 40 telCosPhere blog Why doing your laundry can be a lot like talking on the phone Companies representing the energy industry are focusing more and more on telecommunications, including us and the things we do. One might think that our industry kRzYszTOF fascinates them, because as their sector develops, they begin to see similarities between kWIATkOWskI Comarch sA their own business and the world of telecommunications. You may be wondering: how does BSS Product Manager, voice even remotely relate to electricity? Where are the similarities? Telecommunications Business Unit Yet there are many. Even if you are not currently able to see We turn on the light or the TV and everything works. The them very clearly, they may well soon emerge. electrical meter rotates more quickly or slowly, yet we do not analyze it or view it as a complicated process. Beyond We all realize how vast the industry related to production, individual users, there are larger consumers of energy, transmission and retail of electrical energy is. Everybody such as factories, supermarkets and various others. both benefits from and pays for it. Sometimes these bills are Large enterprises do not use the same amount of energy higher than those you receive from your telecom operator. all the time, either. All of this leads to the point that the Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • telCosPhere blog 41 overall consumption of energy, on a nationwide scale, to use it during the working week. How it will actually affect is highly changeable. One day it may increase, and the the balancing of energy usage remains to be seen. There is next decrease. It also differs from one time of the day to one more thing, however. another. However, power plants produce energy relatively steadily, and turning its individual grids on and off is in fact The second similarity lies in the introduction of new complicated and costly. Therefore, there are some attempts regulations for the energy industry by the EU. It creates clear to predict energy consumption for the following day. Various segmentation into energy manufacturers, energy network factors are taken into account, even the weather forecasts. operators and energy suppliers, who sell energy. When It’s quite obvious - when the weather is cloudy or it rains, discussing the similarity to the world of telecommunications, people turn the lights on, when it is hot, they turn on the I was referring to the latter. Energy suppliers purchase air conditioning. Nonetheless, there are always some energy from the manufacturers and transmit it via a “rented” shortages or surpluses of energy on the market. Both cause network. The deregulation means that new suppliers can be enormous losses, because the surplus of electrical energy established freely, and can compete with each other on the cannot be cumulated and used when faced with shortages. common market. There is a similarity here, as deregulation Furthermore, gigantic batteries do not exist. of the telecom market led to increased competition among operators, also. This leads on to the concept that scientists are currently working on entitled “smart grids”. These are somewhat It would be fairly difficult to convince someone that “our substantial revolutionary measures for the entire system of electricity is better”. The main factor will be the price; or transmitting and receiving energy, which I will not describe rather its adjustment to our individual needs through special in detail. For many energy recipients in Europe, the first offers/discounts, or weekend and evening rates etc. When perceptible symptom of introducing smart grids is the this finally happens, the offers of energy suppliers may well exchange of electrical meters for so called smart meters. become more comparable to those of telecom operators, These are electrical meters that measure the usage of will come in packages and will be customized to consumers’ energy at a given moment, and then send this information to needs. Perhaps one day we will receive free energy minutes a central device. As a result, people or companies are able to for doing our laundry at the weekend? Almost everything pay for energy usage according to their exact consumption that goes on in relation to formulating private and corporate (as opposed to the current situation – according to certain offers in telecommunications is closely monitored by energy annual estimates). Also, it will enable the diversification of suppliers. energy prices depending on the time of day. How the market will develop and how we will pay for energy And it is here where the first similarity to the usage, will depend on development in each country, telecommunications world is visible. individually. Have you ever wondered why operators never offer “cheap For example, in Italy, smart metering has been working Wednesday” tariffs, whilst they do advertise “cheap for some time now for the majority of the population, with weekends” or “cheap evenings”? Initially, this was due to the an energy provider capable of remotely turning the power fact that the network was not being used by large companies on and off for the customer, detecting service outage or at these times, meaning they could be offered to private unauthorized usage of electricity, setting the maximum customers – and at the same time it encouraged them to amount of energy that the customer may consume at any use the network at these specific times more frequently time, and remotely switching price plans between credit, than during the day. Further down the line, network usage prepaid, flat-rate and others. Doesn’t it remind you of the problems were no longer a problem and it evolved into a telecommunications sphere? purely marketing-driven activity. I mean, who would decide to go for a tariff with “cheap Wednesdays”? In addition, similarities are also visible in the technologies employed, for example, the idea to use telecommunications Introducing this novel means of measuring energy usage signaling (SIP, to be specific) as “signaling for electricity”. could render it possible (through the diversification of prices) These are, in fact, not only ideas – there are numerous to encourage people to e.g. do their washing at the weekend studies on this topic and a vast array of real cases. However, and save energy during the week, thus allowing companies there are technical issues that require discussion elsewhere. Telco Sphere blog - a place to share ideas on the developments in the telecom world: telcosphere.comarch.com Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 42 teChnology & innovation Performance in action ustomers require a better quality of software. This is true. However, we are obliged to search for the most C They also need improved performance of business processes. high availability is a standard effective method of system testing, every day. requirement. It calls for more and more testing. how do In July 2010, in accordance with this concept, Comarch you perform increased testing in a more diversified test ran a set of tests at the IBM Innovation Center, on the key environment? elements of the Comarch BSS Suite platform. For Comarch, it is of paramount importance to provide bug- The tests performed on the Linux platform, incur the following free software to its customers. Any qualified specialist in the conclusions: software testing industry could tell you that this is impossible without increasing the costs of testing to the highest level. Low-cost hardware suffices (and is ready for use on an enterprise level) for typical Tier 1 and Tier 2 communication service providers. It is highly important that the architecture of the Comarch The tested hardware configuration displayed sYLWesTeR BSS Suite platform allows scalability. However, it is also a significant margin of performance OskWARek important to analyze the system periodically. When Comarch SA it is growing, new processes are designed and new • Tests were performed using low-cost servers, typical User Experience Manager, functionalities are added, and the architects of the of most data centers currently operating: HS22 Blade Business Development platform have to think about how to avoid degradation Servers (2x X5570 processors) with Linux as an Center of performance. Comarch performs such monitoring operating system. The servers were equipped with and analyzes even the smallest changes to hardware only 25% of possible RAM configuration and the data model. • The virtual storage used for testing was based on the IBM® XIV Storage System®, which was equipped Paweł Kasza with only 72 discs (180 discs being the possible Senior BSS Engineer maximum). Testing utilized only 15% of the maximum Comarch I/O performance available for this configuration Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • teChnology & innovation 43 The whole billing cycle (five substantial processes) was when Comarch CRM for Telecoms is loaded by hundreds tested for 2, 5, 10 and 20 million postpaid subscribers. of concurrent users, whilst simultaneously rating the IBM Innovation Process performance showcased linear scalability processes of tens of millions of subscribers’ when Comarch Center (IIC) in Convergent Billing is running. For testing, we defined a typical Warsaw offers a Testing highlighted that excessive billing cycle configuration of tariff plans with voice, sMs, MMs and data wealth of resources processing (20 million subscribers) has no impact for both corporate and individual customers, including including technical on the CRM system. The response times of the CRM roaming and non-roaming events. expertise, marketing screens for when the billing processes were running and sales facilities and were stopped, were identical We value the concept of the IBM Innovation Centers, which and skills, access states: “Test with us, not on the customer”. We tested the to IBM hardware For 400 concurrent sessions, all average response Comarch BSS Suite platform with several different hardware and software, as times for the CRM screens were below 0.5 seconds configurations and levels of data in the databases. well as training (the results were irrespective of the number of opportunities. subscribers in the database) We also tested the high availability under the huge load of Business partners the system. For example, we tested crashing of the master and customers The performance of real-time charging did not indicate server of Comarch Real Time Charging and switchover to the can visit IIC to host a dependence on the number of prepaid subscribers in replica. Following the crash of the server, we measured the lead generation the system, however it showcased linear scalability time required for system recovery. Also, after the restart, we and sales closure tested the switchover from replica to master server again. meetings, One HS22 server (2x X5570 processors, 24GB RAM) During these tests, the replica was loaded continuously by collaborate sufficed for processing 5 million subscribers at thousands of transactions per second. The results were with local IBM a speed of 5200 transactions per second. To process as expected. The master server was restarted and the sales teams, IT more subscribers using the same performance, it thousands of calls were switched from replica to the master. consultants and was sufficient to extend RAM without changing the industry subject processors When the tests ran within normal operation of the system matter experts, who incurred acceptable results, we started to measure system are ready to provide The BHCA1 for real-time charging was 9.36 million performance and scalability when the amount of data to hands-on support be processed was increased. It is a common situation in for the development the software industry that the performance of the system projects. how the tests were performed? calibrated at the beginning decreases as the amount of data grows. The algorithms have to process more data, the functions ibm.com/pl/iic Prior to testing at the IBM Innovation Center we ran a set of in the systems are executed significantly more times, and the in-house tests. These indicated that an extremely low-cost final result is that the system works more slowly. Therefore, this solution, for 1 million subscribers, is possible using Comarch test is very important in a real life scenario. Convergent Billing and that the entire billing cycle, with PC-class computer, lasts no more than 24 hours. The solution Tested platform: Comarch BSS Suite is sufficient for most start-up operators. Tested elements of the platform: It was very important for us to run the tests with complex architecture and configuration. We wanted to ensure for Comarch Convergent Billing our customers that there is no impact on performance Comarch Real Time Charging When the new version of the system is tested, it can be Comarch CRM for Telecoms assumed with very high certainty that hidden problems will start to reveal themselves. A more diverse test environment increases the likelihood of their detection. Comarch’s engineers spent 6 weeks at the IBM Innovation Center running hundreds of Therefore, following our own testing at the Comarch Data tests. The support of the IBM hardware specialists was invaluable. Furthermore, all of the Center we ran heavy load and performance tests at the work carried out for the customer ensured the quality of the system, which guaranteed IIC. The probability of finding a bug in Comarch Real Time smoothness and performance management by parameters, thus minimizing the possibilities Charging has to be decreased to an absolute minimum. of over-scaled infrastructure. Krzysztof Kwiatkowski Product Manager of the Comarch BSS Suite, Comarch 1 BHCA – Busy Hours Call Attempts Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 44 teChnology & innovation Improving the scalability of modern web-based software systems owadays, the scalability of software systems, (actor model), distributed task execution and dispersed data n considered as their ability to handle growing amounts of work, is of great importance. Modern, storage. web-based applications should often handle thousands of requests per second, and it’s impossible to achieve this scala – a scalable language throughput without rapidly-operating hardware and well- designed systems with the ability to be enlarged. Methods Scala is a modern, multi-paradigm programming language of adding more hardware resources for use by applications, designed to ease the writing of highly-concurrent applications. fall into two categories: improving one physical node by It was created in 2001, by Martin Odersky, and its popularity replacing a processor with the most rapid version and among Java programmers is rising. Scala programs are adding more memory (which is known as vertical scaling compiled to Java classes, and run on JVM. Scala code can or scale-up) and augmenting more physical nodes to the be invoked from Java and vice versa, which allows seamless system, or increasing the number of processors on every integration of Scala modules in existing Java applications, and node (horizontal scaling or scale-out). Vertical scaling is using well-known Java libraries in Scala. WOjCIeCh highly limited (because of Moore’s law), so to achieve true DURCzYńskI scalability, the system must be designed to work on many Scala was designed to express common programming Comarch SA physical machines with multiple processors. There are patterns in a concise, elegant and type-safe way. It supports Software Developer, many concepts regarding how to cluster applications and multiple inheritance (by using mixin classes – traits), has Telco BSS R&D allow them to grow in response to the greater demands mechanisms for avoiding nulls, a great collections library, of processing throughput. Some of them include scalable powerful implicit conversions and many other improvements. programming language, an event-driven concurrency model Also, Scala as a hybrid object-functional language, grants Vertical scaling is highly limited ImdG (because of Moore’s law), so to achieve true relational dB scalability, the application nodes system must be designed to work on many physical machines with multiple application processors. node reverse proxy nOn SCaLaBLe arCHITeCTure SCaLaBLe arCHITeCTure Figure 1. Difference between the scalable and non-scalable architecture. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • teChnology & innovation 45 the ability to define functions as variables, pass functions distributed databases allows storing petabytes of data on If an application to other functions as arguments, and to take advantage thousands of physical nodes, which is impossible to achieve is written in of pattern matching. All these features of Scala make with relational sql-based databases. a scalable and programming easier, and allow for shorter and simpler code. distributed format, usually one The concurrency model in Scala is based on Erlang’s actor In Memory Data Grids – extremely rapid bottleneck remains model, which treats “actors” as the universal primitives data access – a database. of concurrent digital computation. “Actors” share no state information with each other. Instead, they communicate by Another solution enabling data distribution is In Memory exchanging immutable messages. By eliminating the need to Data Grids (IMDG). They are very similar to distributed synchronize access to shared, mutable states, it is far easier databases, but hold the data in memory. This allows them to write robust, concurrent applications. to be extremely rapid, but restricts data size to the amount of RAM on all physical nodes that create an IMDG cluster. The most interesting distributed memory databases are Akka – powerful actor model Oracle Coherence (commercial), Hazelcast (open source) reFerenCeS: and JBoss Infinispan (open source). IMDG nodes can usually Another powerful implementation of the actor model is be embedded in an application, and do not require separate Scala contained in Akka. Akka extends Scala’s actor model and dedicated servers. Besides providing quick data access, http://www.scala-lang. allows for fine-tuning actors in a desirable manner. Some of IMDG often provides additional functionality. For example, org/ the new additions that Akka provides include supervision Hazelcast provides the implementation of a distributed of actors (restarting them in the case of failure), changing Executor Service, easy-to-use http session clustering, and Akka actors’ behavior in response to messages, and load encrypted communication between nodes. http://akkasource.org/ balancing messages between actors grouped in a pool. Akka also enables creating remote actors transparently, Apache and contains an implementation of Software Transactional Reverse proxy – load balancing and Cassandra Memory (STM) based on Multiverse. STM turns a Java heap security for web applications http://cassandra. into a transactional data set, and assures atomic and apache.org/ consistent modifications of it. Akka provides API in Scala and Last, but not least, for a solution that helps improving in Java, and so can be used successfully, even without Scala. the scalability of web-based software systems a reverse HBase proxy can be used. If the system is composed of many http://hbase.apache. nodes, the proxy allows balancing the load between them, org/ Distributed Databases – the best way of and automatically switches HTTP traffic to a different storing huge amounts of data node when one goes down. This allows disabling certain Google BigTable application nodes, and upgrades them unnoticeably. Proxy http://labs.google.com/ If an application is written in a scalable and distributed also improves security by separating applications from the papers/bigtable.html format, usually one bottleneck remains - a database. Internet, and providing numerous security improvements Very often, all data is stored in one place (for example, in like: introducing HTTPS, recognition of SQL Injection, DoS Hazelcast an Oracle database) and cannot be easily divided into and other popular attacks, access filtering based on IP or http://www.hazelcast. unrelated pieces, mostly because of aggregated queries geographical location of the client, and many others. One com/ used in reporting. Even if the database server is extremely of the most powerful reverse proxy implementations is fast, it can’t process queries as quickly as distributed data embedded in the Apache Http Server (open source). JBoss Infinispan storage would. To bypass this restriction some distributed http://www.jboss.org/ databases were implemented. The most important of these There are other ways of improving the scalability of web- infinispan/ are Cassandra (used by Facebook, open source), BigTable based applications, in addition to the aforementioned. Their (based on the Google File System and used by Google, usefulness depends on the chosen application model. For Oracle Coherence proprietary) and HBase (based on the Hadoop File System, small, real-time web systems, considerable improvements http://www.oracle. open source). These databases are designed to work in include IMDG for improving data access speed, and a reverse com/us/products/ a fail-safe manner, among many physical nodes, and using proxy for heightening reliability. For large, multi-user systems middleware/coherence/ them significantly improves the scalability of applications. with many physical nodes and high amounts of data, using index.html Distributed databases are usually non-sql databases, and a distributed database seems a wise choice. Scalable provide a map-like interface for reading and writing data. language and the actor model improve the readability and Apache Http Server They also commonly provide map-reduce implementations supportability of any application, and are undoubtedly http://httpd.apache.org/ for fast aggregation queries involving all data. Using recommended. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • 46 CoMMentary Relation after Comarch BSS/CRM/OSS Workshops in Stockholm Local workshops presenting a vendor’s portfolio and From the OSS point of view, the most interesting technical capabilities are a great supplement to global events such issues for future discussions were related to comprehensive as trade shows or forums (like Mobile World Congress or Next Generation Network & Service Management systems MARCIn MIzGALskI Telemanagement World in Nice). Considering that global as well as the Service Assurance approach and QoS policies Comarch sA events limit the number of participants (usually targeting the for mobile traffic. In turn, the BSS session exposed areas of Business Development CXO level, or being either too big or too general), the focus of interest such as Master Resource Management and Central Manager, presentations is often quite diversified. On the other hand, Product Catalogue, solutions for supporting M2M business Telecommunications local events offer the possibility to invite engineers interested cases and Convergent CRM. Business Unit in a particular subject matter and provide a way to overcome logistical obstacles (meetings organized in an operator’s city, Furthermore, attendance by customers using Comarch no travel restrictions). solutions and services was very helpful for the rest of the participants, as it gave them an opportunity to verify Workshops were organized for the first time on the Comarch’s quality of cooperation with its business partners. Scandinavian market and took place in the spring of 2010 in Stockholm. The agenda, divided into two separate sessions The workshops in Scandinavia have certainly helped us (OSS on the first day and BSS/CRM on the second day), to improve the processes involved in making such events allowed Comarch to introduce its portfolio, focus on specific more efficient and interesting for technical engineers. business cases and present how the design of particular Such an approach is being continued this year in the DACH modules can suit various business cases. Such an approach and Benelux regions. Following a positive feedback from helped participants better understand the capabilities of participants, we will endeavor to organize a second edition of our solutions, the experience of engineers, and allowed the workshops in Scandinavia next year. participants to consider new challenges and possibilities in the telecommunications market. This professional and technical focus involved participants in active discussions and served to help identify services for future elaboration. Comarch Technology Review 02/2010
    • resources hot topics Case studies The ideas and insights of Comarch experts that make us one of the industry’s thought leaders. Browse online the recent white papers, watch the webcasts and tune to our blog. telecoms.comarch.com
    • showing ROI on service 3G investments bundling showing return Migration on short-term to 4G/LTe investments Cost Increase your reduction ARpU Managing B2B CustoMers partnerships M2M Mobile broadband Managing new services Dealing with excessive pricing data consumption Dont’ lose focus on what is really important – YOUR CUsTOMeRs The communications market is constantly changing – there are more and more areas in your business that require professional support. With 17 years of experience Comarch is able to help you answer the current challenges and address them with a solution that is best suited to a particular area. Our OSS/BSS systems have already helped many operators worldwide. We will assist you with managing all your business areas so you can stay focused on your customers. COMARCh – sOLUTIOns FOCUseD On CUsTOMeRs TeLeCOM-sOLUTIOns.COMARCh.COM