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Addressing the expanding need for

Media Processing in telecoms networks

A Disruptive Analysis thought-leadership paper
Sponsored by:

November 2013
Author: Dean Bubley
Contact: information@disruptive-analysis.com

© Disruptive Analysis Ltd, November 2013

Media Processing White Paper

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This also fits with the increasingly-popular concept of network function virtualisation (NFV). the opportunity to create shared MP resources. The market for both voice and video is fragmenting in numerous ways. it will need a willingness to experiment to create these new offerings cheaply and effectively. or centric API initiative. or creating new ones – it will be necessary to consider MP as a specific fundamental building-block. As operators adopt more forms of IP communications – either transitioning old services to all-IP networks. which can service traditional requirements such as IMS/VoLTE. it makes sense to deploy shared and virtualised MP servers that can be re-used for different purposes as required. Competitors to telcos will certainly look to cloud-based platforms pragmatically for the more complex capabilities. While this is a hugely exciting trend and will drive numerous service creation or development opportunities. telco-OTT propositions. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 2 . in the cloud). their need for media processing involvement – and their rates of growth – are hard to predict. and may also reflect the need for intelligent location and management of MP elements for best latency and transport traffic minimisation. Obviously. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. and optimise its deployment where possible. or could fit with the service dovetail with a developer- Either way. whether the within the telco itself. which will lead to multiple stakeholder groups and business units within operators working on IP communications in tandem. WebRTC is a particular enabler of the “democratisation” of voice and video services. seems to be a compelling concept. and operators will need to follow suit. Note: This document has been commissioned by Radisys. Disruptive Analysis has retained full editorial control over the content and stance. reflecting many operators’ moves especially towards WebRTC. as the exact communications applications. but the general principle seems elegant and worth deeper investigation. the devil is in the detail.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume Introduction This document considers the evolving role of media processing (MP) capabilities in telecom networks. cloud services and developer platforms. plus new innovations around WebRTC and beyond. and in particular we should expect the integration of communications within websites and apps as well. We are seeing the emergence of numerous models for human realtime connectivity. but represents the independent & consistent viewpoint of Disruptive Analysis (as at time of publication). It is also useful to consider the concept of MPaaS (MP capabilities are offered just to internal customer units externally to 3rd parties on a pay-per-use basis. The main argument is that flexibility and scalability are paramount for MP. but also considering synergy with IMS services. Rather than recreate MP functions for each new service or application. This provider’s broader IaaS/PaaS cloud service portfolio. in stark contrast to the telecoms industry history of one or two main well-defined standalone services.

as operators look to leverage investments in NGN or IMS infrastructure. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. This may provide a catalyst for adoption of other services beyond “vanilla telephony”. over the next few years. End users are now clearly happy to experiment with (and sometimes pay for) new forms of communication. The continued growth of services such as Skype. typically as they evolve to either fibre (fixed) or LTE (mobile). Enterprise business units of telcos have perhaps re-sold third party videoconferencing. voicemail. and maybe provided unified communications and call centre propositions as well. potentially yielding a sudden diversity and fragmentation of the communications space. the telecoms industry has delivered standardised voice and data “products” very well – phone calls. or even the use of in-game chat in multi-player games is a strong indicator that customers have transcended “the phone call”.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume Background: fragmentation of communications Historically. However. at least in certain circumstances. the IP mediaprocessing needs have been broadly static and predictable. As a result. users seem willing to exploit video communications. in reality there has been little concrete emerging from most operators. SMS. Google Hangouts. predominantly on fixed broadband and in the wholesale domain. call-centre services and centrex in some markets. And increasingly. recently there have been signs that this might be about to change. And carrier VoIP has been adopted only slowly. Figure 1: Communications is fragmenting from historic monolithic silos Standalone calls Circuit IP Embedded app/web calls Non-call comms Source: Disruptive Analysis There are several reasons for this:   Telcos are adopting IP-based communications anyway. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 3 . audioconferencing. Although many telecoms companies have discussed the possibility of integrating real time communications features (especially telephony) with various IT or web applications. both in business and consumer segments.

it is critically important to get the speech and visual streams coordinated and in sync. in order to create a particular function or service. picture size and bit rate adaptation are required for effective communication. There is also still quite a lot of Adobe Flash media used. Something similar seems about to happen to voice as well. Apidaze and others are offering APIs and development kits for the creation of advanced communications services. As they transit the network. or some measure of convergence of these domains. the streams may pick up different delays and latencies. Firms such as Twilio. either voice. and legacy interworking and enabling communication between users. Fragmentation of codecs between standards. enterprise communications systems.. which again will require translation to/from WebRTC. the ability to normalise frame rates. Taken together. especially as some evidence suggests that younger users are finding the interruptive nature of phone calls anathema and intrusive. Although WebRTC is hoping to standardise on certain codecs (this is highly contentious). optimising bandwith. with videoconferencing. and so need to be recombined properly (perhaps buffering one part) to make the end-resulting video/voice call acceptable. and whether the landscape will be characterised by carrier versus Internet competition. it involves a network element working with a stream of “media” (ie voice or video packets etc) and applying business rules (via applications) and treatments (enhancing voice or video quality). For example. the messaging industry has witnessed a huge explosion of alternative approaches.or video-based. WebRTC allows various disparate units of operators to experiment with voice and video. and whether or not we will continue to expect widespread interoperability between the different services. although there are few obvious success stories so far. In general. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. the actual applications of “media processing” can sometimes be obscure and hard to grasp. beyond traditional SMS.265 and VP9. It can also be used to extend carrier services beyond the traditional coverage areas to create scale and utility. these seem to indicate that we are close to a tipping-point. Certainly. What does media processing involve? For many not directly involved with it on a daily basis. regardless of which device and client. These platform vendors are often cooperating with telecoms firms (and some have even been acquired by carriers). November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 4 . platform choices. a promising signal that brings together some interesting hybrid propositions. rather than remain dependent on the traditional core network team and basic services as building blocks. which seem to have captured the imaginations of both developers and (in some cases) telcos. Tropo. Even between clients using the same codec. there will definitely be cases where a stream needs to be connected to another system such as the PSTN.Disruptive Analysis   Don’t Assume A new tier of “cloud telephony” service providers have emerged. or perhaps powerful Internet “islands” such as Skype or Microsoft. is one aspect of this capability. It reduces the bar to integrating communications “in context” with websites or mobile apps. such as H. What remains unclear is how fast the shift will happen. There will also be new emerging codecs which will be adopted over time. (WebRTC is considered in greater depth below). Another very important function is transcoding. This may enable competition with pure Internet/app players.

for example . as well as innovative ideas around mixing of streams or even extending the idea of “media” to data applications such as sensors and telemetry. more need to interconnect disparate platforms. It should empower millions of developers to embed interactive sessions into web-pages with just a few lines of Javascript. and without the need for often-flaky media plug-ins like Flash. In Disruptive Analysis’ view. If media processing becomes available in the cloud as a network service. and able to work even when firewalls are in the way.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume Other functions might include recording content. But overall. the indications seem to suggest that a good proportion of the new applications will transit some sort of cloud or core network infrastructure. There are likely to be more codecs. not all communications applications will need extra MP resource – some WebRTC sessions are set up directly as P2P from one browser to another. dealing with noisy background distractions and so forth.in the context of rich data from the relevant web page/site . There may be value in equalising the volume levels of the various participants on a conference call. and also the fact that it works in two “modes”: © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. More than 4 billion devices should support WebRTC (or something closely similar) by the end of 2016. providing Web application developers with powerful but easy to use capabilities for innovative services. subtitles and so forth could also be very useful. Much like in traditional telecom services. Championed by Google and many of the leading telecom operators and vendors. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 5 . more desire to do analytics on voice and video. Inserting adverts. This is especially true for mobile devices. accessible via Web oriented APIs. it promises to be the catalyst for many of the promised new forms of voice and video communications. Why is WebRTC so important? Disruptive Analysis believes that WebRTC (a W3C/IETF standard for realtime communications on the web) is one of the most disruptive and pivotal shifts in telecoms technology in a decade. at which point MP resources might be applied. for which the browser-to-browser model appears to have significant limitations – various other ways to integrate voice and video are appearing already. and obviously just deal with the sheer extra bulk of video traffic as well as new forms of voice communication beyond basic “phone calls”. At its most basic level. the “web services” model of consumption of these resources can be enabled. media-processing is also a fertile ground for developer innovation – it’s quite possible to imagine an audio or video equivalent of Instagram. playing/inserting other snippets of voice and video into a stream. without intervening servers or gateways. But this belies its sophistication. applying quality enhancements to voice or video (eg echo cancellation or changing image contrast/brightness) and so forth. applying filters or other dynamic effects to audio and video. It is designed to be secure. Any additional processing in that situation will be done locally on the device. it is often described as allowing the creation of Skype-type experiences in a web browser . Potentially. there is likely to be an increasing need for media processing in future.rather than a separate application. tolerant of network glitches.

and also has various presentations available on Slideshare. WebRTC appears to have a much greater chance of success. Firstly. without the media streams going via a gateway or server in the middle. See here for details). the user might “click to speak directly to an adviser knowledgeable about hotels in Venice”. which can link together multiple users. online telehealth consultations. telco. it is being pulled along by such a broad array of separate groups of applications – enterprise. where the connection just goes directly from user to user. even M2M – that it is insulated from practical problems or delays with one group individually. While various similar attempts have been made before to create communications APIs (notably Adobe Flash Media). Disruptive Analysis publishes detailed reports on this topic. The technology is still undergoing standardisation. approachable and fast – it encourages prototyping and experimentation. IMS. such as enterprise contact centres. It is also accessible through non-native WebRTC browsers via plug ins. entertainment. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 6 . Transit via a server or gateway. but is already appearing in commercial use-cases in pre-standard form. and used in mobile apps and even directly in specific devices as well. consumer web. (A full analysis of the market and use-cases for WebRTC is outside the scope of this paper. Thirdly. conferencing and many more. especially the core “media engine” donated by Google. Lastly. Oct 2013 WebRTC report update © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. fixing problems as they arise rather than waiting for the “official” version. Secondly. add value to the media flows through processing. UC) and act as the pivot for a range of monetisable business models. Figure 2: Installed base of WebRTC-supporting devices. its direct integration with the web allows communications to be coordinated with “context” – rather than “click to call”. much of the basic “machinery” is available free and opensource. m Source: Disruptive Analysis. interconnect with other systems (eg PSTN. for example. It is supported by PC and Android versions of Firefox and Chrome browsers.Disruptive Analysis   Don’t Assume Peer-to-peer. the WebRTC ecosystem and standards domain is very open.

plus assorted WebRTC cloud platforms/SDKs for developers. There is now a lot of momentum around “putting voice and video into mobile apps. or alternatively with more “hardcore” developers just using the components to create their own home-brewed RTC solution. There are enough useful open-source bits (eg the media-engine. Figure 3: WebRTC key use-case status. or a variety of M2M and P2P-type use cases. encryption and firewall standards). The actual specific “purity” of WebRTC is starting to look less relevant. All things being equal. but how/where? Few industry observers doubt that video communications (in its broadest sense) will become much more important in coming years. that the Javascript API is not actually necessary in some cases. That will likely fuel a parallel need for various types of media processing. There will likely be many surprised with WebRTC DataChannel in coming years. It is as yet unclear whether such data might also be classed as “media” from the perspective of the MP capabilities of the network. This could be web-page components between browsers.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume But perhaps the best indicator of its success – paradoxically – is that the “standard” approach is already fragmenting. sensor data. Disruptive Analysis believes this may further drive demand for media processing in WebRTC. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 7 . and perhaps also get gatewayed to other systems. Oct 2013 WebRTC report update Another angle to WebRTC is that it allows the streaming of realtime data as well as voice and video traffic. One side-effect of this will be that browser-browser P2P uses of WebRTC may get overtaken by non-browser cases that transit servers. As a result WebRTC – or at least its very close relatives – is moving outside the browser into 3rd-party APIs for embedding voice/video easily into apps. Pragmatism is winning over dogmatism. Unlike voice communications – which starts © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. Video will be more important. What remains unclear is exactly which use-cases will grow fastest and furthest – and precisely the best ways to deliver them. Oct’13 Source: Disruptive Analysis. even though Apple doesn’t directly support WebRTC”.

will that be carried out on the device itself. a virtual “window” linking offices in London & New York. or linked to dedicated hardware? 1-to-1. or will there be a broad need for interconnection (and therefore transcoding and other functions)? How much video communications will be driven by IMS platforms. Adoption of a new codec – or new screen resolution – could occur almost overnight. exporters. One or more services may suddenly experience viral adoption as well. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 8 . particularly fitting with VoLTE functions and value-add services. 4G. or as a facilitator or hub for thirdparties. it could work as an MRF for IMS applications. or groups? Will we see “mashups” of video with games or educational tools? For example.             Is WebRTC going to be the main catalyst for the creation of new video communications applications? Will videoconferencing and calling become pervasive? For businesses mostly. plus probably a lot more”. This presents several problems to a telecom operator wanting to participate directly in these services.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume with basic traditional telephony as by far the most dominant application – video starts with a clean sheet. virtualised software MP resource – especially if enabled with appropriate APIs – could fit into a broad range of these scenarios. in-app (similar to today’s Skype & FaceTime usage). will it create new. A shared. or as part of a hosted/wholesale WebRTC platform for developers. allowing staff to interact as if they were in the same place. or traders of video? The right answer is “all of the above. rather than pure web or traditional enterprise systems? What about new domains for video such as TV. and what constraints will that bring? Will there be a need for much greater amounts of video recording. revenue-generating use cases for remote collaboration? Will video communications be driven by in-browser uses (eg customer support on a web page). rather than expect to integrate it with other network elements. further driving the need for flexibility and capacity expansion. satellite etc) rather than fixed/WiFi connections. or in servers in the cloud? Will most video communications be confined to “islands”. 1-to-many. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. M2M or vertical-industry systems? Will we see a need for video communications “acceleration” to reduce latency. How much video will transit mobile networks (3G. Disruptive Analysis’ view is that one solution to this problem is to decouple media processing as a separate network function if possible. analytics and processing for certain applications? If so. the edge of the network. demanding scaling for the media elements without necessarily requiring other functions to be expanded as fast. or for consumers? And as web conferencing has. But it could also form part of a standalone videoconferencing or collaboration suite. At one level. developers and partnerships? Will telcos be importers. and several directions for innovation. Various of the possible tasks – and sources of value – require some quite “heavy lifting” in terms of media processing. superimposing images of users’ real faces onto avatars? Will broader use of “telepresence” become important – for example. either as an owner and operator. the core. like a 2-way version of a content delivery network? Where will video communications (& processing) fit alongside operators’ growing initiatives around APIs.

These have included standalone systems such as enterprise UC. Such services would be linked to subscribers’ numbers. and extend applications without constraints. Unfortunately. enhance. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 9 . as requirements and user behaviour evolve – in short enabling a general purpose resource optimised for video to support developers’ innovation. call recording. as well as the MRF (media resource function) in IMS networks if deployed. There are many reasons for this. delivered with managed QoS and the full suite of supplementary and emergency services. that is not how the industry has evolved. messaging and video communications. The market reality is that consumers and businesses have readily adopted non-IMS forms of IP communications both on fixed networks and mobile. Drive operational and capital costs down via resource reuse – applying the cloud model of asset repurposing and elasticity to MP. using a traditional and specialised 3GPP interface. In a way. Some probably will be. as well as web. Where operators have attempted to create their own “Telco-OTT” services. But what is becoming very clear is that a large amount (perhaps the bulk) of future MP requirements will not be linked to an operator’s IMS. many now partner with successful UC. the IMS MRF is a similar but more restricted version of what is being proposed here – an MRF is intended as a shared resource solely for IMS-resident applications. interactive voice response (IVR). That is something of a contentious statement. different billing and charging models such as free/freemium.and app-based offers that are often referred to as “OTT”. Meeting telcos’ future MP requirements Operators already employ media processing for various tasks – audioconferencing services. videoconferencing. and the linking of such communications tools to other technology ecosystems such as device OS’s or enterprise networks & IT systems. Many in telecom operators have recognised this as well. contact centres. and more. consumer OTT and cloud telephony players. typically this has been achieved on a pragmatic independent basis too. Originally. it was hoped that IMS would be a platform for all future telecoms IP/multimedia services – especially based around voice. exploiting generic Internet connections. reselling or bundling their non-IMS capabilities. but for those operators pursuing a serious innovation strategy. so it is worth explaining in a bit more detail. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume Implied in decoupling the MP from the application are two key benefits:   The flexibility to build. the unconstrained pace of application development and deployment in the Web / Internet model. Rather than trying to recreate all services “in the network”. a virtualised and APIexposed MP resource should be usable by both IMS and non-IMS applications. and be “federated” between multiple carriers and exposed to developers via tightlycontrolled in-house APIs. including late time-to-market for IMS (especially on handsets – Disruptive Analysis first wrote about the lack of IMS phones in 2006).

and numerous service providers are members of the relevant 3GPP working group. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume Figure 4: IMS will only be used for some future telecom services VoLTE & RCS Corporate UC Video conf Network APIs Core ntwk & legacy voice Corporate UC Video conf Developer APIs IMS. In a way. huge teams of lawyers) and a tie into a “subscription” approach which may not be applicable. it allows telcos to play the same game. Telcos’ WebRTC opportunities A number of telcos have been early advocates of WebRTC – especially AT&T and Telefonica. It is highly unlikely that either of these would be based on the company’s IMS core. The underlying SIP signalling protocol is optimised – as the acronym suggest – for “sessions” rather than more general forms of interaction. in particular. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 10 . NTT and Orange. wanting to evolve an existing music download service to support karaoke. creating their own innovative new communications services faster and more cheaply than before. slowly Major vendors VC specialists or WebRTC 3rd party cloud comms IMS as a platform Consumer Business OTTs Developers The Theory The Reality Source: Disruptive Analysis In effect. At one level. The most often-mentioned uses are for the creation of “web-phones” to accompany VoLTE on other devices. or perhaps around extension of RCS capabilities to devices which have browsers but lack native support. It would also bring with it legacy business models (not least. There is certainly a big push to integrate WebRTC with IMS. But at another level. Consider hypothetically the content division of a telco. and more recently Deutsche Telekom. Or perhaps an IPTV unit wanting to create a new form of reality TV. WebRTC is a double-edged sword for telcos. offline mode and so forth. It would also probably not easily support certain media features such as stereo sound. either on a standalone basis or linked into existing network and application infrastructure. or are participating in standards meetings and conferences. Most of the major vendors are working on solutions. easy fast-forward/pause. Many others are watching its evolution. because it would prove too inflexible and inaccessible to the bulk of designers and developers involved in the project. it is a continuation – perhaps a major acceleration – of the “OTT” trend. making it easier to create new competitive web-pages or apps containing third-party voice or video intelligence rather than phone calls. many telecoms units now effectively “disintermediate” their own core network organisations.

but what is certain is that timing will matter. choosing winners at this stage is nearly impossible. to corporate clients. Among the concepts already seen discussed include:         Operator ownership of “WebRTC cloud” platforms & APIs aimed at developers wanting to create cross-device communications. are distributing WebRTC activities more broadly across their respective groups. operators should probably not be putting more than 2030% of their overall WebRTC budget and effort into IMS integration – there is so much more to it. Lawful intercept. In the meantime. Waiting for the slow wheels of IMS integration to grind to a result will not help all of these other opportunities. Telefonica’s ownership of TokBox is probably the most visible here. QoS. product design and creation.. which could have value to certain subscriber segments such as © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 11 . Use of WebRTC to make existing attempts at creating “telco-OTT” or “digital lifestyle” apps more effective.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume In Disruptive Analysis’ view. not just extension of the IMS/SS7 core. It is worth noting that most telcos have long sold “non-core” telephony systems based on vendor PBXs and UC platforms. Links to content or entertainment units. eg truck drivers having a “speak to warehouse” button integrated directly into their telematics terminal. eg adding interactive communications to music or movies. pretty much any unit of a telco that creates a website or an app should be thinking about how to exploit WebRTC. eg for communicating with an agent via the self-care portals on the web or mobile apps. roaming and other traditional telco business components. It should involve a diverse group of innovators willing to choose different trade-offs between QoS and time-tomarket. Use of WebRTC within the operator’s own customer contact and support functions. In brief. As before. compliance. with many extra moving-parts and “touch points” throughout the organisation. perhaps integrated with core telephony services for interoperability as well. AT&T has evangelised this. While all this is important. allowing applications such as interactive education. so the philosophical “not invented here” objection is a lower barrier. integrated billing and provisioning. family gaming and so on. OSS/BSS additions and so forth all need to be in place for addition of WebRTC to mainstream core services like telephony. That said. Addition of WebRTC-type APIs to existing developer programmes. which wish to offer managed/hosted contact centres. The practicalities of adding WebRTC front-ends to existing telecoms services (or new ones like VoLTE) are very involved. unified communications or other services. than merely using WebRTC as a front-end to IMS. It is notable that NTT and Telefonica. it will be hard to rush. in particular. testing. In other words telco use of WebRTC should be a microcosm of the wider marketplace. Embedding voice or video communications directly into M2M platforms. etc. telcos need to experiment with and deploy WebRTC elsewhere too. customer support systems. it might also allow telcos to leverage their network capabilities for prioritising traffic. Incorporation of WebRTC into home TVs or set-top boxes. and worry less about interoperability. Use of WebRTC by telcos’ enterprise divisions. bridging browsers and native mobile apps.

One of the “anchor tenants” would likely be the core/IMS group which will © Disruptive Analysis Ltd.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume business users. having an MPaaS cloud function could enable various “1st party” business units to consume MP capabilities. that may pose some organisational complexities of its own – especially if the shared MP function is used for IMS MRF purposes as well as standalone WebRTC. This then allows it to be scaled up and down in capacity. Clearly. rather than each buying its own separate infrastructure. usable APIs. then the picture becomes clearer. And. it could make therefore make sense for those groups to share resources such as media processing. however – many previous suggested use-cases such as “1-800”-style reverse billing for mobile data have proven unworkable. Having a virtualised MP resource. If presented as “MPaaS”. Such propositions are very complex to bring to reality. together with appropriate. the enterprise communications unit. and also potentially distributed geographically to help minimise latencies. Disruptive Analysis is watching the evolving WebRTC/policy domain keenly for signs of realistic applications. consumer content and IPTV business. where possible. round-trip times and so forth. but it may be possible to retrofit web-APIs to existing softwarebased MRFs to extend their abilities towards other applications. These units could be regional operating subsidiaries creating local WebRTC services. MPaaS – internal & external customers One possible future direction-of-travel of media processing is found by thinking about it in a cloud context. In a similar fashion to obtaining storage or compute capabilities from the cloud. the same could be true of media processing as well. Figure 5: Shared media processing / MPaaS can serve IMS & WebRTC Source: Disruptive Analysis The MPaaS concept can apply both inside and outside telcos:  Internally. allows multiple applications to benefit from the same shared functionality. and so forth. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 12 .

developer platforms. a telco may decide to work with a specialist firm providing WebRTC cloud/API services. Organisational challenges While the idea of shared media processing resource. In reality however. While at some level Disruptive Analysis applauds this decentralisation process. SDN and NFV. One scenario might be for large companies wanting to manage peaks/troughs in videoconferencing usage. interactive TV or even M2M applications are ploughing their own furrow. but without having the full “heavy lifting” MP capacity to deal with peaks in-house. often with “Telco-OTT” models and radically different infrastructure approaches. intended to develop a telco’s network in such a way that it could support any or all of these. at moderate cost and with maximum flexibility. or develop a unique variant of a videoconferencing bridging service. Vertical units considering educational technology. Provided either through a developer portal. but that would hypothetically fit here too). voice and video capabilities could be offered to “long tail” application creators or enterprise users. One likely path to that end-goal comes from the general move towards “the programmable telco”. Close partners of the operator could also benefit here. at some point it seems possible that we will move back to a more coordinated approach. and for that to serve as the basis for most future services and revenue. The expectation has been for all or most operators to deploy IMS. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 13 . Enterprise divisions have partnered with UC and videoconferencing third-party vendors to offer hosted/multi-tenant platforms rather than build them directly into the core. it has to be recognised that it will need to fit with the real world of telco organisational structures as well. disparate arms of the operator are already pursuing their own agendas. with custom integrations to the MPaaS. security services. For example. with two other white-hot acronyms. sounds compelling at first sight. 3rd-party customers for MPaaS would look more similar to a traditional cloudservices model. spanning multiple domains and applications. operators’ core network businesses have been very much geared towards the “official”. it will be neither universal nor a lynchpin of value for others. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. One such approach might be for there to be a new “distributed network” division. Digital lifestyle groups are examining a range of ways to build VoIP or social apps as differentiators.Disruptive Analysis   Don’t Assume want to use MRF capabilities for VoLTE and perhaps other services such as videoconferencing (Disruptive Analysis retains serious doubts about the viability of RCS/joyn. Other examples of “2 nd party” interactions could be vendors offering hosted/managed applications. While IMS is and will be important for some operators. offloading peak traffic to an MPaaS provider. or perhaps with capabilities bundled into telco-provided SDKs. 3GPP-approved route to service infrastructure investment and deployment. Historically. to avoid duplication of effort and costs – but also to retain flexibility and the removal of traditional “telco dogma” and conservatism about platforms.

Obviously. It will be replaced with a much more fragmented landscape of new forms of IP voice communication. This relates to recreating the various “middle-boxes” in telco networks in software. although it was not identified by ETSI as one of its initial targets for virtualisation. especially as many are being forced to invest in IMS infrastructure just to maintain their existing service portfolios in an era of LTE and fibre. as well as cloud-based MPaaS. various other shifts are occurring in the telecoms industry in terms of network architecture. Potentially this could span both consolidated servers in telcos’ main data-centres and more-distributed functions deeper in the network (or even the cell-site) to optimise latency. and virtualising them to create greater flexibility and efficiencies. SBCs. as well as growing adoption of LTE networks in mobile and fibre in the fixed-line world. the idea is to have some or all of these functions running in software. this paper suggests a rationale for exactly that to occur. on commodity hardware. there is the move towards all-IP access and transport networks. Nevertheless. functions that were historically integrated in individual routers and switches are now being disaggregated. This presents several challenges to service providers. This is very similar to the IT-centric view of cloud computing. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. More relevant here is the idea of “network function virtualisation”. But perhaps the most important megatrend is the move towards various forms of virtualisation – often referred to as the move to the “software telco” or the “programmable network”. In other words. Rather than proprietary hardware DPIs. NFV.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume The rise of NFV & SDN Alongside the trends towards adoption of multimedia and WebRTC. load balancers and so forth. WiFi is becoming ever-more prevalent as well – typically managed by venue-owners as an amenity. Conclusion The communications industry is about to get much more complicated. many will exploit the simplicity of WebRTC and cloud communications to launch new. but also sometimes integrated with telcos’ infrastructure. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 14 . As well as continue with the more “classical” approach to voice and/or video. and innumerable attempts to move from standalone calls to app/web-embedded contextual communications. The “brains” of the IP network can dynamically re-programme the functions of its localised agents. very much fits with this wider philosophy. non-IMS products as well. They will also likely partner with various 3rd-party vendors. and open up capabilities to various groups of developers. The idea of shared media processing functions. optimisation boxes. There are two separate but related angles here:   SDN is the separation in the IP access/transport part of the network of the “intelligence” from the heavy lifting of packet-processing. The age of monolithic services such as circuit-based “phone calls” and standalone voice services. the rising importance of video.

it seems highly likely that this fragmentation will massively increase the need for media processing in many instances. While this may not happen in its full incarnation overnight. especially if it can simultaneously service the needs of IMS (eg the MRF function) as well as being easily-accessible via APIs to others working on WebRTC use-cases. For this reason. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. owing to the practicalities of telco inter-departmental cooperation. While not every scenario needs MP functions. Disruptive Analysis believes that some form of shared. many will do – especially if we get incompatibility between various forms of “almost WebRTC” as well as a desire to interconnect with legacy systems. it also fits with the general trend towards NFV and should be considered by CTOs as a long-term architectural goal. virtualised media processing function makes sense.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume While it is hard to predict which services will ultimately prove winners and losers. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 15 .

changing distribution channels. Disruptive Analysis' motto is "Don't Assume".based on consideration of many more "angles" than is typical among industry analysts. whose accuracy it is not always possible to guarantee. November 2013 Media Processing White Paper 16 .blogspot. disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy. No part of this publication may be reproduced. Currently. rapid technical/market evolution.com @radisys About Disruptive Analysis Disruptive Analysis is a technology-focused advisory firm focused on the mobile and wireless industry. It takes into account new products and technologies. Disruptive Analysis Ltd. users. deep packet inspection (DPI) and policy management equipment. Where appropriate. Founded by experienced analyst Dean Bubley.Disruptive Analysis Don’t Assume About Radisys Radisys (NASDAQ: RSYS) is a major vendor enabling wireless infrastructure solutions for telecom. enable customers to bring their products to market faster with lower investment and risk. For more detail on Disruptive Analysis publications and consulting / advisory services. photocopying. the Future of Voice. wireless core network elements.futureofcomms. as well as commercial offerings for network applications that support the aerospace and defence markets.the future direction and profit potential of technology markets . services and market expertise.com Website: www. Disruptive Analysis Ltd. Internet/operator ecosystems and the role of governments in next-generation networks. mechanical. aerospace and defence applications.and validate . Every reasonable effort has been made to verify research undertaken during the work on this document. recording or otherwise. regulators.com Blog: disruptivewireless. Disruptive Analysis attempts to predict . Findings. As such no liability whatever can be accepted for actions taken based on any information that may subsequently prove to be incorrect. customer trends.radisys. without the prior permission of the publisher. conferencing and media services including voice. smartphones. operator business models. coupled with Trillium software. please see www.com . conclusions and recommendations are based on information gathered in good faith from both primary and secondary sources. The opinions expressed here are subject to change without notice. please contact information@disruptive-analysis. Radisys’ MRF (Media Resource Function) and T-Series Virtualised Platforms. © Disruptive Analysis Ltd. www.disruptive-analysis. particularly in areas with complex value chains. Radisys technology is used in a wide variety of 3G & 4G / LTE mobile network applications including: small cell Radio Access Networks (RAN). video and data. Disruptive Analysis focuses on communications and information technology industry trends. electronic. it provides critical commentary and consulting support to telecoms/IT vendors. it takes a contrarian stance rather than support consensus or industry momentum. completeness or adequacy of such information. For details about Future of Voice workshops & publications. stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means. or labyrinthine business relationships. investors and intermediaries. operators. the company is focusing on mobile broadband. investor sentiment and macroeconomic status.com Twitter: @disruptivedean / @DApremium Quora: Dean-Bubley Intellectual Property Rights / Disclaimer All Rights Reserved.