A more useful question to ask, therefore, is what is holding mobile companies back from aggressively pursuing this large opportunity that is, frankly, critical to their long-term future?
One potential reason is that service providers' mobile networks have only recently evolved to the point where offering cloud-based services for consumers is a viable option, where security, consumer demand and user experience issues can be solved through innovative network technology.
If service providers want to explore how network innovation can play a role in differentiating network services in support of the cloud, they need to look at their network as the enabler. To implement the shift to a cloud monetisation model, operators need a flexible and efficient network infrastructure.
They now need a network that is secure, mobile, scalable, future-proofed that can support large-scale 4G and LTE roll-outs as well as the roll-out of new cloud services.
To be ready to deliver robust cloud-based services to customers, mobile operators need networks based on a simpler architecture that is secure, open and programmable. Their network needs to offer high throughput and be efficient, inter-operable and flexible, as well as highly scalable. And most importantly, they need the ability to reduce the time to deliver an offering from 18-24 months to less than 30 days.
Three key innovations
In essence, an effectively architected cloud-ready network eliminates complexity and cost, allowing operators to focus on delivering compelling services and content to consumers and enterprise clients.
In the rapidly evolving cloud ecosystem, there are three innovations that will be key for mobile operators to drive cloud services growth: Security, Quality of Experience, and Architecture, specifically SDN.
The first is security. As applications proliferate, mobile device users are exposed to increased threat to data privacy and hacking. For example, according to analysis carried out by Juniper last year, usage tracking by mobile applications is pervasive and application providers often fail to notify users adequately their reasons for data collection. The growth of cloud and LTE is putting more data in fewer places, creating mass attraction for cyber criminals. Keeping users safe in the cloud is critical. What's required is network security innovation that thwarts the bad actors by going beyond conventional ideas. Juniper's approach, based on deception-based technology, is to deceive attackers as they try to attack.
This level of innovation will allow operators to offer security as a service at scale, and address user concerns about mobile security.
Second, operators need to ensure their networks can meet quality-of-experience expectations on cloud services, and deliver a differentiated level of service. Two of the biggest challenges faced by every mobile operator: how do you reduce subscriber churn and how do you monetise your network? A differentiated video experience is an example of one that can address both. How much would subscribers pay for a guaranteed premium HD experience every time - on any device?
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