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Genband’s Fring aims to make OTT a good thing for service providers

Thu, 06/12/2014 - 1:28pm
Jim Barthold, special to CED

 Genband is out to convince service providers that OTT isn’t necessarily bad.

“There is a lot of fragmentation and flavors of OTT,” said Roy Timor Rousso, executive vice president of kloud product strategy, speaking at Genband’s Perspectives14 conference in Orlando Wednesday. “Everyone needs to go OTT.”

Genband’s way to go OTT is via a network configured with Fring, an OTT application service providers can use to lighten the heavy lifting of delivering integrated telecom and Internet services to end users without relinquishing network control.

“It’s about packaging technology that already exists,” Rousso said during a break-out conversation. “I don’t control it end-to-end; you bring the network, not me.”

Fring, he said, brings an application that can range from cheap international voice and data roaming to breaking down universities into “sub-communities” of different users with different use cases. It also brings control over that experience but doesn’t take the user away from the service provider.

“We are an enabler,” he said. “We have no relationship with the end user. The end user is not our core business.”

Fring’s core business is allowing a service provider—including a cable operator—to take full advantage of a network that might include fixed or mobile wireless voice and definitely includes broadband as a way to give consumers the flexibility to use whatever services they may want anywhere they may want including in the residence.

That residential play, which in the case of cable operators in particular can expand to WiFi hotspots, has drawn “lots of interest” from the cable industry as a way to combat or differentiate against mobile services, Rousso said.

This includes taking the wireline phone number and, via the cloud, moving it into the mobile space with all the attendant features, including an address book.

“OTT takes the residential phone number and detaches it from physical copper wire and puts it on any device connected to the Internet,” Rousso said. “It makes it relevant for the product and marketing guys by packaging technologies so they are serving the business needs of cable operators.”

While a great deal of the Perspectives14 conference focused on delivering video across a number of consumer and business platforms—and Fring uses two-way video communication as an example of an app that would be relevant to a service provider—video itself is just “an escalation of communications,” Rousso said.

A call is unlikely to start with video—especially in the consumer space—but could migrate there. Fring, he said, does not spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about video quality.

“Most video is acceptable enough … to chat with your girlfriend or whatever,” Rousso said.

The overall objective, he said, is to use what’s there—the broadband connection into the residence or business—and layer on applications and features that consumers and business users want and to let operators leverage their networks to provide applications that they need not develop. It’s over-the-top, but the service provider is part of the play rather than looking up, he said.

“OTT is not for everyone; it’s how you segment it,” Rousso concluded. “It’s timing—time to market” that lets service providers concentrate on the “user experience, not technology.”

 

 

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