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OTT digital services offer SDP vendors new opportunities

September 19, 2012

Service delivery platforms (SDPs) are evolving to provide network operators with a strong foundation for building successful digital services ecosystems that include participation of a wide range of third-party partners, but new technology competitors pose serious challenges to SDP vendors, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading Service Provider IT Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading.

SDPs Get Retooled for Digital Services Ecosystems identifies and analyses the changes that SDP vendors are making to their products to accommodate a stronger role in digital services ecosystem creation, and explores network operator strategies for building digital services ecosystems.

“SDP vendors are raising their game to help operators find digital services ecosystem success,” suggests Caroline Chappell, Senior Analyst at Heavy Reading and author of the report. “But as telcos try to shed their traditional images and blend into the Web 2.0 landscape, telco SDP vendors face the threat of new entrants to the market with ‘universal,’ non-telco specific API management, service creation platforms, and app store products.”

The success of over-the-top (OTT) digital services and the threat they pose to telcos can no longer be ignored, Chappell says. “Operators increasingly realise that implementing enabling technology – an SDP that allows them to expose a handful of core communication service and enabler assets – is no longer enough to counter the inroads OTT services are making on their business,” she continues. “Telcos can’t halt the tide of OTT digital services, but they can use SDPs to be in a better position to work on new business opportunities with OTT companies and gain a stake in the digital services market that may otherwise pass them by.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Telcos can succeed as ‘centres of gravity’ for digital services ecosystems but they need the right positioning within the ‘whole tail’, significant investment in building a developer community and strong SDP vendor partnerships.
  • Apigee, Layer 7 Tech and AppDirect are among the startups with ‘universal’ SDP components that threaten traditional SDP vendors while WebRTC is waiting in the wings.
  • Operators are rediscovering their inner developer but need to ensure that internal service creation is API-enabled.
  • Telefónica’s TU Me service highlights the value of a hybrid approach to ‘short tail’ digital services creation that keeps the operator relevant to OTT customers while exploiting telco protocol-specific development advantages.


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