UK operators are in talks with IBM to develop cloud-based services for business customers using the IT giant’s new Cloud Service Provider platform.
The newly launched service will offer unified communications, field force management, collaboration and sales and other services with an option for operators to have the service managed end to end by IBM.
UK operators are showing a strong interest in cloud-based services, according to Craig Wilson, vice president of sales for IBM Global Telecom.
Speaking to Mobile he said: ‘We are really seeing a lot of interest from UK operators – we are working with a couple of them. They see cloud-based services as a huge opportunity to increase declining revenues.’
He added: ‘We see this market being close to $90bn in global value by 2015. That represents huge revenue growth opportunities for operators, as they will be central in providing cloud-based services.’
Wilson said cloud-based services will help build operators’ business customer bases and open up business opportunities in cross-over industries such as healthcare and transport.
France Telecom is already piloting the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform in France. Wilson said: ‘We have been looking at how Orange can use the cloud platform to combine information and communications infrastructure services such as storage, unified comms and how we can help Orange to launch cross-industry services.’
IBM has signed up a host of partners including Broadsoft, Corent, deCarta, Jamcracker and Juniper Network that have pledged to integrate their applications into the IBM platform.
Wilson said: ‘We are creating an eco-system of cloud services with our partners that will allow our service providers to provide solutions for all the different industries that happen to be their customers.
‘That is the most exciting opportunity. Service providers touch so many different businesses through their customers – that is an incredible network asset, which operators can unlock the value from, through cloud-based services.’
Cloud ‘not a capacity solution’
Wilson said cloud-based services are not a solution to network capacity problems.
He said: ‘Telcos need a robust broadband infrastructure to deliver high-value cloud servers. That requirement does not go away with the cloud but what the cloud offers is the opportunity for operators
to move up the value chain given that they have made a huge capacity outlay in the network structure. So cloud services are all about how to get more value out of the network they have invested in so heavily.’