In this short blog I’m just reporting on the demos I saw at the show in January. Part III will be on the conference content itself which was very interesting. For a first of it’s kind, having 4 exhibitors was a reasonable achievement. I didn’t get to talk the folks Amdocs whose booth only had brochures nor with the Lavastorm guys as they were too busy for me both times I tried. I did get to the Guavus and Esri booths so here’s w
hat I took away.
Guavus was the sole sponsor of the event – although still only a silver sponsor, so the TM Forum sales people must be tough cookies ;o)
Guavus is a private 350 person company head-quartered in San Mateo, CA with offices throughout the US as well as in the UK, Singapore, Montreal and India where they also have R&D teams. As a few others, they claim to have been delivering Big Data analytics from 2006, before the name even existed.
It’s always a delicate balancing act to ride a hype wave like this Big Data Tsunami. You need to be seen to have been doing it for ages, but then again you also have to acknowledge its novelty otherwise you can’t join in on the orgy of industry news.
The CEO founded the company after working at SPRINT labs. Anukool Lakhina, realized there was a scalability hurdle that the traditional model for storing data and doing business intelligence analytics were not going to be able to cross. He raised some money and started working on a solution. The core algorithms developed then are currently patent pending.
Guavus now works with 2 of the big US Telcos as well as Bell Canada through the recent acquisition of Neuralitic. Star Hub is also a major client in Singapore that came about through the Neuralitic acquisition.
The company’s primary focus is in the Telco space, because that's where the core data resides. But as an aggressive young company Guavus is already looking at other segments and has a few confidential Proof of Concepts underway.
I asked Suzanne McCormac, Senior Director of Marketing Communications, if Big Data could save Telcos from falling into the commodity oblivion of the dumb pipe. “They’re sitting on a gold mine - if they can just figure it out they have the opportunity to compete with the OTT players because they have better data from billing, CRM etc. There is a fantastic window of opportunity for them here”.
I asked Suzanne why Guavus, a US focussed company came all the way out to Amsterdam for the show, “The TMF Big Data Summit in Amsterdam is a key event for Guavus given the company's global expansion plans. We expect to announce several more CSP deployments outside of the US in 2013."
Despite being one of only four exhibitors, Guavus had no demo, but I’m told they’ll have a lot to show at this years Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The only real demo I saw at the show was from Esri, a Geographical Information System or GIS company with a strong emphasis on being environmentally friendly and sustainable. That they clearly are, as Esri has been around since 1969. The company is atypically still privately held. Headquarters are in Redlands, California. Randy Frantz, Esri’s Telecoms & LBS Industry Manager was at the show and told me Esri is now the world’s largest GIS software supplier with over 3,000 employees and 350,000 clients (his business card uses the LBS acronym without explaining it, so if you’re as forgetful as I, let me remind you it stands for Location Based Services).
The demos were all of the graphical analysis of various data points that had a geographical component. Randy showed me several instances of dynamic charting where all sorts of graphs and colours automatically updated on the screen as you move around navigating through the data. So for example, clicking on one part of the network automatically updated the QoS/QoE data around the screen. One demo also integrated Esri’s display capabilities with IBM’s Business Intelligence software Cognos.
I got a clear impression that having Esri as part of a solution, say in an operator’s NoC, would make for an extremely powerful UI. Although Esri can undoubtedly power great monitoring interfaces, the competitive edge I sensed was more for trouble-shooting type of applications were interactivity is key. Such a top-of-the-range solution pointed to by the Big Data demos I saw clearly targets top tier operators that could justify the cost.
If you missed it, part I of this series is an interview of Nik Willetts, TM Forum's Chief Strategy Officer. It's here.
Part III is a report on the conference content, it's here.