Softwarization: Red and Blue Scenarios

Interview: Jan Häglund, vice president, Head of IP and Broadband Networks, Ericsson

Jan Häglund, vice president, Head of IP and Broadband Networks, Ericsson is speaking on Day One of the Broadband World Forum 2012, taking place on the 16–18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam.

If you want to be a leader in your field, you need to have vision. As a leader in the telecom networks and services no company has expressed its dream more clearly or more powerfully than Ericsson, with its vision of 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020, a place that it refers to as the Networked Society.

Jan Häglund, vice president, and head of IP and broadband networks at Ericsson reaffirms the Swedish company’s vision and states that the vision is already starting to come true. “The network society is still very much Ericsson’s vision,” he says. “It’s a place where everything that benefits from being connected will be connected and I think as a society we’re living at the starting point of this as we speak—with all the new gadgets and devices, and the opportunities of demand both by individuals and from enterprises.”

Where many network operators see challenges Häglund sees opportunity. “All the uptake we have of broadband traffic, both fixed and mobile, but especially with smartphone traffic, creates an enormous opportunity, for us, but also for our customers. We all are excited about the new features, new functionality and gadgets, and all the new services that smartphones generate.”

Häglund acknowledges that many operators fear that their networks won’t be able to cope with the pressure all these devices will put on their networks and of the cannibalisation of SMS revenues by OTT services. What this means he says is that new business models will have to be implemented in order to monetise these trends.

“[This] generates challenges for our customers because obviously those smartphones will be coming on the network and creating new requirements in terms of scalability and how to make money.”

The solution, Häglund explains, is implementation of the right technology. And as a global leader, Ericsson has the breadth of technology to offer its customers. As head of IP and Broadband Networks Häglund’s portfolio takes in optical transmission equipment that it acquired from Marconi in 2006, and its more recent acquisition of IP know how from its acquisition of Redback Networks, which became fully integrated into Ericsson in 2010.

As far as scalability is concerned, Ericsson’s Smart Services Router, as shown at Broadband World Forum in 2011, is designed specifically to deal with high bandwidth, high signalling demands. Häglund describes this as extremely powerful in terms of both its throughput and also key IP edge features. “The launch of the SSR’s BNG functionality now realizes our vision to provide advanced IP service edge and packet core applications – a rich set of policy-controlled, service-aware delivery capabilities – for both fixed and mobile networks”.

For effective monetisation however, you need intelligence and smartness in the networks and here Ericsson’s packet core and policy control technology are becoming increasingly important. “Monetising in a smarter way means introducing new charging models and traffic management and policy control are features we talk about a lot with our customer base – how to take the next step and how to introduce more advanced models with policy control.”

It’s not just the choice of technology however, Häglund says, but also how it’s implemented especially when it comes to 4G. “What we’re doing is to help operators build the next generation of network— – the fourth generation of IP networks as we call it, that will have the scalability for all this traffic. It will provide all of the properties to take care of the growth for mobile broadband, but will also have the opportunity to capitalise on it thanks to the smartness of the network. In particular, some of the technology that will enable higher speeds and higher capacity for faster speeds will be microwave, which is one of the key technologies to be able to build and enable a 4G network.”

The most critical aspect of its technology though says Häglund is its raw performance. “If you want to attract users and you want them to use your network in the right way the performance has to be there. End-to-end performance is really crucial.”

Of course hardware is only one piece of the puzzle. At the Broadband World Forum 2012 Ericsson will be announcing the global availability of its new channel partner programme, which will bring a new structured approach to working with partners that implement and resell its leading technology.

There will be three levels of partnership, Select, Premier, and Strategic, with Select being the entry level. While Select will be a relatively straightforward channel partnership, with each level the ties between the two companies will become stronger. At the Strategic level Ericsson will work close with the partner’s sales efforts, having a personal channel manager guiding them in their sales efforts.

“We’re very excited about our channel partner programme,” says Häglund. “It’s really a great compliment to the go-to-market model that we already have. We decided to launch a structured approach around channel partners so we can broaden our customer base and the addressable market for our solutions. ”

What excites Häglund about the new programme is that it will bring Ericsson technology to new types of customers outside of the conventional operator market. “What we do is very much focussed on carriers but what we have in our portfolio now is also very valuable for other segments”.

However, not everyone will make the grade. “We will be very selective in our choice of partners so that they have the right competence and willingness. So far there has been an enormous interest to work with Ericsson and it’s really win-win. It’s a win for us as we get to address a broad customer base and it’s a win for the partner as Ericsson is a strong company with a lot of competence and they will be able to access our solutions.”

Ericsson already has a lot of local presence in more than 180 countries and by reaching out to potential new clients in different regions, Ericsson believes that local knowledge will only get greater. “We’re proud of the level of information and the possibility to get global support. We have the possibility to give global support but also local support. It’s very much about local business, competence and successful delivery and we’ve committed to that.”

Another benefit of working with Ericsson is exclusive access to an eBusiness portal which will provide a range of online resources, services and products. It will also offer elLearning training for resellers, making product and sales courses available 24/7 for channel partners.

Those interested in working closely with Ericsson can go to the web site  or talk to Ericsson in person at the Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam.

Ericsson is a member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which recently delivered its reports to the UN General Secretary –  and Häglund is naturally proud of Ericsson role in its contribution to global broadband development.

With the growth of mobile broadband expected to reach 85 per cent per cent of the world’s population by 2017, we see a tremendous opportunity to use our core technology to make a positive impact on society. For example, there is a clear link between mobile broadband penetration and speeds to GDP growth, confirmed in scores of studies. Once mobile broadband has reached these numbers , the delivery of health, education, and government services will be transformed and will contribute to sustainable development around the world.

With the Broadband World Forum 2012 less taking place NEXT WEEK there is still time to register your interest in the show taking place on the 16 – 18 October 2012 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. 

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