We’re focused on making cloud a big revenue earner for Ericsson: Nishant Batra, Ericsson India

Ericsson is transforming to become a leading ICT player, how important role-cloud and IP are going to play in this transformation?

Cloud is strategic for Ericsson in several aspects. We have a strategy to grow business and establish leadership within building and transforming operators’ and other organizations’ IT environment, with our services and products.

We have also executed many acquisitions and partnerships in 2014 with this strategy in mind, such as Guardtime for data integrity, Apcera for policy driven Platform as a Service, Fabrix Systems for cloud storage, computing and network delivery for video applications, and Sentilla for cloud analytics.

Ericsson uses cloud technology to build own cloud from which we serve new types of solutions as well as new ways to provide solutions (eg, per use based Software as a Service instead of licensed based right to use) to our customers in telecom and other industries. These solutions can be used by our customers to develop their own commercial cloud offerings.

What will be your India strategy and roadmap for cloud business?

Our strategy, particularly in India is often going into existing customers and new segments. Ericsson has three complementary perspectives in the cloud space:

  • Industry transformation –a transformation based on cloud technology and applications to become more efficient and give better customer service, both for telecom service providers and industry at large.
  • IT and operations transformation – how we can help our customers in the industry transformation, starting from where they are in terms of technology and operations.
  • Infrastructure transformation – the building blocks to realize the transformation, solving the rising needs of security, governance and orchestration.

From the cloud point of view, how important is the India market for you?

We are bullish on India. In order to gain speed, efficiency and enable new service innovation, telecom service providers are already taking the first steps to the operator telecom cloud by virtualizing telecom functions, through Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) which decouples hardware and software. The main focus for Ericsson is to industrialize NFV and be open to work in different execution environments. We add value to improve network performance and stability, driving industry initiatives to automate orchestration and life cycle management and ensuring the possibility to migrate to NFV with feature compatibility.

In the operator IT cloud, IT functions such as customer relationship management, product catalog, billing, and network management are virtualized for internal use.

India is the R&D hub for Ericsson. Are you looking out to come up with cloud & IP related innovations from India?

Ericsson’s India R&D facilities are spread across three sites- Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Chennai. The focus areas and size of each of these R&D centers are different.

The Bengaluru center is focused on IP and cloud technologies. More than a third of the global R&D workforce for the IP edge portfolio operates from this center.

The Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) product is driven end-to-end from this site. Beyond this, we also drive/contribute across a broad set of areas including routing, packet forwarding technologies, IP security, NFV, & PaaS. We are making solid contributions by providing thought leadership in Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies. In fact, SDN controller team is headquartered in Bengaluru.

What are your expectations with respect to cloud uptake in India?

We are looking at partnering with Indian operators to virtualize their network and enterprise assets with our cloud offerings. The top strategic areas for us are:

  • NFV (Network Functions Virtualization):

o          Cloud and virtualization have been on the telecom industry’s agenda for a few years now. Ericsson sees great opportunities in the technology and has launched the Ericsson cloud system to explore these.

o          The Ericsson cloud system is a platform for providing cloud services and to enable virtualization of network functions according to NFV.

o          This approach has many advantages, such as making it possible to share the same hardware infrastructure among several functions and applications, thus, reducing opex for operators.

SDN (Software Delivery Network):

o          We are leveraging our position as an incumbent provider of turnkey solutions to most of the world’s largest carriers. We are focused on developing technology that allows carriers to transform their networks by deploying a full end-to-end SDN solution while also retaining the flexibility for seamless integration with third party vendors. This will fulfill the true promise of SDN – accelerated innovation and new service roll-out along with reduced capex and opex.

o          One of the center pieces of SDN, the controller, is headquartered in Bangalore with focused teams in design and test working with each other and with stakeholders across Ericsson worldwide. Several experienced industry veterans have already joined the team and the build–out is in progress.

Smart Services Routers (SSR) Area:

o          In the SSR area,  the India engagement commenced in 2011. We believe it will become the platform of choice for several apps in the Cloud & IP space. One third of the work on SSR is being done out of India.

o          We have a DU-Core Networks (DUCN) team that works on the Multimedia Telephony Application Server (MTAS) product. MTAS is one of the key nodes in Ericsson’s VoLTE (Voice over LTE) solution and can fulfill several different functional roles in a multimedia telephony solution. There are cross functional teams in India that are actively contributing to the MTAS product and through that, to Ericsson’s VoLTE solution.

  • BNG (Broadband Network Gateway):

Ericsson‘s next generation Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) is designed to accelerate the adoption of cloud and video services in today’s increasingly connected homes, while simultaneously reducing the operational cost of operators’ fixed broadband IP networks. The new BNG opens fresh opportunities for fixed and converged service providers to offer high-quality broadband and personalized services, supporting the growth of smart devices in the home.

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