Cisco Expands Analytics, NFV Solutions for Service Providers

At MWC, the vendor's cloud-based Mobility IQ will give telecoms a single tool to collect and analyze data from their multiple mobile platforms.

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Cisco Systems wants to make it easier for service providers to gain real-time insight into all of their mobile networks and to more quickly deliver the services being demanded by their customers.

At the Mobile World Congress 2015 (WMC) show in Barcelona March 2, Cisco officials announced Mobility IQ, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) analytics solution hosted on the networking vendor's cloud that can collect and analyze data from across all of a service provider's mobile platforms—from WiFi to 3G to LTE—enabling them to more quickly identify how their networks are being used by mobile customers, both inside and outdoors. They can then quickly leverage the data to jump on business opportunities and to quickly spin out services for end users.

Also at the show, the company will talk about its Virtualized Managed Business Services solution, and will introduce a number of telecommunications service providers who are customers of Cisco's virtual managed services.

Service providers currently have analytics tools for their wireless networks, but too often they're stuck in silos determined by the technology—such as 3G, 4G and WiFi—or by the data they're collecting, such as traffic flow or management, according to Keith Day, director of marketing for Cisco's Services Group.

The vendor's Mobility IQ brings all of this together, giving service providers a single solution for finding out everything about all of their mobile networks, Day told eWEEK.

"It runs on a Cisco Cloud, pull information from WiFi, cellular and small calls, and then presents [the information to the service providers] in a highly visual dashboard" that can be configured in whatever way bests suits them, he said.

Such capabilities are going to become increasingly important as the number of devices connecting to these networks continues to ramp, the Internet of things (IoT) balloons and access to faster broadband networks grows. Cisco officials pointed to the company's latest Visual Networking Index Global Mobile Traffic Forecast, released last month, that shows that global mobile traffic will grow 10-fold over the next five years, due in large part to more powerful devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.

In this environment, WiFi networks will become increasingly important, particularly as they're asked to handle that is offloaded from already heavily burdened cellular networks. Overall, the amount of annual mobile traffic is expected to grow from 30 exabytes in 2014 to 292 exabytes by 2019.

Cisco's Mobility IQ benefits not only network operators by giving them a single vision of their entire network, including identifying problems that need to be addressed, but also marketing professionals, who can use the information to ensure the delivery of the right service at the right time. Businesses also will be able to gain insight from their service providers' use of Mobility IQ about their own end users.

Managed services increasingly will be important to service providers, according to Robert Barlow, director of marketing at Cisco, noting that the global managed services market is expected to grow from $44 billion last year to $62 billion in 2018. Some of that growth will come from being able to bring these services to smaller businesses, he said. Traditionally it was too costly to bring such services as VPN or collaboration to SMBs.

Now, with these services residing in software, the cost barriers are lessened, Barlow told eWEEK.