Telco networks have always generated fast data at line speed. In telco use cases like policy management, decisions are already made on that data in near real-time. In many other cases, network and customer data is backhauled into a data lake and analyzed over hours or days to gain insight into the subscriber experience or the quality of the network.
Fundamental Changes Driving Change
Two fundamental changes will bring fast data systems to the forefront at every telco operator: a massive increase in the volume of streaming-data service providers need to process, and the need to act on that data in milliseconds.
Service providers are facing a data deluge. Annual global IP traffic will reach 3.3 Zettabytes (ZB) per year by 2021, up from 1.2 ZB in 2016, according to a report from Cisco. Sixty-three percent of that data will come from wireless and mobile devices. Globally, mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021. Cisco predicts that global IoT IP traffic—from devices like smart meters, home security and automation systems, connected cars, and healthcare monitors—will grow more than sevenfold by 2021. On top of this explosion in devices, faster network technology (the advent of 5G) is another major factor nudging data traffic toward exponential growth.
Fast data applications will operate the agile, automated, virtualized network infrastructure created by NFV, SDN and eventually 5G. Fast data will enable telecom service providers to personalize services and deploy new ones like IoT to boost declining revenues. Fast data is the future of telco.
Operations Support Systems (OSS) and Business Support Systems (BSS), many of which rely on batch processes, are already creaking under the strain. Telco service providers don’t just need flexible network infrastructure to deal with a massive increase in traffic while keeping costs under control, they need support systems that can keep up.
Use cases like least-cost routing, subscriber management, policy management, real-time billing, authentication and authorization, and fraud detection all require real-time decision making. OSS/BSS providers like Openet and Nokia are meeting the challenge by adding fast data support with real-time decision-making capabilities to their products.
Video content is one of the immediate drivers of the data deluge. Global IP video traffic will grow threefold from 2016 to 2021, and video will by then account for 82 percent of all IP traffic. To extract the maximum business value from video customers, service providers must collect viewing data and analyze it in real-time to personalize video offerings and advertising. This is a classic fast data use case. Many other personalized services will have similar requirements.
To learn more about how Fast Data is transforming the Telco landscape, read our ebook Fast Data Use Cases for Telecommunications.