Much has been written about media servers and their benefits.  In this two-part blog, I’d like to talk about this cool infographic we developed to discuss the roles of media servers for both operator and enterprise applications.  All sources cited in this blog are noted on the infographic.

media_servers_by_the_numbers

For more on media servers, check out a great article titled “Media Servers Will Play an Increasingly Important Role for Telco Apps” recently published in Internet Telephony magazine by colleague Jim Machi.  The article discusses the critical role of media servers today.  Additionally, there are numerous posts in the Dialogic blog about media servers.

Media servers power modern real-time communications – plain and simple.  They are the foundation for applications built on video, WebRTC, interactive voice response, prompts/playback recording conferencing and speech recognition.  All of us interact with these technologies every day, whether through our mobile devices or land line phones.  The purpose of this infographic is to show how critical media servers are across the communications spectrum.

Let’s take each of the sections one by one.

Mobile 4G Networks with VoLTE and VoWiFi
Mobile operators use media servers to deliver critical and profitable applications to subscribers.  Operators are moving to Voice over LTE and Voice over WiFi to deploy enhanced applications to drive increased revenue and contain costs.  Today there are more than 50 million subscribers running on VoLTE and that number is expected to grow to over 1.2 billion subscribers in the next five years.

Operators are looking to offer differentiated servers based on VoLTE and VoWiFi.  Each of those ways to deliver voice and video services is based on 3GPP’s IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) architecture.  It’s in that specification that the media server is defined as an MRF (media resource function) to deliver voice and video.

MRFs provide HD audio interworking, automated announcements and prompts, touchtone (DTMF), recording and playback for voicemail, and advanced video features.

Mobile and Web Apps with WebRTC
WebRTC is the new web and internet standard that is defining a new age of app-based communications for web and native mobile environments.  See my earlier blog on a WebRTC conference in May.

We all know it’s all about mobile.  But did you know that there are expected to be over 6 billion mobile devices that will support WebRTC by 2019? Today, there are more than 600 companies using WebRTC for a wide range of services including customer service, support, education and finance.  Additionally, there are more than 4,000 open source contributors to WebRTC making this a widely adopted and solid platform to deliver advanced real time communication services.

Media servers provide multi-party conferencing for audio and video; recording with real-time playback; and interworking with existing telephone networks.

Enterprise Unified Communications
Today’s enterprise workers are increasingly mobile, and so are their communications systems. And these communications systems are increasingly cloud-based. More than 63% of large enterprises have at least one unified communication application in the cloud.  This drives the growth of a $12 billion hosted VoIP and UC market by 2019.

Media servers provide voice mail servers, speech processing, multi-party conferencing and audio and video, recording and real-time playback, interactive voice response services, and WebRTC interworking with existing networks.

Video Conferencing
The value of the global video conferencing market is expected to grow from $3.3 billion today over $6.4 billion in 2020.  Underlying this growth is the deployment of WebRTC type applications and new cloud-based infrastructure.

Over 30% of large enterprises will use cloud-based video conferencing by 2015.  It’s more accessible, expected and customizable to specific uses cases.  Additionally, over 28% will use WebRTC for desktop video within the next year.

Media servers provide transcoding and transizing between different video formats and provide for multi-party conferencing and recording.

Contact Center
As customers are moving to web and mobile, contact centers are moving toward seamless omni-channel interactions to improve customer experience.  Over 69% of contact center communications are still handled by phone.  More than 30% of contact centers offer a mobile application.  Solutions must be based on mobile users, seamless interactions and great customer experience.

For contact centers media servers provide speech processing, voicemail services, multi-party conferencing, recording and real-time playback, IVR and WebRTC interworking.

Next Generation 911 and Emergency Services
Governments around the world today are expanding their emergency service systems to be compatible with text and multimedia messaging. In 2014, the US FCC directed wireless carriers and other text messaging provides to support text-to-911.   The FCC has also mandated that video relay services for the deaf must also deliver emergency calls.  That mandate is based on the fact that 10% of the population in US and Canada are deaf or hearing impaired making 911 calls very difficult.

Media servers support NG 911 services by providing multi-party conferencing, video, interworking and recording.

Keep an eye out for a new whitepaper from Dialogic on the role of the media server in NG 911 environments.

That wraps up some commentary on the media server infographic.  Think media servers are important? What do you think?

{ 0 comments }

Dialogic #479 Blog Image

The NFV World Congress in San Jose was all about disrupting the current state of telecommunications. So I actually wasn’t too surprised when I heard, in my opinion, a very controversial comment that went contrary to one of the core architectural principles in telecommunications networks. It basically questioned telecom’s obsession with the concept of carrier grade and five 9s. The question raised was, “Why is the telecommunications industry so intent on delivering five 9s when no one is really willing to pay for it? Spending billions of dollars on this capability does not really make sense when no one is willing to pay a premium.”

It’s true that “five 9s” has become a cornerstone to telecom availability, and the term is thrown around quite liberally by vendors and service providers alike. However, with the worlds of IT and telecom colliding, I believe there are markedly different perceptions and opinions to the requirement for five 9s availability. Are the perceptions that far apart, though?

One of the motivating factors for five 9s for me was the 1988 Hinsdale Central Office fire, the largest telecommunications disaster in US history to that time, in which a good portion of the special circuits and central office equipment supporting not only local services but also banking, airline ticket reservations, ATMs, etc., were affected due to a catastrophic fire. The fact was that the Hinsdale office represented a single geographical point of failure, and the outages of some major systems went on for weeks. Enough history, though. The point is that the terms “availability” and “reliability” seemed to take center stage as well as the concern over single points of network failure.

With Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), the concept of High Availability (HA) for virtualized network functions (VNFs) changes. It shifts from that of an active-standby or active-active deployment of the application or platform in a physical sense to a virtualized application using the inherent services and capabilities of the underlying NFV infrastructure (NFVI) layer. So now, when there is a failure, catastrophic or otherwise with the underlying hardware or the application, the impacted traffic will be re-directed to a new instance or a load shared instance of that application either in the same data center or across data centers. So even though the NFVI layer takes responsibility for providing HA, you still need the available virtual resources to accommodate this capability.

Admittedly, some public cloud providers don’t promise five 9s availability (which amounts to a little over 5 minutes down time a year) nor do they count scheduled downtime or maintenance in calculating their SLA. This seems to be in direct conflict with the telco mantra of five 9s, but an N+X approach (where X is the number of failed components that can be tolerated) can provide a pretty solid foundation to meet customer expectations of availability. There are challenges, though, as discussions in the ETSI NFV ISG point out. For example, the VNF has to dynamically and rapidly scale out in response to a failure or burst in traffic load. Also, some VNFs perform stateful processing of flows and that state needs to be duplicated across instances otherwise there could be a service disruption when an instance fails.

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and cloud-based applications truly represent a technology turn that will have a profound effect on:

  • How underlying infrastructure is deployed for end-to-end service delivery
  • How services and new network functions are rolled out
  • The way network functions are architected, chained together and instantiated to create a service, and
  • The capability set of virtualized network functions that can now leverage the elasticity and resiliency benefits of the cloud – for example N+X

Dialogic has taken a comprehensive approach when it comes to NFV and VNF implementation and has focused on software modularity and decomposition of applications to better take advantage of the elasticity and scalability features of the NFVI.

What do you think? Is the concept of five 9s a thing of the past or do we have new tools to implement the next generation of high reliability in a cloud environment? Let us know what you think by tweeting us @Dialogic.

{ 0 comments }

Advancing Texting for the Contact Center

by Jim Machi May 27, 2015 Business
Dialogic

Last week, we explored texting within the contact center realm. As texting becomes more prevalent in the contact center, there will be a lot of interesting use cases for expanding text as a customer service avenue. These use cases will be similar to many years ago when the “call” center transformed into a “contact” center […]

Just What the Doctor Ordered

by Tim Moynihan May 21, 2015 Business
Dialogic

House calls may have gone the way of the country doctor, but physicians continue to be pioneers in the field of mobile technology. Physicians, for example, were one of the first groups to test out mobile pagers in the 1950s—the precursor to the mobile phone. Today, it’s hard to imagine a doctor without a smartphone […]

Read what you missed at the WebRTC Conference & Expo

by Jeremy Burton May 20, 2015 Business

I thought I’d share a few observations from the WebRTC Conference and Expo in Miami last week. I attended many sessions, participated in one as a panelist, and represented Dialogic at our booth. Observation #1: WebRTC is maturing into a generally accepted communication channel Many people from operators and large enterprises stopped by the booth […]

Achieving International LTE Roaming

by Jeremy Burton May 20, 2015 Business

At the recent LTE MENA conference I had the pleasure of being on a panel where we discussed the challenges and opportunities with achieving international LTE and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) roaming. During the course of the panel, the role IPX providers play when it comes to roaming enablement was a hot topic. Service providers […]

VoLTE Performance

by Jim Machi May 18, 2015 Cloud Computing
Dialogic

One of my predictions for 2015 related to VoLTE and Value-Added Services (VAS) starting to appear in relation to VoLTE.  I wanted to give a little background on why I said that.  It basically comes down to VoLTE working. In the summer there was some buzz made when Signals Research Group put out a paper […]

What’s Next for IPX?

by Jeremy Burton May 14, 2015 Business

IPX operators, the IP reboot of the GRX, have been providing an array of services in addition to the connectivity for mobile data roaming for GSM operators from which their earlier name was derived. International voice switching and termination has been a core offering by IPX operators for quite a while, as it has been […]

Texting and the Contact Center

by Jim Machi May 12, 2015 Business
Dialogic

I’ve periodically written about the changing contact center, from speech analytics to WebRTC multiple times. Another interesting trend emerging is the use of text for the contact center. It’s kind of old school, but text is an efficient and direct way to get information to a customer. A widely quoted statistic from a 2014 Harris […]

Hear What Greenville’s Leading CIOs Have to Say

by Angela Diamantis May 11, 2015 ScanSource Catalyst

New technology is invented every day and CIOs continuously have to balance the demands of innovation with their individual business objectives while maintaining cost efficiency. This year at 1COMM, Rich Long, president of ScanSource Catalyst and ScanSource Communications, will lead a panel discussion of CIOs and other IT decision-makers from leading companies in healthcare, education, […]