Vikram Sharma is VP, Service Provider, Cisco India & SAARC
The growth of video on the Internet has had a corresponding impact in the world of business, as meetings, presentations, security monitoring, training sessions, customer service, and other activities increasingly include video. More & more businesses are using Video services such as TelePresence, WebEx etc. to connect with customers, employees across the globe. This huge increase in video traffic is transforming the requirements of networking. There is an inherent need for service providers to adopt a technology platform that can help them deal with this transformation but at the same time they need to keep up gradation costs low to optimize profit.
Service Providers need to scale up their network capabilities tremendously and look at adopting a new approach to building mobile networks. The days of delivering voice, video, and data services as distinct offerings with each delivered over its own network, accessed using its own device, and billed as a single subscription are over. What is needed is a single network infrastructure which can be scaled up to meet the demands of the consumers and at the same time maintain cost efficiency. The key here is to move to an all IP based network where voice, video, data get converged into a single system, reducing the CAPEX for service providers. IP Next-Generation Network (NGN) architecture, due to its end-to-end application awareness, gives every device the intelligence to treat a video.
A new class of managed video services Video traffic accounts for a rapidly increasing percentage of global IP traffic, with the 2008 Cisco Visual Networking Index forecasting that video will make up 90 percent of consumer traffic by 2012. Businesses are embracing video, too. A 2008 study of companies in the United States and Europe by Chadwick Martin Bailey found that a majority of respondents surveyed were either now deploying or would deploy in the next 24 months video surveillance (57%), video conferencing (62%), and streaming video (50%) solutions.
At Cisco, more than 60 percent of network traffic was video in 2008, and this percentage is rising. The corresponding video network services, such as multicast, content distribution, media transcoding, application optimization and acceleration, and bandwidth control, are vital to the smooth delivery of and access to video applications. Because video consumes significant amounts of network resources such as bandwidth, until now many network administrators have simply added more bandwidth to their networks. But as video traffic continues to grow, and as applications become more interactive and reach end users on a variety of fixed and mobile devices, the network infrastructure must incorporate new technologies to help ensure reliable video delivery.
Although a 500-millisecond delay on a voice call may only produce an audible click or pop, even such a brief delay on a video application will produce a highly noticeable degradation of the image. Increasingly, businesses are aware of the demanding nature of network video. The 2008 Chadwick Martin Bailey study indicates that there is strong interest among U.S. and European businesses in outsourcing video-oriented services, especially bridging, desktop and Tier 2 support, content management, and content distribution, to managed service providers. In India too businesses have increasingly started adopting video based collaboration technologies to reduce travel cost and strengthen customer relationships. With the advent of advanced technologies like 36/4G, as quality of services improves there will be a further increased demand for video services. Application-aware networking Along with new models for application delivery (such as software as a service), data centre consolidation, and virtualization of resources, the increase in video traffic and the array of evolving video applications are behind new requirements for networks.
Networks must now be application-aware so that every device has the intelligence to treat a video application appropriately end-to-end. Managed service providers can activate key solutions to support customer service-level agreements (SLAs) for video services within their IP NGNs that include: Application visibility, monitoring, and reporting solutions. Application acceleration and optimisations tools Application control for bandwidth and performance management.
Business benefits IP NGN provides the inherent end-to-end application performance management capabilities required of today's demanding video applications. It is media aware (capable of detecting and optimizing different media types to deliver an optimal quality of experience), endpoint aware (capable of detecting and configuring media endpoints automatically), and network aware (able to detect and respond to changes in device, connection, and service availability). Leveraging existing assets within their IP NGNs, managed service providers can create new revenue streams, upsell additional services, and create long-term customer loyalty.