NGSON: An Interesting Standardization Effort
When user generated content began to populate the Internet, and to generate the revolution of content related services, researches understood that user generated services could be the next step to continue such service evolution. Over the last decade standardization efforts have emerge to provide answers and architectural models; efforts like TMF SDF, OMA OSE, ATIS SON, ITU NGN SIDE, OPUCE, SOA and SPICE, can be considered as the more relevant. Recently the IEEE WG P1903 was created to develop the concept of NGSON (Next Generation of Service Overlay Networks), a previous concept, SON (Service Overlay Network), was formulated with the intention to integrate service aware1 technologies created by SOA and delivered over multiple networks using SDP, but the concept lacked some critical features like continuity of the service over multiple networks, or the presentation of content over different devices, considering multiple and diverse contexts of environments. NGSON promises that these features are going to be included, so is natural to think that this new architectural model can revolutionize the way that today the industry develops and delivers the service over Telecommunications networks, this concept can be conceived as a big umbrella that not only integrates service aware models but also will allow the Telcos through the use of a powerful network scheme to provide the first truly pervasive service. The convergence of services, models and technologies in Telecommunications has been well criticized in the past, is obvious that adoption of convergence models hasn’t been massive or enthusiastic; can this new concept become the answer for Telcos seeking to keep services converging over their roof?
NGSON Brings To the Table…
Image courtesy of Paola Buelvas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This concept can be thought as extra layer between the service and the network that today Telcos use to deliver service. What really calls the attention is that it allows the service provider to extend beyond its own network infrastructure to reach different networks, contents and even users. NGSON also includes three advance functionalities; Context Awareness, Dynamic Adaptation and Self-Organization. Context Awareness is a key tool for the service realization, it allows the network to evaluate the situational context of the user in multiple dimensions these being: the service, the user, the device and the network. The Dynamic Adaptation will allow the service to transcend beyond networks and devices (Total mobility) ensuring continuity. Self-Organization ensures that internal resources configuration of this new layer can adapt autonomously imitating the proved principle of resilience from the Internet. But what can you do with it? This architectural concept is divided in several layers and functions, investigation efforts and proof of concepts so far have focused on: User created service; the user choses from a list of services, those he wishes to be combined and delivered without having deep SW or telecommunication knowledge. As an option to provide temporal content storage and optimization functions providing core traffic offloading capabilities through its specialized layer that interfaces with the traditional transport networks. It also has been conceived as an option to aggregate Cloud computational resources. Finally, what I consider the one that generates more expectative is the possibility to provide a truly pervasive service; your identity, applications, contacts and preferences everywhere, in all your devices and without interruption.
The Technical Challenges Today
This effort is just starting and a lot remain to be done, given the current state of the art, the following challenges and work ahead needs to be considered to count with a complete technical proposal:
The Problems of the Past Could be Problems of Today
The industry has tried through different approaches to regain the user attention lost against the Internet content providers, the barriers of adoption faced by those different approaches are well known, let me summarize those barriers that I can recognize for NGSON and contrast it against its objectives and architecture definition:
One of the main objectives of NGSON is to beneficiate, Content providers, Service Providers and users, the problem is that there seems to be a gap between the concept development and the communication of value to the possible key stakeholders, someone in the industry should bridge this gap.
What should the Industry do to Ensure Success?
Considering the huge potential this concept holds to provide the jump towards a new type of service for Telecommunication companies, and as a fan of technology, a professional of the industry and as a plain user, in my opinion this should the action plan for the industry:
I see this concept as an interesting opportunity that will provide the Telcos enough arguments for the first time to give away the control of service offering, ensuring economic survival and at the same time evolving towards the next phase of services.
So rephrasing the question that frames this blog: Would the new concept of service creation really revolutionize the industry? To the best of my understanding the NGSON is a well-conceived technical concept that overcomes several flaws of early approximations, has all the necessary components to be innovative and to become successful.
But, the cold truth is that still a lot of work to be done, various barriers faced by unified frameworks in the past still present today, industry leaders remain distant to the need of a new approach to the service, in other words innovators roles that could take us the next level remain vacant. In conclusion is a very interesting concept with huge potential, which has to overcome several non-trivial challenges but still have some time to accomplish its objective. As a user and fan of Telecommunications I really would like to see the realization of the service as promised by this interesting effort.
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