Nortel chief outlines new approach to services

Mobile service providers should use incremental technologies to try out services and find out what customers want before they...

Mobile service providers should use incremental technologies to try out services and find out what customers want before they roll out 3G services, Nortel Networks chief technology officer Greg Mumford said yesterday in a keynote address at Opticon 2002.

While financial woes and uncertainty about demand for high-speed mobile data services are making carriers hesitant to deploy the technology now, in the meantime, they need to explore potential new services via less powerful systems such as GPRS and CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) Mumford said.

These services can spur a growth cycle in which popular services drive demand for network capacity, he said. "We need to use these to experiment with services and create services," Mumford said.

Nortel is preparing for a transformed carrier equipment industry in which service providers will build capacity to meet customer demand instead of using a "build it and they will come" approach, Mumford told an audience of a few hundred attendees. "In the past year and a half we've pretty much taken care of the stuff that we didn't think was important for us," Mumford said.

However, the needs of enterprises and consumers, including mobility, collaboration and personalised services, will make optical packet networks necessary, he added. Carriers need optics and a packet-based infrastructure in the core of their networks to carry all kinds of services on one infrastructure and reduce overall costs, Mumford said, as well an intelligent edge network that can provide personalised services for different customers.

Enterprises can cut costs by making data available over networks, such as storage area networks, rather than from local storage, Mumford said. User support and computer system costs are a much bigger piece of companies' IT expenses than LANs. Networks can be leveraged to cut overall costs as well as enhancing individual users' capabilities, he added.

"You can really use the communication as a substitute for processing, and by doing that you can drive down computing system costs," Mumford said. "After SANs will come servers," he added.

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