Monday, December 31, 2007

Triple Play Networks

Technological convergence is the modern presence of a vast array of different types of technology to perform very similar tasks. The term convergence is commonly used in reference to the synergistic combination of telephony features, data , productivity applications and video onto a single network. These previously separate technologies are now able to share resources and interact with each other creating new efficiencies. In telecommunications, the triple play service is a marketing term for the provisioning of the two broadband services, high-speed Internet access and television, and one narrowband service, telephone, over a single broadband connection. Triple Play focuses on a combined business model rather than solving technical issues or a common standard.

Technological advances
Technology has evolved from dedicated networks for different kinds of services to converged IP-based infrastructures that can transmit data, voice and video over a single pipe, in real time, to thousands of users. The challenge lies in managing these conflicting demands reliably and efficiently, at acceptable cost, while providing the consumer with the quality of experience he has come to expect. Multi-play is the provision of different telecommunication services, such as Broadband Internet access, television, telephone, and mobile phone service, by organizations that traditionally only offered one or two of these services. Multi-play is a catch-all phrase; usually, the terms triple play or quadruple play are used to describe a more specific meaning.

No matter how advanced the technology may become,CRM is the most important factor in the success of any triple-play network. Home users who subscribe to triple-play networks have the advantage that they have to pay only one bill each month . The ideal triple-play system functions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Non-technical features such as these are crucial to maintaining customer loyalty.

There are multiple and intense regulatory battles over triple play services as the cable and telecom service providers attempt to keep out new competitors. Both industries have been regulated monopolies, and regulatory capture has long been a core competency for them. Prices and terms of service are also of top priority. Cable providers want to compete with telecom companies for local voice service, but want to keep them from competing with cable ops for television service. Whereas , telecom providers want to deliver television service but want to block competition for voice service from cable operators. Both industries cloak their demands for favorable regulatory treatment in claims that their positions favor the public interests. In March 2007 cable operators scored a major victory when the FCC overruled two state public service commissions by ruling that incumbent local exchange carriers must connect to VoIP services. In the other direction, also in March 2007 the FCC limited the powers of municipalities and states over telecom service providers that want to compete with cable TV companies. All three Republican members of the FCC voted for this decision, while both Democratic members voted against it and one predicted either Congress or the courts would overturn it.

Today’s world is digital and dynamic. The global market for integrated consumer devices and triple play services is growing explosively: in 2005, online gaming revenue increased by 43% (DFC Intelligence), while VoIP and broadband video grew by 63% and more than 100% year-over-year respectively . NEMs, telcos and cable operators must validate their products under real-world conditions to be confident that they are able to handle complex voice, video and data services, in real time, securely, for large user populations. The challenges in offering triple play are mostly associated with determining the right business model, backend processes, customer care support and economic environment rather than technology. But that does in no way lesser the importance of technical challenges present in the deployment of the network.

Some of the more challenging issues facing service providers can be broken down as follows:
• How to ensure individual service quality and priority, especially quality-sensitive voice and
video services
• How to provision the unique requirements of each service; specifically, video and voice require high QoS and significant user interaction, data is simply an “always on” state
• How to integrate new customer-located triple play devices like set-top boxes and voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone systems with existing systems
• How to manage and support the individual services once they are provisioned.