As information and communications technology smash into arenas traditionally dominated by telcos and cablecos, it's vital for leaders in each segment to learn new competitors' best practices or partner for success.
After all, it's what their customers are doing.
Whereas they once were separate entities, enterprises' telco and IT teams are melding -- or at least attending the same meetings and frequently speaking to the CIO about the same projects. They're all speaking the same language, one city's CIO told me. As a former networking exec who rose up the ranks, this guy knows software-defined networking, SD-WANs and virtualization; he now talks the talk with the telco and IT folk as he discusses his city's broadband needs and wants. Today, these conversations are easier than they were several years ago, he told me, simplifying decision making and support.
Some service providers are partnering -- we've seen AT&T team up with IBM and Accenture, for example. Others are wholeheartedly hurling themselves into an ICT world, cherry picking what they see as the best pieces, integrating those components into their operations and adding them to traditional telco technologies and strategies.
That's the case at Epsilon. Its roots may be in telco, but Epsilon has quickly adopted some of the best practices and technologies of the system integration, ICT and DevOps worlds to build -- and now upgrade -- a global network for customers ranging from service providers to startups.
Epsilon may have been founded in a coal shed under the stairs of a London home, but there's no dust on its heels.
From coal shed to cloud
With the recent phased deployment of 100 Gbit/s packet optical switched Ethernet technology across its global backbone network, the connectivity and infrastructure-outsourcing provider continues its upward trajectory.
Privately held Epsilon is first deploying 100Gbit/s services across the US, Europe and the Atlantic. Phase one also includes deploying new points of presence (PoPs) in Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle and San Jose, Calif. Phase two, scheduled to start mid-2018, will feature 100Gbit/s upgrades to Epsilon's pan-European network; the provider will add 100Gbit/s services between 50 PoP sites in hubs such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Marseilles. In 2019, Epsilon will turn its attention to Asia, the company said.
"We’ve been evolving our infrastructure across the globe gradually over the last decade. Our previous upgrades have been incremental but the up to 100Gbit/s on-demand service is a step change for our network and gives our partners the scalability they need to support new applications and services," Jerzy Szlosarek, Epsilon CEO, told Broadband World News.
These new applications and services include global cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, he said. Partners and their end-customers are driving huge traffic growth, and by removing legacy processes and upgrading immediately to 100Gbit/s, Epsilon's core backbone network can deliver hyper-scalability, Szlosarek said.
Two major factors helping advance Epsilon include APIs and automation.
"I see APIs driving innovation not just in wholesale but in the entire ICT ecosystem. The API is the key to unlocking the potential of the broad ecosystem of cloud, network and application providers," said Szlosarek. "Integrating networks through APIs enables a global marketplace to exist, one in which a multitude of infrastructure and application services can be accessed and activated to create a true multi-service offering."
Automation is vital to simplifying and accelerating cloud and connectivity, he added. IoT demands flexible, agile and efficient networks, Szlosarek said, and these capabilities mandate automation. They also require new ways of working, such as DevOps, he said.
"The pace of change in our industry is incredible. Our roots are in telco but our future is in DevOps and the ICT ecosystem as a whole," Szlosarek said. "For too long in telecoms things stayed the same and now the revolution and evolution is happening. We see tremendous opportunities in automation, APIs and really reimagining what a connectivity provider can be."
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.