May 062011
 

Have you seen the rumors that Facebook will buy Skype? Well, it won’t be a surprise for most people. One big OTT company buys another. The big surprise would be to see Facebook to embed Skype into the Facebook application and kill the stand-alone Skype. This way, it will force to move all the VoIP users to enter to it’s application where it could have the option to issue ads, campaigns and more importantly, user stats that can be easily sold to 3rd parties.

From the service provider and OSS point of view, this puts another barrier in front of the end to end service visibility. Skype service, embedded in a Facebook web application, located in the internet. Cloud in a cloud situation.

Service providers need to see both the external OTTs service and possible sub-services underneath. Putting a robotic probe that will continuously logs in to a Facebook account will not be enough. The bot, should also try to initiate a call. And, there is no standard mechanism such as calling a web service to initiate the call. The bot, should use screen scrapping mechanisms to simulate the user clicks to make this happen.

If we are lucky enough to “decode” the remote OTT service, we can get some KPIs to be fed into our SQM system. This way, we can get proactive actions such as informing the users about the problems regarding the OTT service provider to achieve customer satisfaction.

Yet, OTTs and Service Providers do not have any standard communication mechanisms that will able them to exchange KPIs of their services. This would definitely be the next generation trend as both sides need those in order to provide expected levels of service. We’ll have to see B2B supplier/partner interfaces between OTTs that will enable them to issue / track and manage trouble tickets.

Services are getting complex day after day. Value chains are getting longer. There are lots of parties to interface with. There are no simple service like “GSM Voice” anymore. We are in the beginning of a change and it is better to act fast for the operators to invest in SQM and re-engineer their processes accordingly.