Speaking at the Gartner ITExpo Symposium in Cannes this week, Dr Alireza Mahmoodshahi, CTO at COLT, outlined his technology vision for the future of business communications and developments he expects to see in 2006. He said that in five years’ time business users will be able to access all the services they require, be that voice, instant messaging or business applications from any device and via any network. He said the industry is starting to move rapidly in this direction – and 2006 will see important developments – but warned that carrier inter-working is crucial for it to become a reality.
In future businesses will be able to add and change their services just as easily as turning on a lightswitch, adding or removing bandwidth, users and corporate applications as the business requires. At the heart of COLT’s technology vision is a single converged IP platform which will replace today’s current voice and data networks, fixed and mobile, and be integrated with data centre facilities. This will enable business services to be delivered seamlessly – on demand – with the technology entirely transparent to the end user.
Dr Mahmoodshahi said, “Communications has grown at breakneck speed in the last 10 years and today we have a spaghetti junction of networks and devices which is complex and expensive to manage. I don’t want to carry around five or six different devices – just one or two. As a communications provider, it’s no longer good enough to offer just network connectivity or voice or hosting as many of our competitors do. Customers are looking to consolidate providers and simplify IT management and we need to respond with comprehensive infrastructure solutions. This is the direction in which COLT is moving.”
Dr Mahmoodshahi added that the ‘all IP convergence’ vision will not be possible without inter-working between carriers. “GSM and PSTN networks have proved to be a success because of seamless interconnections between carriers, but other technologies such as Frame and ATM have not been so successful. Carriers need to work together, and with vendors, to ensure standards for MPLS and Ethernet inter-working, and for new alternative access technologies such as Wimax are ratified quickly.”