The New Genome – Good Enough Network of Moving Endpoints

By Rebecca Copeland, 10th October 2015.


Traditional Telcos cannot compete with the vibrant range of services that spring up in the world of the web. It is not in their DNA, due to long development cycles, protracted testing, not to mention restrictions and regulations that limit the scope considerably. ‘Not in the DNA’ means no future. Today, Talk-on-the-Go is still the Telco province, and is still a good earner. This is why year 2015 is witnessing the long awaited mass roll-out of VoLTE, implementing IMS as the core platform. However, this may be too late. In the meantime, the service environment has moved to the web, offering alternative communication methods via social media. Now, these services are gaining immediacy – real-time Voice/Video, straight from the browser via webRTC.

Yes, Internet VoIP has been around before, but now it can be easily built into any website application with a few lines of JavaScript code. Existing websites become ‘live’, giving a new meaning to ‘context-calling’. WebRTC Voice can now ride over WiFi or LTE, from any browser enabled device, so VoLTE is pitched against webRTC Voice in the communication arena, fighting over users’ love and attention.
With such an assault on the Mobile stronghold, this must be the moment for Telecom Operators to rethink their strategies and contemplate changing their DNA. They need to embrace web technologies and find new ways of enhancing them. WebRTC based conversational services are still just ‘Best Effort’, and the world of web applications is fragmented, where web multi-domain interoperability is non-existent. Telcos can enter the market with a web-based platform that enables peer-to-peer inter-domain communications, with greater service mobility and choice for users. They need to adopt not only technologies, but also the spirit of the Internet.
The H2020 reTHINK project is prototyping a solution that can be considered as the new Genome – Good Enough Network of Moving Endpoints. It ushers in a new mindset for both Mobile Operators and Web Players, with a framework that is based on global reachability and unfettered service agility. The framework decentralises session control and empowers the endpoints to manage the flow of media. The live endpoints become discoverable beacons, representing users’ presence on the web. The appropriate quality-of-service is achieved by loose collaborations between router networks with special media gateways that assure QoS tunnelling through the open Internet. It is ‘Good-Enough’, which is more than ‘Best Effort’, but not fully guaranteed private services, as VoLTE. A Good-Enough service seeks to deliver just-right levels of quality and privacy, at a price that users can afford.
How would Telcos change their Genome?
They need to adopt low-cost web calling as an alternative offering to VoLTE, and host connectivity services for numerous enticing web applications. Telco’s offerings can be distinguished by guaranteeing full privacy, non-exploitation of user data and no commercial activities, as an antidote to the prevailing Internet business models. The reTHINK framework enables altering the Telco Genome by shifting towards endpoint processing, not server processing, thus minimising costs of implementation and scaling up.
Web players should also alter their customary modus operandi, especially if they wish to address the Enterprise market, which they have coveted for so long. If they adopt the reTHINK platform, they can provide proficient communications and higher quality of service than can be achieved on the open Internet. However, they will need to accept that users’ identities are independently authenticated by external, trusted party (a Telco, perhaps), that their application needs to interwork, and that they need to collaborate with network providers to agree on levels of quality and security. Hence, adopting the reTHINK framework can engender a change of DNA for both Telcos and Webcos, and bring about a landscape of collaboration between Telecom and the Web world.

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