While most of the wireless industry's attention remains focused on the segment's large and growing selection of glistening gadgets, those who understand the operational support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) space contend that some of the market's greatest innovations are set to spring from these pipes that represent the guts of the wireless industry. And, perhaps not surprisingly, some also argue the support-system space is poised to collapse into a morass of complexity due to that same push for innovation.
"The major change for the entire communications industry is the introduction of IP," said Cassandra Millhouse, product marketing director for Amdocs' OSS division. And due to this evolution to Internet Protocol technology, "where there's added complexity is in the operational support system."
Millhouse's predictions carry the weight of Amdocs' position in the space. According to numbers from research and consulting firm Gartner, Amdocs has been the No. 1 vendor for "telecom operations management systems" for years. In 2008, the company commanded 7.4 percent of the worldwide market--making it the world's leading vendor--with revenues of $1.6 billion. Amdocs remains ahead of its nearest rivals including Accenture, Huawei, Hewlett-Packard and Nokia Siemens Networks.
But what exactly does it mean to be the world's leading OSS vendor? It means that Amdocs is the largest seller of the software and business systems that help to activate, monitor, bill and service customers' cell phones. It's no small task.
On the brink of change
Today, according to those in the industry, the OSS paradigm is relatively straightforward: There's an individual system for each individual service offered by wireless carriers, which creates a one-to-one OSS relationship between services and support systems. However, in the IP future, the role of OSS will change dramatically to track a seemingly unlimited number of services. In that future, operational support systems will need to monitor and bill for services in a way that takes the entire network into account, which means that OSS vendors may well become the ones to report on a network's overall performance and capacity...Continued