About Network-based Telecom Applications

We are all familiar with applications for our PC such as email and calendar, word processing, spreadsheets etc. More recently, “apps” have also entered our collective consciousness as things that we download to our smartphones to make it easier to do something, often in conjunction with counterpart “apps” that live on the servers in the Internet.

As the name suggests, Network-based Telecom Applications live in the telecom network itself and, broadly speaking, there are three main types:

  • There are applications that focus on solving telecoms signalling challenges, facilitating network evolution and enabling new network capabilities, and
  • There are applications that primarily focus on delivering communication services (voice, video-calling, messaging etc.) to the network’s subscribers. This second category can be further divided into:
    • Applications that we all regard as “standard” parts of the services provided by telecom operators, and
    • Applications that add-value and create differentiation between network operators offerings

The benefits of locating applications in the network depend on the type of application being delivered.

Apps for solving telecoms signalling challenges

Each network has its own, often unique, construction. As new technologies and subsystems such as 4G/LTE and IMS roll-out they need to co-operate with the legacy infrastructure. Flexible signalling applications that accommodate the nuances of each network assist with this evolution. Additionally, from time-to-time additional capabilities are needed in the network, for example to combat some previously unforeseen security threat or to support new telecom regulations. All these situations require direct access to the signalling between the network elements, and so a network-based solution is essential: OpenCloud Rhino and network-based apps provide a comprehensively connected and flexible solution.

Apps that deliver common communication services

For end-users, making a voice-call appears as simple as dialling the number and being connected. In reality, a host of network applications are needed for number translation of short-codes and non-geographic numbers for example. Applications are needed for call routing, voice-mail, prepaid calling, call diverts, VPNs for enterprise, multi-party calls and so on. While many of these applications are “de facto” standards, many are also incorporated into the standardised design of the network functionality itself. Delivering these applications from within the network simply follows that design principle. OpenCloud Rhino delivers these apps (see Rhino Sentinel for details), but importantly, and unlike other solutions, Rhino enables these standard applications to be openly extended by the third type of application: applications that create differentiation.

Apps that add innovation, value and create differentiation

Some “apps”, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facetime, and so on, use software downloaded to the handset to deliver new communication services over-the-top of the fixed and mobile data networks. The open nature of the Internet, and open operating system (OS) APIs enable independent developers to create handset apps, and this has created a new form of fast-moving competition for network operators. Yet these handset “apps” are unable to leverage the assets of the network itself – here network operators retain an advantage. OpenCloud Rhino brings that same “open” principle to the telecom network, enabling fast-paced, competitive innovation by the operator and third-parties. Furthermore, using Rhino to deliver applications from within the network enables the applications to fully exploit to capabilities and assets of the network to create more innovative and compelling user experiences that cannot be achieved by over-the-top applications or by external applications enabled by publicly exposed APIs.

Whichever of these three types of applications you are looking for, OpenCloud Rhino provides an open environment in which new signalling solutions and telecom applications can be created in Java, using the network resources and assets in new ways to enable network evolutions and to deliver an improved experience to subscribers.