ATIS policy management work addresses timely industry priorities

Susan Miller, ATISAs users' expectations continue to evolve, innovative and creative solutions are becoming necessary to accommodate on-network data traffic's explosion.

And while data's growth is hardly newsworthy, the means by which industry manages these tremendous data volumes is a matter of ongoing discussion. At the same time, there is also a collective sentiment that industry cannot simply continue to deploy additional, high-capacity infrastructure to address this issue--that's simply not the singular, sustainable, long-term solution. Further, as differentiated next-generation networks are deployed--and service convergence becomes a reality--industry must continue to provide consistent user experiences. These intersecting circumstances thereby necessitate coordinated, synchronized policy management solutions.   

Indeed, policy management can play a critical role in completing service convergence by both making it transparent to end-users, and also helping service providers effectively monetize existing resources. We also know that policy impacts myriad areas of the telecom ecosystem. And yet, some areas are more effectively--and comprehensively--dealt with than others. For example, the ability to accurately, consistently, and efficiently collect revenues from advanced services lags behind the provider's ability to offer those very same services.

To that end, ATIS' Policy Management Focus Group recently completed a 12-month study which focused on industry's fragmented policy management approach, and how best to achieve maximum efficiency and throughput from existing network assets. Further, the Focus Group's business-driven analysis emphasized deriving requirements from end user needs in the context of service providers' network realities. 

In its work, the Focus Group found that--currently--policy management is relatively well understood within a single service domain. And yet, in the future, the most compelling service convergence scenarios involve devices across different access technologies and multiple service domains.

This disconnect embodies the focus of our work. We've found that standards addressing policy coordination across disparate domains--and access technologies--are still evolving, and still have significant gaps. With our ongoing work, ATIS will identify the key requirements for harmonized policy frameworks necessary for service providers to realize capex and opex savings, while simultaneously enabling tomorrow's converged ICT ecosystem.

To begin that effort, ATIS recently released a policy management report which assesses the existing policy landscape from three broad perspectives: Interworking, Convergence, and Functional Enhancements. Policy Interworking was identified as the top priority, and addresses mapping between other organizations' ongoing policy activities--specifically those of 3GPP; Convergence was identified as an important objective that required further, more granular, study. Additional Functional Enhancements were also identified and long-term, coordinated, standardization plans were subsequently developed.

Susan Miller is President and CEO of The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions 

P.S. To learn more about our ongoing Policy Management initiative, ATIS has also scheduled a Webinar, titled "Policy Management - Toward a Common Architecture Framework," for September 30th from 1:30-2:30pm ET. The Webinar, sponsored by GENBAND, will be moderated by FierceTelecom's Senior Editor Sean Buckley, and features panelists Naseem Khan, Principal Member of the Technical Staff, Verizon, and Fred Kemmerer, CTO, GENBAND. More information is available at http://www.atis.org/events/webinars_Sept30.html

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