Federation as a Service
Where the federation service is in place, it eliminates the need for the PSTN to support interconnectivity among providers.
Federation as a Service is an idea developed to allow service providers, wired and wireless, to operate with each other through a cloud based service. Service providers need a path for the delivery of advanced services, as well as standard voice calls over an all-IP platform. The growth of VoIP communications for residential and business customers underscores how all-IP, cloud-based communications are displacing the need to maintain the legacy public switched telephone network (PSTN).
As an example, IntelePeer's Fluent Federation-as-a-Service (FaaS), enables enterprise contact centers to transform their operations into more cost-effective cloud-based contact centers.
I spoke with Charles Studt, Vice President, Product Management & Marketing at IntelePeer, Inc. He said, "Increasing competitive pressures from competitive hosted UC ecosystems demands a new way to seamlessly connect between networks and platforms. The current method of using the legacy PSTN to provide connectivity between platforms does not provide the ability to offer differentiated services."
To address this, IntelePeer is teaming with BroadSoft to provide the Fluent Federation-as-a-Service offer. Fluent allows BroadSoft-based service providers to connect globally and offer more value-added services such as HD audio and video to end-users.
The IntelePeer service provides a mechanism for providers to connect across networks; so far about 5% of the tier 2/3 providers can use this service. Up to 30+% of the wireless providers can use FaaS.
The service is accessed via standard SIP trunks, and all providers subscribed to the federation can be reached via a single SIP trunk. Where the federation service is in place, it eliminates the need for the PSTN to support interconnectivity among providers.
Although the service is directed toward providers, federation among non-providers can be of value to enterprises as well, including educational institutions, governments, and not-for-profits. I anticipate that such services will eventually be offered more widely, to solve a range of business problems. Here are some examples:
* A corporate merger will often require two or more independent networks to work together. It is also likely that the two enterprises are using or planning the use of SIP trunks. FaaS, as a cloud service, can ramp up the connection between the two networks rapidly with a modest level of IT support from each enterprise.
* Schools, both K-12 and higher education, continue to work together even as they operate as separate institutions. Multiple K-12 school districts may want to share information and resources without tying their respective networks directly together. FaaS can enable this operation at a low capital cost.
* Many states provide service to their smaller communities, while larger cities have their own networks. By federating the communities, cities, and state government networks together, all would benefit.
* Not-for-profit organizations have little capital to spend. These organizations could improve their efficiency and allocate their limited resources if they were directly connected together. The federation of their networks could reduce spending overlap and direct the organization's resources to those in need. The not-for-profits could federate with local, state, and federal agencies when there are disasters like Sandy and Katrina.
This type of federation would further eliminate the need for PSTN connections among these organizations. This is another step in the retirement of the PSTN. The UC services of an organization could be transformed into multi-organization services, enhancing the value of each federated network.