Service Provider Hosted Social Address Book

Growing importance of Social Media & Networking and
Internet data services, coupled with decreasing use of voice services, end users
have started realize the globalization of contacts to reach anywhere through
service providers. At one point, mobile address books were the necessary enabler of
voice services which helped the growth of operators who had complete control
on their subscribers.

Now, they have gradually been asked to take a backseat as
they are being treated as ‘dumb pipes’ when compared with internet companies who
have entered in this arena which has been rapidly evolving.

Currently, an ongoing trend wherein
the leading device manufacturers have introduced smart phones with cloud
address books have made users accustomed to access contacts and services with great
ease. This provides a big challenge to mobile operators who foresee a big share of
business coming from mobile services in future. As operators back out from
this vital entry point and allow others to establish their services, it would be
more difficult to ensure users to stay with provider’s network.

This paper provides insights for a global address book
solution over cloud using service provider’s hosted cloud platform which will provide
the operators a flexibility to aggregate the contact information and
content, thus enabling them as globalized address book catering seamless data
services for a newer revenue generation streams.



To the large extent, telecom service providers have an enormous computing infrastructure running with variety of complex applications and also manage the various aspects of services provided to end users. Cloud is looked as an inevitable transformation technology by telecom service providers, revolutionizing their existing infrastructure
into hosted environment which not only reduces the costs but also increases the revenue and is a profitable scenario
in managing the infrastructure with optimal resourcing

Much of the Telco Service Providers are excited about the embracement of cloud in a service provider environment, because, cloud environment enables better possibility of sharing the resources for computing needs and spend less on the infrastructure making the network more effective and efficient.

Upsurge in the Social Media & Networking solutions bundled with broadband services especially like 4G mobile technology world have allowed internet service providers players to flourish which have become a challenge to mobile operators. During voiceonly
era, complete control of the service delivered to the customer remained with
the owner of the network.

With the rise in internet, it has allowed
disintermediation wherein the service provider’s see many companies providing service over their lines and build a
relationship with customers and handful of them have become powerful brand in this universe. Having concern to bear
the cost to invest in next generation networks, operators
fear becoming ‘dumb’ commodity pipes along with the worry of losing touch with their customers.

A service provider can best understand the user’s context and appropriately provide the right level of information, usability and services. The importance of owning the address book places a greater challenge and opportunity and its increased role on mobile devices as a better
value added service.


Users have begun to visit multiple social networking
sites as well as use email systems and other sources of contact data, so Service Providers have the flexibility to
aggregate the contact information and content. Users can get benefitted by this convenience which can be best provided by a Service Provider rather than the content providers.


Address book cloud repository can serve as ‘one’ storage mechanism catering to backup and restore management.  With the information synchronized, end users need not worry if they switch to new devices or lose their

Users would want to keep personal and business contacts separate and others would like to combine it. At the same time users would want to filter the contacts from other system to keep them in phone. So this quantum of contact data provides significant challenge and it presents
another opportunity to operators who can avoid information overload and manage it with ease.

This cloud based solution can provide management console/portal which can be accessible over web or WAP enabled device which can allow end users to view/edit contact information, correlate with device address book and other user friendly actions.

Focusing more on social networking, this solution helps
an operator to transform as focal point to social networks.
It can allow an end user to identify if his/her contact can
be communicated via phone call, SMS, online chat or on
social network.

So, an operator can best understand the user’s context
and appropriately provide the right level of information, usability and services. The importance of owning the address book places a greater challenge and opportunity and its increased role on mobile devices.


Enabling Service Provider’s to have better knowledge of their customers and their established infrastructure for billing, customer service and support through retail
outlets and call centers.

With this approach, service provider can position the address book as a central repository of everything important for mobile, offline and online use. As phone is getting more powerful in terms of accessing, storage and sync up, it provides a perception to the users that they
are in full control of their data and content. Rather than a commercial organization like internet companies knowing much about the user and their contacts, its better on security and privacy factors for an operator to store
where there is comparatively greater amount of trust that


Only an operator can best know the various phone makers and models used by its subscribers and it provides an opportunity to uniquely offer innovative solutions for heterogeneous handsets.

Considering the wide range of handsets, accurate synchronization becomes a potential challenge. Cloud based solution provides the best approach to broad device compatibility and accurate syncing.


Hosted Address Book solution bears below advantages,

 *  Smart
& Dynamic Address Book Management in a globalized approach.

 *  Solution
uniqueness in the market to integrate subscribers’ mobile address books with the most popular social networks, while simultaneously hosting everything in the service providers cloud.


*  Value
added service integration – tightly coupled to operator’s core services

loyalty management and retention of end users by controlling the subscribers’ contacts and social interaction

*  Upon
synchronization with the cloud, our extensible platform augments each of the subscriber’s contacts with pertinent content from multiple, aggregated sources such as Facebook/Twitter profile pictures and status updates

 *  Interoperability – seamlessly sync data with other address books and systems

 *  AllinOne
secured Address book back
up and management solution

 *  Real
time address book updates

Hosted Address book can be populated with information gathered from wide variety of sources. It can be synced with mobile devices, email systems,
messaging systems, social networks, web services, desktop apps etc Wide variety of benefits are offered on a cloud platform hosted solution perspective like,


* Flexibility and extensibility

* Global access

* Efficient storage and network utilization

* Ease in updates, software version control

* Cost reduction in IT


Multiple factors have led to the evolution of Cloud Computing. One of the key factors is the way Internet Service Providers (ISP) matured over a period of time. As per Forrester Research below figure 3, from the initial
days of offering basic internet connectivity to offering software as a service, the ISPs have come a long way. ISP 1.0 was
allabout providing internet access to their customers. ISP
2.0 was the phase where ISPs offered hosting capabilities.
The next step was co
location through
which the ISPs started leasing out the rack space and bandwidth. By this, companies could host their servers running custom, Line
of Business (LoB) applications that could be accessed over
the web by its employees, trading partners and customers. ISP 3.0 was offering applications on subscription resulting
in the Application Service Provider (ASP) model. The latest Software as a Service or SaaS, is a mature ASP model. The next logical step for ISPs would to embrace the Cloud.



Broadband Service Providers are showing increasing interest and demand in deploying the wide variety of hosted value added services (Figure 4) leveraging the
cloud environment. Many of the Value added services are planned and few deployed in the market verticals
including the entertainment, home services, technical support services, convergence services, and emerging areas such
as digital health in global markets.

Service providers are adding many more value added services to retain subscribers and to increase ARPU as
the broadband and internet penetration is increasing significantly. As per Parks Associates, Many of these services, such as multi
video and home automation, will leverage the networks and in
systems being deployed today. Cloud
based ValueAdded
Services provides a look into the market forces, consumer demand, business models, and strategies that are shaping this growing area.”

The opportunities from the clouds are immense. It has brought up new revenue streams for telecom service providers. Cloud will greatly increase network traffic
and utilization and hence transport revenues. In addition,
the providers can charge end users for a given level of
servicequality and also charge the cloud based providers for service quality – which is exactly a win
situation for the service providers.



With customers spending increasing time on (Mobile) Social Networks, they are increasingly taking their
traffic, connections and data with them, effectively handing their address books to internet giants like Google and Facebook from under the operators’ noses, by backing their
contacts up into Google and Facebook’s private clouds rather thanyours. This is a problem because if you lose your customers’ most important data set – their address book – you lose their loyalty.

This solution can enable operators to differentiate themselves. Having unique knowledge about users and the devices, only they can offer value added services such as address books and aggregated content will enable increased user satisfaction thereby spur growth in future business revenues.


By Venkat Annadata & Kasilingam Sundararaj , Tech mahindra

[email protected]