Verizon’s new Exponent venture offers digital technologies to other carriers, particularly non-competing carriers outside of the U.S.
Exponent offers a foundation for other carriers to fuel their digital transformation through five technologies: big data and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), media services, Internet services delivery, and cloud computing and storage.
“From our standpoint, we’ve taken our capabilities and white-labeled them, and we’re making them available,” said Brian Higgins, general manager of Exponent, a Verizon company. “If we go to Singapore, Japan, Australia, there’s no conflict from a competitive standpoint.”
Exponent’s products are all targeted to carriers so they can add revenue. “We can offer — as a software company — a complete suite of products. It’s very much a software company sitting within Verizon. We have capability to deliver the code and support the code.”
Exponent’s products are all things that Verizon has built for itself. They’re based on white box hardware and software that takes “a container-based approach,” said Higgins. “We can give you that full software stack, sitting on your hardware. It’s not something we host. It’s a software stack we give to the carrier.”
Exponent provides an Apache Mesos container platform to orchestrate large Docker clusters for compute and storage resources in a carrier’s network. “It’s the same stack we run at scale in Verizon for our products,” said Higgins.
Customers may have to do some customized OSS/BSS integrations into their own networks.
Top Exponent Offerings
Exponent executives have had meetings with about 60 carriers. Some are already working with Exponent in the technical phase of deployments. But about half of the carrier prospects are still in commercial discussions.
Higgins said that based on conversations with carriers, it’s become apparent that their area of top interest is big data and AI. They want to better monetize the data from their networks, including data from mobile devices that can be used for advertising. Verizon is already doing this via its Ad-Tech technology that it acquired through its purchase of AOL in 2015.
Higgins said Exponent’s big data and AI software “sits on a Hadoop cluster, and aside from just building the underlying engine, we’ve built a product that sits on top.”
The second most popular area of interest for carrier customers is Exponent’s IoT technology that it developed for its ThingSpace platform. “We provide that same engine and make it available to the other carriers,” said Higgins. Verizon has been using ThingSpace to build out vertical services for use cases such as smart cities. The company recently acquired Sensity, which is playing into its ThingSpace platform.
“We solve all the connectivity options, all the protocols,” he added. “Nobody knows who’s going to be the dominant protocol. You have to sit in the middle and accept all the protocols coming in.”
The media services platform within Exponent allows carriers to easily process at scale any type of video content from linear TV feeds to live streaming, OTT and emerging formats.
The Internet services delivery platform helps operators launch revenue-generating Internet services, with value-based pricing and dynamic network optimization.
Finally, the cloud computing and storage platform is built on a container-based architecture. It allows carriers to rapidly deploy new services.
In terms of named customers for Exponent, Higgins said, “We’ll start to see announcements in the coming weeks and months.”
Verizon’s Telco Cloud
“That program is well under way in the traditional network domain,” said Higgins. Both he and Chris Emmons had been working on the telco cloud initiatives. But Higgins said, “We both moved to work on these products to make available to the carriers.”
Adam Koeppe, VP of technology planning at Verizon, is now leading the telco cloud work.