Verizon launched a range of new offerings dubbed Exponent that target other carriers yesterday. But they’re not your garden-variety connectivity services. Instead, Verizon Exponent is what Verizon calls a “portfolio of software and internet platforms designed to enable carriers around the world to quickly deploy and launch next-generation solutions.”
In an interview, Verizon Exponent Vice President and General Manager Brian Higgins said the offering grew out of initiatives Verizon developed internally to prepare its business for future opportunities. With 1,500 engineers now devoted to developing software platforms, Verizon has created a considerable arsenal of platforms in five key areas:
- Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. As Higgins explains, this platform “takes unstructured data from our mobile network and puts it into structured data” which can be used for “better segmentation within our advertising technology domain.” Exponent partners have the option of partnering with Verizon’s AOL unit on this.
- The Internet of Things (IoT). This includes the Verizon ThingSpace developer platform and other capabilities.
- Media Services. This item likely will not come as a surprise to Telecompetitor readers, as we’ve been following various acquisitions Verizon has made with the goal of enabling the company to process video content for delivery over carrier-provided platforms.
- Internet Services Delivery. This grew out of Verizon’s work in creating platforms for 55 distribution centers across its network that provide TCP optimization and other efficiencies. The platform also can give carriers the ability to create unique billing solutions for customers, such as an option to pay for an employee’s mobile data when a personal phone is used for work purposes.
- Cloud Computing and Storage. As Verizon explains in a press release, this is a container-based architecture that “allows carriers to rapidly deploy new services with a focus on scale and security, all while optimizing for both performance and cost.”
“As carriers realized we were building [all this] internally, they asked if we could make it available to them,” recalled Higgins.
Verizon Exponent Evolution
After exploring that possibility, Verizon began meeting with other carriers to discuss the various platforms and according to Higgins, “the response was overwhelmingly positive.”
Verizon representatives met with 60 senior level executives from other carriers, which yielded 12 deep technical discussions and six ongoing commercial discussions. The company views the Exponent initiative as a revenue opportunity but also something more.
“The real value is in the technical partnerships between the carriers,” Higgins said. He noted, for example, that other carriers “may have ideas we can fold in.” In addition, the other carriers have expertise in their own specific geographies.
In working with other carriers, Verizon’s initial approach is to say “We have solutions we think are solving important problems; if you have similar opportunities, we’ll come out with a team and provide a solution on your hardware,” Higgins explained. “It’s more of a software-as-a-service model within their domain; all of the software platforms are deployed on commodity white boxes.”
It wasn’t so long ago that carriers tended to jealously guard internally developed systems, but Verizon Exponent is the latest example of a shift in attitude on the part of the major carriers. Another example is the ECOMP platform that AT&T created and has been offering to other carriers with the goal of gaining network synergies.