COMSNETS 2009 Panels

  • Panel 1 : Mobile Social Networking: Opportunities and Challenges | January 7, 2009
  • Panel 3 : Challenges in IPTV/IMS Rollouts in India and other Emerging Markets | January 8, 2009
  • Panel 2 : Cloud Computing and Related Services | | January 9, 2009

Panel 1. Mobile Social Networking: Opportunities and Challenges

January 7, 2009

- Rajeev Koodli, Starent Networks

- Pravin Bhagwat, Airtight Networks, India
- Sanjoy Paul, Infosys, India
- Viswanath Poosala, Alcatel – Lucent Bell Labs, India
- Prof. Mohan Kumar, UT Arlington, USA

In recent years, social networking has emerged as the leading application on the Internet showing huge growth in Internet traffic. In India and China and many Emerging Countries, social networking has seen tremendous growth with several local social networking sites emerging to compete with Orkut and Facebook. On the other hand, mobile phone penetration is nearing close to 100% in many urban areas across the world, especially among the youth. One of the most popular applications on mobile phones is texting or SMS, which is very similar in nature to Instant Messaging, its Internet counterpart. Twitter for instance has gained popularity as a social networks counterpart of these services. A large percentage of these mobile phones are Internet capable. Also, a new category of devices known as Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) are appearing in the market promising PC-like Internet experience on the go using 3G and WiFi / WiMAX networks. The above developments seem to indicate that mobile social networking (MSN) could be one of the fastest growing applications. It frees a user from being tied to her PC / laptop and allows her to be in touch with friends and online acquaintances at all times. MSN could provide a great opportunity to carriers, providers of mobile value added services (VAS), social networking sites and their advertisers to increase their revenues, especially since many users of MSN are likely to be young, urban high-school and college students – a segment that is getting increasingly harder to reach over traditional broadcasting media such as TV. On the downside however, MSN is also likely to contribute to increased traffic on mobile networks and may cause disruption to other applications such as email and mobile enterprise applications.

The panel will examine how various players in the mobile networking eco-system can capitalize on the MSN opportunity while making sure it can co-exist with other revenue generating applications.

Panel 2: Challenges in IPTV/IMS Rollouts in India and other Emerging Markets
January 8, 2009

- Soumya Roy, Infinera
- Prasad Modali, Intel Corporation
- KK Ramakrishnan, AT&T Research, USA
- Mohan Tambe, Innomedia
- Prof. Uday Desai, IIT Bombay

IPTV has attracted significant attention and is poised to see high growth of subscribers in the next few years riding on the increasing speed and availability of broadband infrastructure, improvements in video compression technologies and declining cost of storage. Currently, carriers look at IPTV as an opportunity to offer triple-play services (voice, video, and data) at an attractive price using their DSL/HFC lines and compete against cable companies (MSOs) and other broadcast operators. Over time, IPTV can transform the prevailing concept of broadcast TV with linear channels, create a new way of production, distribution and consumption of video content and make any program any time, any where possible.

There is a buzz about IPTV in India and many ISPs have announced their IPTV launches. India presents a completely different broadband scenario compared to North America, Europe or rest of Asia. The broadband penetration is low and has not seen its high adoption compared to mobile phone subscription (TRAI March 2008 reports shows 3.87 million broadband subscribers compared to 261 million mobile cellular subscribers). MTNL has rolled out IPTV in a limited way in Delhi and Mumbai. With satellite and cable TV being cost-effective and ubiquitous, the question definitely arises: why IPTV? It will be definitely challenging for an Indian telecom operator to have a successful and sustainable introduction of IPTV over the existing wireless or wired infrastructure. Perhaps Mobile IPTV over WiMAX offers an opportunity to leap-frog to TV-on-the-Go while avoiding head-on competition from the extremely low price and bandwidth rich DTH platforms.

The question is whether the current and proposed broadband infrastructure can deliver performance requirements of IPTV to provide broadcast TV-like experience? In that case, is IPTV still too futuristic for India? What strategies would the telecom operators take to make future investments in infrastructure for increasing the access speed, while leveraging the current infrastructure? Can the CAPEX and OPEX be reduced by deploying a common services control framework, IMS for video and voice?


Panel 3 : Cloud Computing and Related Services
January 9, 2009

- Sunit Tyagi, Intel Corporation
- Shivkumar Kalyanaraman, IBM Research, Bangalore
- Rajeev Rastogi, Yahoo Research, Bangalore

The increasing popularity of Internet over the last decade has seen huge investments in data center build-up by players such as Google and Amazon. Amazon, in particular, has also opened up its data centers to the outside world offering “cloud computing” services. Cloud computing refers to the practice of allowing “the cloud” (Internet) to handle computational and storage needs of individuals and enterprises that were traditionally served by personal computers and servers. A user of cloud computing neither cares nor is aware of where the computation or storage is taking place for his / her applications. High-speed and inexpensive broadband access is a requirement for cloud computing because of increased data transfer requirements between a user’s device(s) and the cloud. Another technology that is fueling the growth of cloud computing is “virtualization”. Virtualization allows a physical server to be partitioned into multiple virtual servers. Virtualization across multiple physical computers / servers also allows scaling of compute and storage capacity beyond what is possible with a single server. Research in algorithms and middleware to efficiently distribute a computational problem to several servers and collect results has also contributed to the success of cloud computing. Some of the services offered over a “cloud” include: hosted applications for small and medium enterprises, application streaming and software as a service (SaaS).

The panel will examine how cloud computing can play an important role in lowering the cost of IT infrastructure for enterprises while increasing the ability to scale up rapidly, especially in the emerging markets where a large percentage of small and medium enterprises have not yet invested in IT. The panel will also look at the infrastructure and security and privacy challenges in realizing the promise of these approaches.