Typography

Elitecore Technologies, founded in 1999, is an Indian-based global IT product company providing BSS alongside packet core with flexibility of modular and pre-integrated offerings. The company was recently acquired by Sterlite Technologies to expand its global reach, and is delving into new areas of smart cities, monetization, pay TV; new solutions adding to the company's existing telco business portfolio. Vaibhav Mehta, Senior VP, New Business Development, Elitecore Technologies, sat with Telecom Review at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss the company's expansion.

What brings Elitecore Technologies to Mobile World Congress this year?
This is Elitecore's fifth year at Mobile World Congress. It's one of the key events of the year for us. Every year, Elitecore comes up with a new product launch or a theme. This year our theme for MWC is 'monetization' for IP networks. We are focussing on working with service providers on digital services and up-coming next generation services, and we are working with them to enable both the retail, wholesale, enterprise, as well as what we call partner settlement.

Can you tell us about your particular expertise with Elitecore Technologies?
I head the global sales part of Elitecore, and I head the business development division as well. I've been a part of the core management team since inception, and I've worked in different areas within the company, from technical support, to product management and then in recent times heading global sales for the company. Working with Elitecore since inception in itself has taken close to 15 years, and prior to that I was working with two service providers. I have an engineering background. I offer 19 years of telecom experience to Elitecore Technologies.

What is the significance of the acquisition of Elitecore by Sterlite Technologies?
Elitecore, in its early days, was founded by individual entrepreneurs. From 2007 onwards, we raised private equity for expansion from a company called Carlisle. In recent times, Elitecore was looking to expand and get into larger markets. At that point, Sterlite Technologies, a company which is based in India specializing in fiber optic manufacturing, was in its phase of moving from fiber manufacturing to end-to-end telecom solutions. One of the criteria of becoming a solutions provider was telecom software, and with Elitecore, they found an ideal fit from a niche product perspective, to look at Elitecore for its capability around OSS/BSS subscriber management. Combine the whole thing with an end-to-end solutions story, and that's where Sterlite became interested in having a majority inquisition of Elitecore.

Now Sterlite owns Elitecore and we'll be merging with them in mid-2016. For us, it's significant because it gives Elitecore access to a much larger company. Sterlite has close to half a billion dollars worth of revenue; it's a large listed company, part of a massive Indian business group called Vedanta. This acquisition puts Elitecore into a much larger telecom solutions company, and that is where our next phase of growth is going to be. We will be aggressively moving in new markets for our software products, and you'll also see Elitecore getting a position for end-to-end solutions; one of them is a monetization platform, and the other one is a smart city initiative.

Can you share with us more details about Elitecore Technologies' WiFi offload, WiFi monetization and smart city capabilities?
Elitecore, where it's positioned today, has three important functions from a telecom software perspective. We do OSS/BSS; we do subscriber & signal, which is typically authentication, accounting and policy control. We also do what is called WiFi Services management platform, which is about monetizing WiFi services for providers. Putting all of this together and with our expertise in giving end-to-end solutions, we believe that providers, as well as countries, are undergoing a revolution from a digital services perspective. The first stepping stone of that is giving the right infrastructure to citizens of any country to access what is called digital services, which is our definition of a smart city.

Smart cities expect some amazing things which include infrastructure, which we believe Sterlite is very strong at implementing; connectivity, which again is a strong point of Sterlite providing transmission networks, and on top of that, you need software to have the users authenticated, manage the subscriber on the network, and then eventually monetize it either for the user or for the service provider. So in that perspective we have now started looking at smart city development as an end-to-end project, and Elitecore is now getting into a solution position, not just from a software supplier perspective, but more from an end-to-end player and smart city developer.

At the moment, we are mainly focussed on the area which we come from, which is India. India is going through a massive digital transformation right now. But outside India, we are doing some interesting projects in the Middle East, such as a monetization project working with du in Dubai, who have extensive spread on WiFi. Du has ideas on how they want to monetize their WiFi traffic. Elitecore has supplied a WiFi and monetization platform for du, which besides doing subscriber management, it also enables du to do end-to-end partner settlement with people they want to partner with regarding WiFi.

It's a concept called sponsored-data, where eventually the end subscriber may have the benefits of using the infrastructure for free, but through the partnership model, du and its partners could do revenue sharing. So these are the kind of concepts that we are doing besides smart cities - typically on WiFi monetization, which we believe are all stepping stones towards the bigger picture of smart cities.

What about enabling cable TV and broadband MSO (Multiple Systems Operator)?
With IP networks becoming more prevalent, digital service and service convergence is the key, where an end user will likely only have one provider coming into their house. Lately, we are seeing that the cable providers, who were just paid TV providers earlier, are now going out of their way not just to promote content, but also giving basic data services, which are broadband. Elitecore has opened up in the last three years. We have acquired customers specifically for paid TV and doing fixed-line broadband, and that's the vertical we have launched which is positioning our portfolio products for the NSO segment as well.

Elitecore Technologies enables CSPs (Communication Service Providers) to migrate to next gen digital services. Can you tell us about this?
Everybody knows that service providers are directed towards digital services, giving an experience of any service, IP network or a next generation services network. What Elitecore is doing is enabling this transformation through an integrated platform approach of subscriber management, policy management, revenue management and partner settlement. Elitecore has a common stack which is a theme for this year's MWC called: Monetizing all IP Network. Elitecore is basically becoming a partner for CSP through an integrated platform for revenue management and policy management.

What major challenges has Elitecore faced in recent times?
Providers are looking at single-solution providers, and also looking at innovative models to procure systems. This is because providers themselves are undergoing a complete transformation. They've been used to doing simple voice service and data services, and now they're expected to partner with OTT players and expected to partner with content partners; they're typically becoming digital service providers. In this transformation, where providers themselves are trying to enable their own business, they're expecting suppliers to stand up with them. Providers want to see solutions working on a virtualized platform, and they want to see solutions working on a cloud services and public cloud infrastructure.

Elitecore and all other software companies, even networking companies, are undergoing a transformation, and so to speak are creating an offering to the market. It's going from a typical license sale, to what we call a software service scenario. I believe that companies who adjust to this particular change of transformation will eventually come out as leaders.

Where do you see Elitecore Technologies one year from now?
At the moment, Elitecore is a regional player. When I say regional, I mean we are part of the emerging markets in the world economy. We are present in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and of course South Asia. One of the plans we have is to become a more regional player, globally, being present in other parts of the world. I believe this will happen through the current acquisition which is happening with Sterlite. It gives us a larger market.

From a product side, what you will see is that our products are currently undergoing transformation to handle digital services. You will see us much more in the cloud-based services model space and also attempting more software as a service for our core products. The third thing you will see is Elitecore taking leadership positions in smart city projects and next generation IP monetization projects.

Elitecore Technologies, founded in 1999, is an Indian-based global IT product company providing BSS alongside packet core with flexibility of modular and pre-integrated offerings. The company was recently acquired by Sterlite Technologies to expand its global reach, and is delving into new areas of smart cities, monetization, pay TV; new solutions adding to the company's existing telco business portfolio. Vaibhav Mehta, Senior VP, New Business Development, Elitecore Technologies, sat with Telecom Review at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, to discuss the company's expansion.

What brings Elitecore Technologies to Mobile World Congress this year?
This is Elitecore's fifth year at Mobile World Congress. It's one of the key events of the year for us. Every year, Elitecore comes up with a new product launch or a theme. This year our theme for MWC is 'monetization' for IP networks. We are focussing on working with service providers on digital services and up-coming next generation services, and we are working with them to enable both the retail, wholesale, enterprise, as well as what we call partner settlement.

Can you tell us about your particular expertise with Elitecore Technologies?
I head the global sales part of Elitecore, and I head the business development division as well. I've been a part of the core management team since inception, and I've worked in different areas within the company, from technical support, to product management and then in recent times heading global sales for the company. Working with Elitecore since inception in itself has taken close to 15 years, and prior to that I was working with two service providers. I have an engineering background. I offer 19 years of telecom experience to Elitecore Technologies.

What is the significance of the acquisition of Elitecore by Sterlite Technologies?
Elitecore, in its early days, was founded by individual entrepreneurs. From 2007 onwards, we raised private equity for expansion from a company called Carlisle. In recent times, Elitecore was looking to expand and get into larger markets. At that point, Sterlite Technologies, a company which is based in India specializing in fiber optic manufacturing, was in its phase of moving from fiber manufacturing to end-to-end telecom solutions. One of the criteria of becoming a solutions provider was telecom software, and with Elitecore, they found an ideal fit from a niche product perspective, to look at Elitecore for its capability around OSS/BSS subscriber management. Combine the whole thing with an end-to-end solutions story, and that's where Sterlite became interested in having a majority inquisition of Elitecore.

Now Sterlite owns Elitecore and we'll be merging with them in mid-2016. For us, it's significant because it gives Elitecore access to a much larger company. Sterlite has close to half a billion dollars worth of revenue; it's a large listed company, part of a massive Indian business group called Vedanta. This acquisition puts Elitecore into a much larger telecom solutions company, and that is where our next phase of growth is going to be. We will be aggressively moving in new markets for our software products, and you'll also see Elitecore getting a position for end-to-end solutions; one of them is a monetization platform, and the other one is a smart city initiative.

Can you share with us more details about Elitecore Technologies' WiFi offload, WiFi monetization and smart city capabilities?
Elitecore, where it's positioned today, has three important functions from a telecom software perspective. We do OSS/BSS; we do subscriber & signal, which is typically authentication, accounting and policy control. We also do what is called WiFi Services management platform, which is about monetizing WiFi services for providers. Putting all of this together and with our expertise in giving end-to-end solutions, we believe that providers, as well as countries, are undergoing a revolution from a digital services perspective. The first stepping stone of that is giving the right infrastructure to citizens of any country to access what is called digital services, which is our definition of a smart city.

Smart cities expect some amazing things which include infrastructure, which we believe Sterlite is very strong at implementing; connectivity, which again is a strong point of Sterlite providing transmission networks, and on top of that, you need software to have the users authenticated, manage the subscriber on the network, and then eventually monetize it either for the user or for the service provider. So in that perspective we have now started looking at smart city development as an end-to-end project, and Elitecore is now getting into a solution position, not just from a software supplier perspective, but more from an end-to-end player and smart city developer.

At the moment, we are mainly focussed on the area which we come from, which is India. India is going through a massive digital transformation right now. But outside India, we are doing some interesting projects in the Middle East, such as a monetization project working with du in Dubai, who have extensive spread on WiFi. Du has ideas on how they want to monetize their WiFi traffic. Elitecore has supplied a WiFi and monetization platform for du, which besides doing subscriber management, it also enables du to do end-to-end partner settlement with people they want to partner with regarding WiFi.

It's a concept called sponsored-data, where eventually the end subscriber may have the benefits of using the infrastructure for free, but through the partnership model, du and its partners could do revenue sharing. So these are the kind of concepts that we are doing besides smart cities - typically on WiFi monetization, which we believe are all stepping stones towards the bigger picture of smart cities.

What about enabling cable TV and broadband MSO (Multiple Systems Operator)?
With IP networks becoming more prevalent, digital service and service convergence is the key, where an end user will likely only have one provider coming into their house. Lately, we are seeing that the cable providers, who were just paid TV providers earlier, are now going out of their way not just to promote content, but also giving basic data services, which are broadband. Elitecore has opened up in the last three years. We have acquired customers specifically for paid TV and doing fixed-line broadband, and that's the vertical we have launched which is positioning our portfolio products for the NSO segment as well.

Elitecore Technologies enables CSPs (Communication Service Providers) to migrate to next gen digital services. Can you tell us about this?
Everybody knows that service providers are directed towards digital services, giving an experience of any service, IP network or a next generation services network. What Elitecore is doing is enabling this transformation through an integrated platform approach of subscriber management, policy management, revenue management and partner settlement. Elitecore has a common stack which is a theme for this year's MWC called: Monetizing all IP Network. Elitecore is basically becoming a partner for CSP through an integrated platform for revenue management and policy management.

What major challenges has Elitecore faced in recent times?
Providers are looking at single-solution providers, and also looking at innovative models to procure systems. This is because providers themselves are undergoing a complete transformation. They've been used to doing simple voice service and data services, and now they're expected to partner with OTT players and expected to partner with content partners; they're typically becoming digital service providers. In this transformation, where providers themselves are trying to enable their own business, they're expecting suppliers to stand up with them. Providers want to see solutions working on a virtualized platform, and they want to see solutions working on a cloud services and public cloud infrastructure.

Elitecore and all other software companies, even networking companies, are undergoing a transformation, and so to speak are creating an offering to the market. It's going from a typical license sale, to what we call a software service scenario. I believe that companies who adjust to this particular change of transformation will eventually come out as leaders.

Where do you see Elitecore Technologies one year from now?
At the moment, Elitecore is a regional player. When I say regional, I mean we are part of the emerging markets in the world economy. We are present in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and of course South Asia. One of the plans we have is to become a more regional player, globally, being present in other parts of the world. I believe this will happen through the current acquisition which is happening with Sterlite. It gives us a larger market.

From a product side, what you will see is that our products are currently undergoing transformation to handle digital services. You will see us much more in the cloud-based services model space and also attempting more software as a service for our core products. The third thing you will see is Elitecore taking leadership positions in smart city projects and next generation IP monetization projects.

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