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What is a MSO

Multiple System Operators (Cable) or Multiple Service Operators (Converged IP services) (MSOs) provide a range of online multimedia services in a single or bundled form via prepaid or on demand facilities.  MSO is a term usually applied to a telecommunications carrier, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), a television cable company or media/content provider - or a company that provides a combination of these services.


A MSO's business strategy and system design requires considerable investment, careful design and integration, resolution of the security and privacy issues and design and implementation of the operational and business support systems. These systems provide the user (and public at large) with Internet, voice, TV, unified messaging, high speed data, content, mail and web type services. They are built with networks, infrastructure servers (mobiles, DNS, DHCP, Mail, Web portals, soft switches,) and OSS and BSS applications, including provisioning and activation systems, CRMs and billing.


Next generation Internet services  - being a MSO


Arguably most commercial enterprises with an on line presence with converged Internet services have similar needs and address similar challenges to the MSO.


As organizations move to the next generation of Internet, DNS, SIP type services with multiple on line products (e.g. converged insurance, health, finance, travel, retail portfolios) and "user to organization" communications that embrace multi media, self care, preferences, parental controls, entitlements and up sell features, these systems are taking on the features and system demands faced by the MSO.


Large commercial, government, content providers and telco type organizations are all requiring similar systems like those used by today's MSOs. These systems may not be of the same scale in all their dimensions as the MSO, but the issues and direction they face seem to be common. All IT projects should consider:

  • Transformation and convergence (to unified product sets delivered over the Internet),
  • The evolution to Internet and mobile presence based multi media service delivery,
  • The adoption of  information and identity management doctrines that underpin all IT system designs,
  • An agreed, company wide "user to service" information model that may or may not reside in the "infrastructure directory service".

While we now place demands on our IT infrastructure to deliver the online customer service vision, we can find ourselves adopting limited 'enterprise scale' models.


Commercial enterprise systems

Commercially oriented "enterprise" systems are oriented around back offices that use one or more database applications, CRMs, etc with web access provided to their (smaller set) of users using portals and a "single sign on" capability.

IT architectures may take a simpler "enterprise" approach to design with architectures represented as boxes (servers, routers), lines (interconnects) and cloud (the network) diagrams, drums as databases or messages with "XML". Bending to the temptation of design simplicity results in "system fragments" that do not integrate well with legacy systems and the existing on line products of the company. The fragments may fail to scale or meet performance hurdles, become unreliable ultimately leading to destruction of customer services expectations and revenue.


If we can identify the complexity and challenges of the organisation - with complex information security and privacy requirements, voice, fax, email, web services, unified messaging, content and media management technologies and many services which can be delivered individually, bundled or on demand, we can find the parallel with a MSO and design the information and identity management approaches accordingly. wwite and the application of CADS can assist in these matters.



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