In a move to beef up its mobile technology, Cisco on Wednesday announced its latest acquisition. The networking giant intends to buy out a privately held Israeli company called Intucell for about $475 million in cash.
Intucell develops what it calls "advanced, self-optimizing network (SON) software." SON makes it possible for mobile carriers to plan, configure, manage, optimize and heal cellular networks automatically and according to real-time changing network demands.
"The mobile network of the future must be able to scale intelligently to address growing and often unpredictable traffic patterns, while also enabling carriers to generate incremental revenue streams," said Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president and general manager of the Cisco Service Provider Mobility Group.
Accommodating Traffic Explosion
With the Intucell acquisition, Cisco is adding a network intelligence layer to manage and optimize spectrum, coverage and capacity, and ultimately the quality of the mobile experience. Ahuja said the technology will give operators the ability to "not only accommodate exploding network traffic, but to profit from it."
The proliferation of connected mobile devices, faster network speeds, and growing demand for high-bandwidth applications and services are driving greater network traffic and complexity. That, in turn, is forcing mobile service providers to meet ever-increasing user-demand. In order to meet that demand, they need to optimize network bandwidth, usage and services.
Cisco is convinced that Intucell's SON software platform can address those challenges by examining the network, identifying issues in real time, and intelligently adapting the network to meet demand. This is especially important with the evolution of LTE 4G networks that demand more cost-effective and efficient approaches to keeping up with demand.
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us he sees a strong industry focus on creating better automation within networks. The Intucell acquisition will help Cisco move forward on that front, and Kerravala said he expected the networking giant to continue to make more such acquisitions.
"When you look at the types of services that are running over networks today, organizations really can't withstand the amount of downtime from traditional maintenance methods. It's taking too long to troubleshoot the problem," Kerravala said.
"My research shows that 90 percent of the time it takes to fix a problem is identifying a problem. So if you can leverage technology that can automatically identify and fix the problem, that significantly shortens the repair time from something that might have been hours and days to something that users don't even notice."
When the acquisition closes, Intucell employees will be integrated into Cisco's Service Provider Mobility Group, reporting to Shailesh Shukla, vice president and general manager, Software and Applications Group. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2013.