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IBM to acquire The Now Factory in big data telecoms play

NFV and SDN will be hot topics at MWC this year.

IBM on Tuesday announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire The Now Factory, a Dublin-based company providing analytics software that helps communications service providers optimise their networks.

The US company will take ownership of The Now Factory for an undisclosed sum, joining the company’s Software Group.

The Now Factory’s service offers communications service providers analytics based on real-time mobile usage, giving telcos and similar service providers visibility into how mobile services are being used so networks can be optimised accordingly.

“The Now Factory’s innovative solutions are all about enabling quick insights for better business results in the highly competitive telecommunications landscape,” said Tom Morrisroe, chief executive officer of The Now Factory.  “As part of IBM, we can now extend our technologies to a broader range of clients to help them uncover new, untapped growth opportunities, and achieve tangible business value from big data and analytics.”

Virtualisation and  the Cloud is a track at the Broadband World Forumtaking place on the 22nd – 24th October 2013 at the RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, Amsterdam. Click here to download a brochure for the event and here to register for a conference pass.

IBM general manager Bob Picciano said that the acquisition is part of the company’s big data strategy, and that big data in general is expected to account for a growing share of the company’s revenue moving forward. The company says it expects to generate $20bn in revenue by 2015 from its big data and analytics offerings.

The latest announcement is telling of how much value IBM accords to the telco space.  Since 2010 the company has been offering telcos white label cloud services that have allowed them to develop their own cloud capability, and IBM has also been fairly involved on the managed services and hosting side.

But it has also been working to expand its analytics and big data offerings over the past three years, as evidenced by the flurry of acquisitions it made during that time: Coremetrics and Natezza in 2010, Algorithmics in 2011, Emptoris, Vivisimo and Varicent in 2012, Star Analytics and StoredIQ earlier this year. It’s also invested heavily in R&D, including a recent $1bn investment in Linux to support big data.

Earlier this year the company teamed up with Chinese BSS (business support systems) provider Asiainfo-Linkage to develop a service that monitors mobile usage to allow telcom as well as more effective mobile advertising. But with The Now Factory in its arsenal it seems as though IBM is quickly building up the capability to develop similar, rival services and further entrench itself in the telecoms space, where companies are increasingly looking to big data for insights to help optimise operations and drive new revenue.


One comment

  1. Andy Tiller 02/10/2013 @ 7:48 pm

    Hi Jonathan – just to clarify, I think AsiaInfo’s Veris C3 product and The Now Factory’s Vantage suite focus on different business challenges. Veris C3 is a big data appliance which enables context-aware mobile marketing campaigns, whereas The Now Factory is more focused on monitoring end customers’ experience of using the mobile network. Hope this helps.

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