Verizon exec: ‘The network-as-a-service offering includes connectivity, technology and management layers’

At the end of 2020, Verizon Business announced that it will deploy its Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) offering, an all-encompassing network solution, to more than 9,000 Walgreens and Duane Reade retail locations across the U.S. in what Verizon Business’ CEO Tami Erwin called the “largest, fully customized, NaaS solution on this scale.”

According to Verizon Business’ Group VP of Sales Massimo Peselli, the Walgreens deal is what truly kickstarted the the development of the NaaS concept. Walgreens, he told RCR Wireless News, came to the carrier and asked for help delivering more automation and real-time experiences in the stores without creating a network bottleneck and without implementing technology and solutions that will become outdated and unusable.

“What was developed,” Peselli explained, “What a flexible and commercial framework. You pay a monthly fee depending on how many users you have, how much network you consume, the level of sophistication of the network and how many licenses you purchase. Then you can scale up or down depending on your need.”

Verizon’s network-as-a-service, he continued, has three basic elements or layers: Pure connectivity, the technology and management.

The first referres to the network: “This is the internet level — public, private, wireless, broadband, all of that,” he said.

The technology layer is where the network and security solutions come together. “Think vendors like Cisco on the networking side and Palo Alto on the security side, for example. We have created a cloud platform where we host these applications and we can combine those pieces together and create a package that can run on a white box or server within the customers’ premises,” Peselli explained.

This type of solutions bundling provides business customers with more flexibility when it comes to the services they pay for and the vendors and applications they work with.

Peselli elaborated, “We are working with a lot and technology partners, so we can really create a future-proof solution. And when new technology comes available, we just add it to our list and it can be used by the customer.”

The final layer — the management layer — represents the ability to manage the full stack, from the connectivity to the technology running on the network. Peselli added that this is also the layer where is becomes possible to predict and understand the end user experience of the network and the applications.

“We can really understand where a technology is having a problem,” he said, “and fix it before it gets to a point of a network outage or where it becomes beyond the ability of the employees to solve.”

According to Peselli, businesses are becoming “extensively” more interested in software-as-a-service more generally as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because there is a need to bring applications to those employees working at home. Basically, things in the cloud are more easily accessible when not in the office.  

“With that,” he stated, “we have seen companies willing to consumer network and security in a different way. They want ubiquitous access to services, and they want to pay only for what is being used.”

Closely following Verizon’s announced about its work with Walgreens, the company announcement that 450 HUB International offices throughout the U.S. and Canada will also receive its network-as-a-service offering, further supporting Peselli’s point that this type of managed network solution is picking up momentum.  


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