The User Services Platform (USP) has been very transformative, and its value has been recognized across the industry. As consumer demand for connected home services is growing rapidly, operators are motivated to develop value-add solutions for the connected home at a mass-scale.
As a result, more service providers are requesting that vendors implement USP. Vendors have an opportunity to demonstrate how their USP Agent solutions will work in this larger ecosystem. Third-party application providers, service providers, and CPE device vendors should be looking to reap the benefits as service providers look to launch new services and unlock new revenue streams.
The power of USP comes from being standardized, having an open-source reference, and having a solid test program behind it. The Broadband Forum recently launched its USP Certification Program and it has increased importance for those looking to certify their USP solutions and those in the market looking to obtain certified products for deployments.
Device-Controller interoperability is key
Interoperable technologies help providers avoid proprietary, short-term solutions that may stunt their long-term growth. Providers that seek certified products can be confident that they will interoperate with USP Controllers and support the features critical for device lifecycle management, device onboarding, firmware upgrades and service activation and provisioning. The device must also be compliant with the specification in order to effectively collect the data for operators to make informed business decisions.
As service providers grow their services, non-compliant devices hinder general service expansion and day-to-day operations. A lack of interoperability between the device and Controller can incur significant costs in order to fix things after they have been deployed. Using certified devices reduces this risk significantly and helps reduce time to market and ensure end-user satisfaction.
Why should you get your products certified?
Today, we are seeing more and more multi-vendor environments, instead of a designated Auto Configuration Servers (ACS) software vendor for a specific provider. Certifying products enables service providers to work efficiently in this multi-vendor environment. For device vendors, as you move into the global space it is particularly important that your device is interoperable. Making testing a regular part of your development, QA, and system integration allows you to identify bottlenecks early in the development cycle. Once interactivity to a USP Controller is addressed, it provides the option to port into other platforms as well.
As operators demand greater service agility, self-certification opens the door for operators and vendors to conduct testing quickly and efficiently, and aids those in the industry feeling the pressures of Managed Wi-Fi and the Internet of Things (IoT). The program provides a foundation for operators to build out their USP solutions and subsequently test that implementation to make sure it will fit into the ecosystem. This ensures interoperability for the explosion of new devices being introduced into the market. With the approved tool used to perform the testing, companies can generate a set of results that are submitted to an approved lab which double-checks the integrity of the results and provides the certification listing.
Self-certification with an approved test tool allows companies to cost-effectively test any broadband or consumer connected device against the Conformance Test Plan for User Services Platform Agents (TP-469) standard. This will greatly accelerate interoperability by streamlining companies’ ability to perform repeatable, automated testing on their own while preserving the integrity of the results.
USP has a lot of different use cases and can support many types and classes of devices, as well as numerous features to determine which tests would need to be passed in order to achieve certification. TP-469 has mandatory and conditional mandatory tests, and once you have identified the tests appropriate to your features, you can run them and export results that are signed and validated. Certification helps all parties derive more value from the end-user experience at a time when people are heavily reliant on seamless and unfailing connectivity.