“Over-the-Top” is a very interesting, but also confusing part of the new Internet. It blends the best of web services with Internet infrastructure and defines the future mode of operation for virtually all cloud services. Note I’m using the term cloud in this sense from the consumer perspective since the OTT service they are using is presumably not hosted locally.
Working in telecom and IT for over a decade and a half has given me some really good perspective on IP, telecom applications, service delivery, and operator mindsets. At the same time, the web as we know it today is not bound by telecom and is dominated by social networking, streaming music and video, instant messaging, photo uploading and location check-ins. Ultimately all this runs on top of good old fashioned network technology like DSL, FTTH, HSPA, and LTE yet the application developers and content creators seem to pay little attention to the network resource requirements. It’s kind of like a C programmer in the 90s not paying attention to compute resources.
Somewhere in the middle these 2 camps need to meet. I have yet to find an environment where both aging black suits and youthful drainpipe jeans exist together but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Frankly the entire culture and business model is different. Telecom needs an introduction to modern day application development, and the webheads need a primer on telecom infrastructure.
Still confused about what OTT services are? Maybe this diagram will help.