6 Applications of A Data Refinery: How Telcos Can Support Generation Cloud

Posted: January 22nd, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel

In yesterday’s blog post, I highlighted Comptel EventLink 7.0’s key features and mentioned how they comprise the foundation of our Data Refinery solution. Communications service providers (CSPs) and global enterprises alike require a strong technology base to keep up with the standards of nexterday and the high expectations of “Generation Cloud.”

Building on the Comptel EventLink core, with rating and charging components and embedded intelligence, including reporting and monitoring, our Data Refinery solution can enable real-time decision-making and action- triggering. Here are six ways that it can be put to work to drive CSPs’ businesses forward.

1. Beyond traditional billing mediation

“Comptel EventLink can, as always, manage traditional billing mediation tasks, and many of our customers use it for full-blown mediation consolidations,” says Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm. “The platform is typically used in the OSS/BSS layer, where a Tier 0 or 1 operator with IP, fixed and mobile networks has consolidated all of its services on it.”

However, recently, new and existing Comptel EventLink customers have started to use the software for purposes other than pure billing mediation, taking advantage of its ability to process intelligent data in real time and in any format.

Typically, such cases involve complex event processing (CEP) and refining value out of “Big Data in motion” – data that originates from multiple sources in a real-time environment. The Data Refinery adds intelligence to the data handling, and enables real-time analysis, decisions and actions based on the data going through the system streams. When more hierarchical customer profiling and propensity calculations are needed, the Comptel Social Links analytics add-on is included.

2. Automated campaigns

One of the new purposes for the Data Refinery is real-time analysis with decisions and actions to enable automated campaigning processes. This is something that Comptel has implemented for operators all over the world.

“We are helping operators better understand how their customers are using their services and which offers are most relevant to which individuals,” said Tero.

The Data Refinery combines real-time usage events with a real-time understanding of the subscription and the subscriber profile and location, for example, like whether the subscriber is roaming. The Data Refinery can accumulate different usages, and combine them with real-time analysis, make more relevant offers to the end customers with optimal timing.

Understanding real-time usage is made possible by combining usage events from network elements such as PCRF or OCS (mobile) or CMTS (for IP network), and the subscription information from the CRM. The summary of each customer’s usage, according to his/her subscription and services, is shown immediately in the CSP portal, where end customers can directly monitor their service usage.

Having real-time information about data usage increases customer satisfaction and helps CSPs’ provide more suitable offers based on the real-time understanding of service usage.

3. Economical ways to managing roaming agreements

Comptel is in a good position to help operators solve roaming challenges. The company was a pioneer in rolling out roaming cost control use cases when the EU roaming regulations came into force in 2007. These regulations were intended to regulate the roaming data and voice charges imposed by operators to their subscribers, thus preventing bill shock.

To regulate roaming charges, operators are looking for more economical ways to manage roaming data and agreement processing between different roaming partners. The Comptel EventLink extension, Roaming Management, is used by 20+ operators for managing roaming billing and fraud detection, and for automated processing of partner agreements. The extension supports the TAP/RAP/NRTRDE/RAEX processing in alignment with the GSMA standards and provides full visibility into the configuration of the agreements from test phase through production.

4. Monetising OTT offerings

The Data Refinery can help monetise over-the-top (OTT) offerings. For example, in Asia-Pacific, a Tier 1 customer is using the Data Refinery to collect information related to Google Play purchases. The customer has a revenue-sharing model with the Google Play market place, and the Comptel system provides usage information to revenue-sharing platforms and to the interconnect billing system.

5. Ready for IoT

The Data Refinery is highly suitable for connecting devices and applications, and expanding usability from pure billing mediation tasks to supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) business model.

For instance, since 2013, the Telefonica Group in Europe has used the Data Refinery for processing smart metre usage traffic from Telefonica’s machine-to-machine (M2M) network elements. Smart metres equipped with SIM cards communicate readings over GPRS links, which generate events that the Data Refinery can collect and separate from mobile device usage events, providing the aggregated data to the M2M platform and assurance.

6. LTE leading the data explosion

Increased data usage is clearly visible to the users and developers of Comptel EventLink—a Tier 1 operator’s system, for instance, can now process as much as 500 TB of data daily (comparable to the daily usage of Facebook data).

To cite an example from Tero, the amount of usage events has tripled for an Indonesian customer over the past two years, and is currently hitting 12-13 billion records with each passing day.

“Indonesia is just about to adopt 4G services, and we can expect the number of usage events to multiply as 4G is introduced to tablets, smartphones and other handhelds being used in that region,” noted Tero.

In Italy, a similar explosion was seen earlier this year, where the mobile data packet usage increased by 84 percent in just five months. Not only has LTE created an enormous impact on the volume of network events, it has also increased network complexity. This is because VoLTE based on IMS technology introduces new types of network elements that require high capabilities to collect and correlate different events from different sources, in order to have properly chargeable items for billing and other applications.

It’s no wonder that operators are finding it difficult to handle customers’ appetites for ‘all-you-can-eat’ packages and are consequently moving to capped data plans. Such data plans take advantage of policy control solutions, which restrict available capacity for each customer. Customers who demand the highest bandwidth without limitations must be prepared to pay for it, bringing welcome income for operators still suffering from voice revenue losses.

Want to discuss how else Comptel EventLink 7.0 and our Data Refinery solution can support your business?

Download the presentation below, or email comptel.marketing@comptel.com for a demo.

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This is based on an interview with Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm.


A Data Refinery Requires a Strong Technology Foundation

Posted: January 21st, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel

In today’s rapidly changing technology landscape, it’s survival of the fittest. Only the most adaptive, intuitive and efficient software, bringing the greatest benefits to users, will survive. If the software fails to meet the expectations of nexterday, it will be replaced by more modern technologies better suited to satisfy the always-on, real-time needs of today’s “Generation Cloud.”

During it’s nearly three decades of existence, Comptel EventLink, formerly known as Comptel Convergent Mediation and MDS/AMD, has seen the winds of change with regard to customer behaviour, and has stood the test of time in the hands of many Tier 1 mobile and fixed operators.

Now, Comptel EventLink’s data management capabilities are needed more than ever to harness data coming from all directions in all industries – and increasingly, in real time.

Last autumn, version 7.0 was released to meet these new spheres of data handling with embedded intelligence, an intuitive user experience, and real-time reporting and action-triggering automation. More details can be found in our press release.

To ensure it would meet today’s high usability standards, Comptel conducted research amongst 15 operators. Evaluations of its usability, in addition to customer interviews, centred on how operators were using Comptel EventLink in daily operations, to uncover key areas for improvement and, ultimately, create a new era of mediation in version 7.0.

The latest iteration enables effortless data stream management and provides intuitive stream monitoring capabilities with clear visibility into system load and errors. Streams can be created effortlessly via drag-and-drop, using ready-installed node libraries. Everything is organised, so the most important information is quickly at hand and right in front of the user’s eyes.

To top it all off, performance has improved 200% over earlier version 6.2, and with much less hardware, making the system more than ready for network function virtualisation (NFV), which requires highly distributable systems and high availability.

“The feedback on Comptel EventLink 7.0 so far has been nothing but positive,” confirms Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm. “The success of its extensive usability and performance investments is evident, as the first live customer upgraded to version 7.0 as soon as one month after the release.” A very fast deployment indeed!

It is this strong technology foundation that has been crucial to powering Comptel’s Data Refinery solution and, in turn, helping to deliver on telecoms operators’ and other global enterprises’ business-critical demands in real time.

Learn more about Comptel EventLink 7.0 and our Data Refinery solution below. Tomorrow, I’ll dive deeper into various applications of a Data Refinery and why it is ideal to keep up with the needs of “Generation Cloud.”

Download our Comptel EventLink 7.0 presentation:

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This blog post is based on an interview with Senior Product Manager Tero Lindholm.


From San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur, Where was Comptel in 2014?

Posted: January 14th, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel

My colleague, Leila Heijola, recently wrapped up Comptel’s 2014 with news of several significant orders, but what wasn’t mentioned was the success Comptel had at events near and far over the course of the year! From industry events like Mobile World Congress in Spain to Comptel’s very own user groups in Europe and Asia, we were able to communicate and collaborate with our communications service provider (CSP) customers, industry partners and other global enterprises alike.

To start off the year, we made a splash at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. More than 85,000 visitors and 1,800 exhibiting companies joined together to discuss hot topics in telco like Big Data, connected cars and the newest smart devices on the market. Comptel’s Matti Aksela, for one, spoke on a panel, “Big Data Goes on Stage,” covering the current state of data collection, refinement and analysis and the changes we can expect to see over the next several years.

While at the event, we launched our study detailing the issues on the minds of CMOs and CIO/CTOs in 2014. Additionally, we were excited to announce partnerships with Tecnotree and a Tier 1 U.S. mobile operator.

Next came TM Forum Live! in Nice, France, where a significant focus was on network function virtualisation (NFV). Around this theme, we announced several partnerships including an integration with GE Smallworld to streamline telco service fulfilment. The conference was a great space to discuss the emerging technology with other attendees, and opened many people’s eyes to the potential SDN and NFV have for the telco industry.

The fun didn’t stop in Nice, though… Salesforce’s Dreamforce, which took the form of a beach party in San Francisco, California, was a great opportunity for Comptel to hone in on the connection between front- and back-office systems and telcos’ evolution with the cloud and virtualisation. Beyond the lively entertainment, one of the themes, Reimagine: Customer Experience, definitely rang true for Comptel, as we exhibited with our collaboration with CloudSense and technology blueprint to help CSPs improve the B2B customer experience.

In addition to attending these industry events, we decided to host our own to connect on a deeper level with our customers. Our first user group of the year took place in Långvik near Helsinki, Finland, and the second was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Both were great opportunities to discuss the processes and technologies to help spur CSPs’ transformation and future innovation. At the APAC event, we also picked the brains of some attendees on how they were planning to revolutionise customer experience in 2015.

Not surprisingly, analytics, automation, intelligence and the customer experience were on the minds of CSPs globally in 2014, and through great events, we were able to hear from operators about their business pressures and share our views on tackling their various areas of friction.

It’s no secret that the telecom industry is rapidly changing, and we’re looking forward to building on the progress made at a variety of events in 2015!


How a Push for NFV Standardisation Brought Comptel to ETSI

Posted: January 8th, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

By Stephen Lacey, Director of Business Architecture, Comptel

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has been overseeing standardisation in the telecommunications industry for more than two decades, and in our work, Comptel has been closely following ETSI’s principles for nearly that long.

Our involvement with the organisation first started from our roots in data processing and mediation; so you could say that we’ve adhered to ETSI standards since the beginning of GSM.

Over the years, part of our business has increasingly aligned itself to fulfilment and orchestration of complex enterprise, residential and subscriber services (rather than solely provisioning and activation), and as ETSI itself became more involved in orchestration, we began to consider whether it made sense to join ETSI fully. We are pleased to share that in the latter half of 2014, we officially became a formal member organisation.

The Influence of NFV

The tipping point was in 2012, when ETSI launched a workgroup for Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). This Industry Specification Group (ISG) was developed at the behest of seven communications service providers (CSPs), who desired standardisation around this nascent technology. Interest in NFV has since increased significantly especially in 2014 and will continue to grow this year, as more operators consider how it can help them move away from expensive, proprietary network hardware toward more flexible solutions.

The NFV conversation intrigued us. Simon Osborne, our CTO for fulfilment, recently explained to Global Telecoms Business that NFV service orchestration involves “all the elements we’ve seen in the past” in traditional service orchestration. As a result, our end-to-end order orchestration and management software complemented with mediation and analytics – which supports network functions running on virtualised hardware – is a perfect fit for the type of operational structure the world of NFV needs.

Additionally, the other elements of our product portfolio, including mediation and policy control, are considered as network functions and will be deployed within the NFV environment in the future.

Ultimately, we feel that Comptel’s proposition—having a complete, automated software stack that requires very little intervention—was unique to ETSI’s workgroup, and that we could help provide a more complete picture into NFV deployment, scale and capacity management challenges, as well as offer effective insights to support standardisation in this emerging area.

Workgroups in Focus

Today, we are one of more than 200 CSPs, network equipment providers (NEPs) and technology companies within the NFV ISG, working to conceptualise and contribute to the standards that will guide this technology’s application in the years ahead. Formal meetings are held quarterly – the next one is scheduled for February in Prague. Individual work streams have monthly meetings to hammer out these standards – the next one for the interface and architecture workgroup is being held mid-January in Shanghai.

The NFV ISG has only just completed the first phase of standardisation, where the high-level architecture and design of this technology infrastructure is being developed. We are now entering the second phase of standardisation, where member organisations are divided into work groups to focus on specific items, such as examining the management and orchestration of an NFV system via an Operations Support System (OSS) interface.

How Operators Win

One major benefit of ETSI’s workgroups is that they bring together organisations from all sides of the industry to guide a collaborative and forward-looking conversation about an emerging area of telecommunications. Since Comptel will be intimately involved in those conversations now and in the future, we will be able to bring a higher level of expertise to conversations with our customers. We are excited about being directly involved in NFV’s development as a new foundational platform for network infrastructure.

NFV will define our future. More operators want the flexibility to run network operations software on commodity hardware, so that they can keep pace with the cloud-based competitors now edging their way into the market. To truly position yourself as a fully formed CSP, you need a partner who knows where this software-defined market is headed.

Visit our SDN/NFV Resource Library to learn more about how cloud and virtualisation technology helps operators unlock cost savings, enable flexible networks, and compete on a higher playing field.


Comptel’s Grand Finale for 2014

Posted: January 5th, 2015 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The year 2014 ended very positively for Comptel. The team’s hard work was recognised in the form of several significant orders announced around the year’s end.

With the Telefonica de Chile deal, announced on 29 December, Comptel entered a new market in South America. Comptel’s fulfillment suite is a part of the Telefonica de Chile quad-play transformation project that will enable improved customer experience for integrated wireline, wireless, Internet and TV services.

On the same day, we also received a significant order from an existing customer in the Middle East region. The order value exceeded 1 million euros and comprises Comptel Convergent Mediation and Comptel Provisioning and Activation software licenses.

Ten days earlier, on December 19, we announced two other customer wins. One was a multi-year deal, with a value of 10.6 million euros, that involved a license upgrade and service extension for a mobile operator customer in India.

“Comptel has achieved a considerable degree of success in the Indian telecom market in recent years. The number of telecom subscribers served by Comptel’s operator customers in India has now exceeded 500 million, which is approximately 60% of the total size of the Indian telecom market,” said Juhani Hintikka, president and CEO, Comptel.

The second major order we received was from a German customer belonging to a major operator group. This multi-year deal also includes Comptel Convergent Mediation and Comptel Provisioning and Activation software licenses and related services. The deal value exceeded 1 million euros.


Season’s Greetings from Comptel

Posted: December 18th, 2014 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , | No Comments »

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is just about to come to a close! Like we’ve discussed in Decembers past, Comptel sends season’s greetings cards electronically and donates the money saved from the traditional, printed cards to a charitable fund.

Last year, Comptel selected UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In 2012, we started a project with Kiva, an organisation focused on connecting people through financial lending to empower entrepreneurs. Our contribution to this non-profit has since generated 38 loans in 24 countries.

In 2011, we donated to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, which works to promote child rights and bring millions out of poverty. And, our donation for 2010 went to the Kileva Foundation, which helped pay for the building of a Kileva Eastfield Primary School classroom.

Drum roll for this year’s chosen charity…which is Right to Play! While food, water and shelter are essential, so is a childhood, complete with education and opportunities to actively engage with other children. There are areas of the world today where children are not able to experience the benefits of play – and Right to Play aims to tackle this problem.

Right to Play uses the power of play to educate and empower children to be guardians of their own health and active participants in their communities. The organisation’s programs create positive experiences and teach important life skills that help children adopt and maintain lifelong healthy behaviours and attitudes.

There is more to come in our work with Right to Play – stay tuned! But, in the meantime, we wish you, all of our customers, partners, investors and friends, a peaceful and happy holiday season and look forward to another fruitful and cooperative year in 2015.


Comptel’s New Sydney Office Honors 15 Successful Years in the Region

Posted: December 16th, 2014 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Around the World, Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

By Jussi Ware, Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, and Alliances APAC, Comptel

After 15 years of business in Australia and New Zealand, Comptel celebrated the opening of a new office in Sydney, Australia on 4th December.

Our business and customer base in Australia and New Zealand have grown steadily since we opened our original regional office in 1999. Today, eight of the leading telcos in the Australian and New Zealand market are Comptel customers. In recent years, Comptel has played an important role, in particular, in national broadband initiatives both in Australia, supporting NBN Co, and in New Zealand, supporting Chorus and Enable as part of that country’s Ultra-Fast Broadband programme.

The new office celebrates our continued commitment to support communications service providers and other telco industry players in Australia and New Zealand.

It was a pleasure to host a party to reinforce this and Comptel’s success in this market. Guests included local customers and partners such as NBNCo, Tech Mahindra, Alcatel-Lucent and Pactera. Representatives from Finpro, Team Finland and the Finland-Australia Chamber of Commerce also brought some Finnish flavor to the party.

Mr. Pasi Patokallio, Ambassador of Finland for Australia and New Zealand, gave the welcome address followed by comments from Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka.

We are constantly looking for opportunities to add value and provide local support and relevant solutions to our customers around the globe. The new Sydney office will allow Comptel to further grow within the Australian and New Zealand telco markets, while strengthening our ability to serve customers in this part of the world.


Comptel Deepens the Telenor Customer Relationship with a New Fulfillment Solution and Services Deal

Posted: December 5th, 2014 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Comptel today announced a major order from Telenor in Norway. The four-year contract is a continuation of the long relationship between the companies. The deal amounting to eight million euros comprises Comptel Fulfillment software licenses and services.

The Comptel Fulfillment suite of products is specifically targeted to reduce the time it takes from the first customer contact until the billable service is delivered. If the network is pre-built, which often is the case for modern DSL and FTTx networks, service delivery can be done in a matter of seconds instead of hours and days.

Automation Is the Key

Comptel Fulfillment offers a combination of automated features, which can reduce most, if not all, of the back-office work, leaving only the field work as manual:

Order Management automates the process of capturing order information and distributing the tasks to systems and involved personnel.

Catalog automates the decomposition of products and services into reusable tasks for fast creation and delivery.

Resource Inventory and Number Management automate the allocation of the required resources, such as network device ports and IP addresses.

Activation automates the interaction with the network, pushing commands to network elements and service delivery platforms.

“We are really pleased to continue our customer relationship with Telenor in Norway. It is a privilege to be part of the Telenor Norway fulfillment transformation project for their fixed network,” said Juhani Hintikka, president and CEO, Comptel.

“Comptel Fulfillment has an important role in our long-term efforts to modernise and simplify products, processes and IT systems,” says Terje Foyn Johannessen, director of telephony & Internet, Telenor Norway. “We aim to significantly reduce operational expenditure and offer our customers improved experience with better quality and faster time-to-market for new services.”


A Recap of LOOP APAC14

Posted: November 21st, 2014 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Last week at LOOP APAC14,  communications service providers came together to discuss the future of the telecommunications industry and how new tools and developments can help spur innovation and disruption. The team at Comptel – along with representatives from Salesforce.com, Tech Mahindra and GE Smallworld, offered insights into what CSPs can expect next year and how new kinds of technologies will help revolutionise networks and customer experience.

We put together a collection of tweets to help show the highlights of the conference:


How Telcos are Planning to Revolutionise Customer Experience in 2015

Posted: November 12th, 2014 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Prior to our LOOP14 APAC conference, taking place this week in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, we had the chance to survey a number of our communications service provider (CSP) attendees about what’s on the horizon for telecommunications in 2015. Last year, there was growing awareness about how marketing and sales can be improved through Big Data initiatives, but only 16 percent of CSPs surveyed said that they had launched a Big Data project.

This year, there’s a big focus on how to ensure that every bit of data is collected, processed and put to use for the business, most of all, to build new kinds of consumer experiences. Every CSP surveyed recognised that the consumer buying experience will play a greater role in CSPs’ service creation and delivery processes – so in order to improve time-to-market and innovate and target personalised service campaigns in real time, CSPs first have to leverage the organisation’s data.

How are they planning to do it?

Processing Every Bit of Data

As we described in our recent blog post about the need for a data refinery, CSPs are increasingly focusing on ways to make the most out of all of the network, subscriber and other data flowing into their IT systems. Unsurprisingly, our survey revealed that one big focus in the APAC region is Big Data and analytics.

A vast majority (82 percent) of respondents said that Big Data and analytics play a “moderate” or “large role in company operations. Big Data analytics has become a cornerstone in personalising the experience for consumers – 55 percent of respondents said that they were planning to use Big Data analytics to improve product and service sales with targeted marketing.

What’s keeping CSPs from doing it? More than a third (36 percent) of respondents said that they only have a limited internal understanding of how to use Big Data analytics.

This all links back to the broader effect to improve the customer experience. When respondents were asked about consumer journeys:

  • 100 percent said that interacting with customers in the right way at the right time and in the right context will help create a frictionless experience.
  • 100 percent said that their organisation is consistently working towards improving customers’ journeys.
  • 91 percent said that their business depends on the ability to know and understand customers at an individual level
  • 82 percent said that customer service is more important than the latest handset or network technology for customer retention.
  • 73 percent said that Big Data analytics are vital for prompting responses to customers at ‘moments of truth’ in their journeys.

Big Data and the Customer Journey

CSPs are thinking about breaking out of “telecommunications” as we know it. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said that their businesses were becoming diversified service providers by moving into adjacent markets through expansion, acquisitions, joint ventures and equity investments.

The sample size for the LOOP14 APAC conference was by no means the size of the worldwide telecommunications industry, but the findings still offer valuable insight for CSPs. It’s clear the telecommunications industry is heading in a direction where the customer takes front and centre of all initiatives. The real question becomes whether or not CSPs have the knowledge and technology to leverage the data they need to do it.

Want to see the full findings of our LOOP14 APAC Survey? Download the full report.

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