Posted: February 22nd, 2017 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: customer engagement, Digital Customer Journey, Digital Service Journey, digital service lifecycle management, Nexterday, Operation Nexterday | No Comments »
If you’re in telco, you’ve heard a lot about transformation, enough that you’re probably even sick of the word. We feel the same way, so we want to help move our industry move past the point where we talk about change and toward the point of actually creating change. Our message is simple: stop overthinking and start doing.
Our latest book, Nexterday: Volume III¸ brings this message to life. Building off our first two books – Operation Nexterday and Nexterday: Volume II – this edition introduces new thoughts, ideas, and success stories from contributors both within and outside the world of telco. The objective is to give you practical next steps to evolve and grow your business in this rapidly changing digital landscape.
We’ll be publishing all of the articles from Nexterday: Volume III on an ongoing basis at Nexterday.org, our online magazine and reader community. Visitors to our booth (Hall 5 at Stand 5G40) at Mobile World Congress 2017 can receive a hard copy – but these are limited, so make sure to stop by early to get your copy!
Here’s what you can expect from Nexterday: Volume III.
What’s your journey?
When you step back and consider digital transformation from a 30,000-foot view, you can see that operators really have two potential paths to take: the customer journey and the service journey.
The Digital Customer Journey
Telcos want to deliver a better customer experience (on average, operators have a net promoter score of 6, compared to 70 for over-the-top (OTT) service providers), and an omnichannel customer experience. So, the digital customer journey is all about the strategies, technologies and business models they take to improve the customer experience, favouring individualised engagement, marketing and sales approaches for B2B and B2C customers. This journey is all about saying “No” to bad customer engagement.
The Digital Service Lifecycle Journey
Operators today need to create, deliver and support complex “living” digital services, but existing networks are too over-built, locked-in and inflexible to support modern service creation. This journey is about the steps operators can take to change their network reality, and it involves concepts and models like virtualisation and end-to-end hybrid service delivery to achieve network flexibility and agility. This journey is all about saying “No” to the monolithic franken-systems of the past.
Most frequently, we have seen the most forward-thinking service providers embark on one of these journeys, or both at the same time.
What’s in Nexterday: Volume III
Nexterday: Volume III tells you everything you need to know to get started, or to take the next step if you’re already following either path. We brought in some of the brightest minds from within and outside telco to share their expertise and insights, including:
- Mike Walsh – a business expert who shares the simplest, most practical path to business transformation
- Jon Wolske – the customer service expert from Zappos Insights who explains how you can be, first and foremost, a customer service company (that just happens to sell digital services)
- David Meerman Scott – the sales and marketing guru who describes how real-time marketing powers a more efficient, results-driving marketing engine
- Stefan Moritz – an expert on the customer experience, who explains how the most successful customer-focused companies did it by backing up their brand story with actual action
- Stewart Rogers – the VentureBeat Insights researcher provides new data showing the biggest marketing opportunity companies are missing out on today
- Dean Ramsay – the Analysys Mason analyst writes about the important role of inventory management in network transformation
- Rich Karpinski – the 451 Research analyst breaks down the top US telcos and describes how each one is attempting to disrupt this mature market
- Fredrik Jungermann – the tefficient analyst profiles the big return of unlimited data to operator service plans, and explains how top operators around the world incorporate this benefit
- Stan Hubbard – The MEF Group director describes the two network qualities needed to offer better customer engagement and service delivery
- Mustafa Oyumi – The Salesforce exec talks about the customer engagement model operators need in a modern service environment
- Luca Decarli – the customer engagement expert describes how Saudi Telecom Company reorganized its business to deliver a higher quality of service
- Antonio Elizondo – the Telefónica exec profiles OpenSource MANO and its key role in the development of an NFV ecosystem
- Bengt Nordström – the Northstream charts the growth and future prospects of 5G connectivity
- David Ho – From Kiina Investment, David provides a fascinating look at the digital technologies that are taking shape in China
- Markku Hollström – Elisa’s IoT expert describes the ambitious IoT project that won international praise and provides an example for other telcos to follow
- Velipekka Kuoppala – the Soracom VP writes about the model telcos and businesses need to secure the IoT
We also have insights from many Comptel contributors discussing everything from IoT, rating and mediation, NFV innovation, customer engagement, plus new research into consumer desires for personalised services.
Nexterday: Volume III is a comprehensive look at the state of our industry today, but, most importantly, it provides a practical guide for you to take the next step in your digital journey. Remember, it’s time to stop overthinking and start doing. Get our book to find out how.
Meet with Comptel at Mobile World Congress to get a copy of Nexterday: Volume III. Visit our booth in Hall 5 at Stand 5G40 or email email@example.com.
Posted: February 2nd, 2017 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: customer engagement, customer experience, personalisation, Power of Personal research | No Comments »
By Niilo Fredriksen, Executive Vice President, Intelligent Data
A word of caution for all mobile operators: there’s a 50/50 chance your customers feel like you don’t actually care about them.
That’s what Comptel found when we commissioned a survey of 2,000 mobile data users in the US and the UK. Our new research report, The Power of Personal, reports that 52 percent of mobile customers feel like they are treated as just another nameless subscriber by their providers.
Obviously, that’s a problem that could lead to churn. Customers that feel valued are three times more likely to stay loyal to their provider, according to our research. Those that don’t feel valued leave, and 59 percent of respondents said they were not fully satisfied with their providers.
So how do you make sure your customers are happy, loyal advocates for your business? Personalisation offers a solution, and the survey found that it’s what mobile customers want from their providers.
In total, 55 percent of respondents said they would be open to receiving more proactive, personalised messages and services from their providers. But, only 13 percent has ever received this type of message.
Respondents said they were favourable to receiving all sorts of different messages, including:
- An alert when they’ve reached their data cap
- A notification when they’re about to trigger data roaming charges
- A message when they’re using more data than usual
But it’s not just about warnings and alerts. According to our research, customers are also open to personalised messages about service offers, whether it’s a discounted data plan, sponsored data plan or a completely tailored plan that fits their exact needs based on service consumption. The key word, though, is personal. If you send customers an offer that doesn’t seem relevant to them, you’re not going to achieve anything but annoying them.
Service providers know a lot about their customers. It’s high time they started to use that data more intelligently to provide better more individualised services and to use that information to save customers money and build much longer lasting loyalty than is the current model. Our report gives you the guidance you need to do that.
You can learn more about our research by visiting comptelcorporation.com/power-of-personal. From there, you can:
- Download the full research report
- Watch video interviews to hear what consumers on the street think about their current service providers and what should be done differently
- View an infographic that summarises the top findings
- Read our new eBook, which has tips on how to put those findings into action
- Explore three use cases of how service providers could better cater to customers through a more personalised approach
Posted: February 1st, 2017 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: contextual intelligence, customer engagement, customer experience, FASTERMIND | No Comments »
Operators are on a journey to become true digital telcos. Rich Karpinski, a US-based analyst for 451 Research, recently explored how Comptel’s FASTERMIND™ helps put CSPs on the fast track to becoming offer-driven, digitally-savvy operators.
“Few vendors have as a pure a vision of how mobile operators must evolve to become digital service providers as Comptel. It speaks the language, understands the requirements, absorbs and applies the use cases.”
Transforming operators into Digital Service Providers is at the heart of Comptel’s Nexterday vision. To execute on that vision, Comptel recently launched the FASTERMIND™ suite at Nexterday North 2016, to provide artificial intelligence applications for digital telcos. FASTERMIND™ recommends, predicts and automates real-time decisions, particularly supporting customer engagement automation.
“Rather than rely on a small handful of customer segment buckets and static, non-real-time campaigns to drive out offers, FASTERMIND’s monitoring and analytics tools work with other Comptel platforms – Monetizer for policy control and charging and Data Refinery for mediation and data processing – to allow operators to deliver more real-time, personalized and contextually relevant offers.”
Comptel’s Nexterday vision and strategy has garnered a great deal of attention in the market, and we are pleased to secure external analyst recognition for this new FASTERMIND™ suite, and also for our work in helping CSPs to evolve into DSPs by rethinking and redesigning customer engagement with real-time and contextual best-next-action offers.
“It’s not about bundling a digital ‘service’ like Dropbox or Netflix or simply offering a few new mobile data plan options. Rather, it’s a rethinking of how mobile operators interact with their customers, understanding their real-time needs and wants and having the analytics, decision-making and network execution capabilities to hit them with the right offer at the right time.”
Comptel’s Nexterday vision focuses on providing customers with an outstanding and memorable digital experience. By coupling FASTERMIND’s time-sensitive, contextual and personalised recommendations, with MONETIZER™, an easy-to-use tool for the rapid design of policy and pricing offers, and DATA REFINERY™, which captures a real-time 360° view of the customer, CSPs are fully equipped for future business growth.
“More aggressively than almost any competitor, Comptel has swallowed the ‘red pill’ and sent itself fully down the digital telco path.”
Rich Karpinski’s full report, Comptel speeds operator offer decision-making with FASTERMIND can be downloaded here.
Comptel will be exhibiting at MWC17 in Barcelona February 27 – March 2, 2017. Meet with us at stand #5G40, Hall 5 to learn more about our Nexterday vision and FASTERMIND™ for customer engagement automation.
Posted: January 31st, 2017 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: analytics, customer experience, FASTERMIND, My Digital Moments | No Comments »
Customer experience is the new battleground for telcos. Forrester Research found that 72 percent of companies say that improving customer experience is their top priority. As a provider, if you can engage your customer at the right time with the right personalised service, you have an opportunity to deliver value, establish loyalty and grow your business.
So, what do customers want? To start, they expect full control of their digital life, and the freedom to build their own personal ecosystem of apps and services.
That’s why Comptel launched “My Digital Moments,” a new solution that enables perfect digital customer journeys. With My Digital Moments, customers will benefit from a self-service app on their phone that, in real-time, analyses how they consume digital services. From there, the app can recommend relevant and personalised digital services that would improve their experience.
My Digital Moments opens the door to several value-driving possibilities:
- Service offerings that are proactive, personalised, relevant and contextual
- Increased customer engagement and communication through a direct line to the operator
- Improved engagement by giving customers direct visibility into their plan status and special packages
From the main screen, customers are able to view real-time service usage information, including the percentage of the data they’ve used in this cycle and their data usage trend across specific apps. On top of that, the app can display the operator’s full service portfolio, including new service plans or promotional packages from the portfolio.
My Digital Moments relies on real-time usage monitoring and intelligence from FASTERMIND™ to recommend, predict and automate customer offers based on the most relevant and contextual data. For example, a customer who consumes a lot of mobile data watching Netflix but does not currently have sufficient mobile data could receive an offer for a data plan with unlimited Netflix streaming.
My Digital Moments is also supported by MONETIZER™, which offers the easy and agile configuration of data plans, plus a common platform for charging and policy design. The result puts full control in the hands of your customers, meaning they can self-select relevant, contextual plans or instantly upgrade their data speeds and allocation in the moment.
Of course, new service opportunities can crop up at any time – not just according to your campaign schedule. That’s why My Digital Moments is supported by closed-loop analysis and service recommendations, which means service usage is monitored on an ongoing and real-time basis to ensure your customers are constantly engaged and presented with easy opportunities to get the services they need.
The solution puts the power in the hands of consumers, giving them the opportunity to build their personal digital ecosystems while empowering operators to increase service consumption, reveal new revenue opportunities and nurture loyal, long-term customers.
Heading to Mobile World Congress 2017? Meet with Comptel in Barcelona to learn more about My Digital Moments and our full portfolio of customer engagement solutions. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting.
Posted: December 22nd, 2016 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: 5G, digital service lifecycle management, Nexterday, Nexterday North, OSS, sponsored data | No Comments »
In 2016, Comptel focused on extending our Nexterday message and encouraging operators to stop over-thinking and start doing what they need to do to transform their businesses. The energy and excitement we felt at Nexterday North 2016, our second annual anti-seminar, told us that many operators are doing just that, turning the big ideas they hear around the industry into game-changing results.
Here on the Comptel blog, we always want to give room for those big ideas to take shape. Let’s take a look back on some of the top pieces – and ideas – we wrote in the past year.
Enabling the Personalised Customer Journey
All operators are on a journey to better serve their customers. The activities they take in this area can be put into two categories – customer transformation and network transformation. In this piece, we explained exactly what the personalised customer journey is all about, and offered a model for how operators can win the hearts and minds of their customers.
Forget the iPhone. The Next Great UI Design Change is in OSS
The new iPhone UI looks a lot like the old iPhone UI, which tells you how iterative many of Apple’s latest updates have become. In this blog, we proposed that it’s time the OSS embraced a design overhaul, and explained exactly how the OSS of the future should look to offer the same ease of use you might expect from an iOS product.
Comptel Partnerships to Introduce Fresh Digital Service Approaches
2016 was also a busy year for Comptel and our partners. At TM Forum Live! in Nice, we were involved in three separate industry catalysts, each led by a Comptel partner. There was Telefonica’s Open Source MANO project, Orange’s sponsored data initiative, and IBM’s cloud-based networking architecture. These cross-industry initiatives are so important to Comptel because they keep us on the forefront of innovation. We want to lend our expertise in a way that benefits the entire industry, and we’re proud to stand alongside these partners in that effort.
Reimagining OSS to Enable Dynamic Digital Service Delivery
Our digital service lifecycle management (DSLM) model was a major theme for us in 2016, and in the Spring we put it to the test as part of the IBM Cloud Based Initiative. In this post, we explain exactly why and how digital service delivery needs to change to serve a new breed of digital customer.
Spectrum is the First Step. How Will Operators Next Invest in 5G?
Innovation abounds in connectivity, and 5G represents one of many emerging frontiers for investment and development. In the U.S., regulators opened up spectrum for telco experimentation, and in this post we covered the challenges that lay ahead for telcos who dipped their toes in this industry.
Sponsored Data is a Path to Revenue for Savvy Mobile Operators
Pokémon GO was a huge mobile gaming craze in the summer of 2016, and T-Mobile jumped on the buzzworthy topic by offering players one year’s worth of free mobile data exclusively to play the game. It was another example of a savvy sponsored data play that shows other operators how they creatively leverage data access to win over digital customers.
In 2016 we also launched Nexterday.org, our online magazine and reader community. You can read much more of our writing on digital transformation, customer experience and network innovation there.
Posted: December 13th, 2016 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: NFV, TOSCA, virtualization | No Comments »
Comptel Offer Example Templates to the Open Marketplace
There remains no doubt that virtualization is shaking the foundations of the telecommunications industry and is here to stay. As the technology continues to mature and evolve, use cases become more realistic and so do the requirements to represent the service specifications that allow their programmatic utilization and consumption.
Several standards organizations have laid proposals to this purpose and there appears to be consensus that, in the Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV) case at least, TOSCA NFV appears to be positioning itself as the preferred option for operators and vendors alike.
The Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA) is a data model standard managed by industry group OASIS that can be used to orchestrate Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) services and applications. TOSCA does this through a collection of information models and templates to orchestrate applications seamlessly across multiple cloud domains which is ideal for network functions that are virtualized and deployed in datacentres.
At the time of this writing, the latest release of the TOSCA NFV Simple Profile dates from mid-March 2016. The document provides a good insight but it lacks practical, consistent examples (e.g. there are a few errors) and examples from additional sources are hard to come by. This applies to the Cloud Service Archive or CSAR (pronounced Cesar) packaging mechanism, in which the specification is conveniently wrapped with all the necessary components.
[Comptel] has taken the information that’s publicly available and created some examples that we would like to share with the broader community.
Use Case: vEPC Core Network CSAR
A basic representation of the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) Network Service Descriptor (NSD) composed of four Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) as shown in Figure 1 below. In addition, every node has a connection to a common management network.
Figure 1: vEPC Architecture & Interfaces
The CSAR file contains metadata, the service templates or specifications, images and the corresponding scripts for the VNFs themselves. Figure 2 shows the structure of the file.
Figure 2: CSAR file structure
As displayed in Figure 3, the metadata file contains in line 4, a pointer to the main driving template, in this case the overall vEPC NSD which will link to the individual nodes (e.g. VNFs) and their relationship and corresponding connectivity.
Figure 3: Contents of metadata file (TOSCA.meta)
The Network Service Design
The NSD provides the global overview (refer to snapshot below) on how the different components (e.g. VNFs, VLs, FGs, etc.) come together. Lines 9 thru 13 point to the VNF templates, in this case for every VNF.
The individual VNFs are described in lines 26, 37, 49 and 58 respectively. They contain a reference to the type, the list of (virtual) networks they are connected to and in those cases where applicable, a declaration of the forwarding graph capabilities (e.g. lines 45, 46 and 47). Additional details on the VNF themselves are contained on their own descriptors (VNFDs) which are shown later.
Next are the details of the external connection points (CPs). These are demarcation points for the NSD as depicted in Figure 4 and they are described in lines 65, 73, 81 and 89.
Figure 4: External Connection Points
Finally, the networks interconnecting the VNFs themselves. In this case, all networks are point-to-point connections (e.g. ELINE) except for the management one, which is shared across all VNFs (ELAN). Every declaration, as seen in lines 97, 108, 113, 119, 125, 131 and 137 indicates the number of network entities attached to them.
The Virtualised Network Function Descriptor
The VNFDs provide details on the specifications of the individual nodes. The vPDN GW descriptor is shown below as a reference. Starting on line 42 the connectivity is described. This VNF requires two computational resources as expressed on line 48 (VDU1 & VDU2). Two of its interfaces (CP21 & CP22) are enabled to support Forwarding Graphs (line 51). In this specific case, four standard transactions types are supported through self-contained scripts: create, configure, stop and delete (line 54). The interfaces and their respective networks can be appreciated in general the topology depicted in Figure 5.
Figure 5: PDNGW_VNF Topology
At the end of the VNFD template are two Forwarding Paths (Line 144 and 151). They represent the incoming and outgoing traffic for the PDN gateway. Figure 6 and Figure 7 provide a visual perspective of the traffic flows they control.
Figure 6: Forwarding Path1 on VNFD
Figure 7: Forwarding Path2 on VNFD
NSD_vEPC.yaml – File contents:
vPDNGW_VNF.yaml – File contents:
The standards provide enough tools to cover the most general of use cases, but we expect to see future updates that can target elements of the service description that represent more complex and realistic scenarios, for instance:
- Quality of Experience (QoE) or in general Quality of Service (QoS) features. There are some brief references in the existing standards but this area requires further development.
- The transactions/interfaces need to support more complex features that can allow them to be referenced and consumed more easily by higher order service orchestration processes.
- Forwarding Graphs should include indications of the traffic types.
Although Comptel has worked out these areas for its own products and specifications, the real value materialises when these specifications become open and seamlessly interchangeable by the different components in the architecture.
Posted: December 5th, 2016 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: News | Tags: cloud, Comptel, customer experience, innovation, Nexterday North | No Comments »
By Anand Adhiappan
Every great journey has a destination. In a business journey, your ultimate goal should be to find new strategies, ideas and approaches that benefit for your customers. The cloud might be the biggest such destination for many businesses in the telco industry today, and at Comptel, our cloud journey is about embracing the emerging platforms and solutions that will make life easier and better for our customers.
Comptel’s cloud journey took another big step forward at this year’s Nexterday North, where we announced the addition of another cloud solution, Fastermind. Everything about Fastermind is influenced by or tailored for Generation Cloud, the savvy digital natives whose buying and engagement preferences are changing the ways telcos have to service their customers.
Generation Cloud wants services on their terms, at their speed and personalized to their specific wants and needs. The cloud is the only way to deliver the dynamic, personalized services these customers crave.
As an industry, the benefits that we have realized by cloud adoption is unquestionable. We are on a journey powered by the cloud for our infrastructure, engagement and business models. Therefore, a well-balanced cloud strategy that drives focus back to business top-line and in parallel drives up the cloud maturity is needed.
The cloud has opened new business models that weren’t feasible in the past. It accelerates partnering, experimentation and building of ecosystems. But, it also creates complexity and dilemma with all the options that are achievable – stretching from NFV/SDN to private cloud to public cloud applications and hybrid environment, from do it yourself options to SaaS options.
Service providers are on a road to cloud. Many service providers have matured their cloud infrastructure strategy and have collaborated with their vendor partners to deploy solutions in the cloud and have demonstrated clear efficiency gains.
So, what’s your cloud journey look like? Are you running at the speed of business? Are unlocking new revenue streams? Is stakeholder engagement better than before? Do you have free hands to experiment new propositions? Even a small tweak to a service has a significant positive impact to the top line and experience.
Future success relies on being proactive and open to engaging as a part of a broader ecosystem. Cloud as an engagement model is bringing businesses closer so they can collaborate and win together. Cloud native strategy will bring the needed maturity. Cloud directions taken today with the focus on future proactive needs is a road to cloud!
At Comptel, we love the cloud. It brings us closer to our customers than ever before. We have been on a cloud journey for a long time already, as our operator customers serve more than 300 million end-customers in the private cloud environment. To date, our cloud solutions have provided our customers with important improvements in efficiency, but our upcoming product roadmap includes several important steps that will help us draw even more value out of the cloud. Stay tuned for more, and share your cloud journey!
Posted: November 4th, 2016 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: digital service lifecycle management, digital transformation, IBM BusinessConnect | No Comments »
“Welcome to the Cognitive Era,” IBM proclaimed recently at Messukeskus Expo and Convention Centre in Helsinki, hailing an opportunity to outthink challenges, competitors and the limits of what is possible.
IBM says the cognitive era is one in which companies compete with each other by using algorithms, which are to a great deal responsible for how those companies develop, advance and succeed. Cognitive computing capabilities are emerging that resemble human learning and thinking processes: Discovery, Decision and Engagement. It’s taking data analysis as we know it to an entirely new level.
As we heard in many of the presentations at IBM BusinessConnect Helsinki 2016, digitalisation is a data-driven enabler for re-inventing and re-imagining the customer experience. That new experience can then be implemented through fresh business models and ecosystem-based collaboration. Partnerships are everything, because partners make innovation easier to achieve.
IBM BusinessConnect 2016 brought together a big crowd of about 1,500 enthusiastic professionals looking to get inspired and excited about the partnership opportunities offered by digitalisation and the Internet of Things (IoT). The program was fully packed with interesting presentations from IBM, KONE, Finnair, cyborg Neil Harbisson, and Comptel’s hybrid cloud, just to mention few. Here’s a summary.
The IBM/Comptel Telco Story
IBM and Comptel have a long-standing partnership that stretches over 10 years. Comptel is both a partner and a customer of IBM software and services. Together, we are actively helping telco operators around the world transform their OSS/BSS environments. Our strategic partnership is in the area of Digital Service Lifecycle Management (DSLM) with the IBM Architecture for Cloud-Based Networking, devising a new model for service orchestration and delivery of SDN/NFV.
Internally, Comptel deploys IBM cloud software assets in a hybrid environment for R&D, testing, training and more, both on-premises in Comptel’s own data centre and off-premises in the cloud. This hybrid workstyle offers us flexibility and agility, creating a better customer experience, whether we are using services on- or off-premises in single or multi-tenant mode.
IBM, like Comptel, believes in this hybrid cloud model. A presentation from IBM explained the global movement toward cloud, but stressed that cloud should not be viewed simply as a blanket destination: “Not every service needs to move to the cloud,” said the presenters. The key consideration for telcos is to figure out which services are better to run in a cloud environment, and then achieve seamless end-to-end orchestration across the hybrid network environment. Ultimately what matters most is being able to deliver a compelling customer and user experience irrespective of where the service resides.
Cognitive Computing in Healthcare
IBM and Tekes discussed their partnership, which resulted in the creation of the Watson Health Center of Excellence in Finland. Their aim is to improve the health of citizens, further local innovation and strengthen the Finnish healthcare business ecosystem. The partnership invites health companies to build an ecosystem on top of IBM’s Watson platform to create “the world’s most advanced data-led IoT hospitals.” Healthcare touches us all, and there’s a big need and sense of urgency around creating new innovative and disruptive health services. The ultimate vision is to establish a hospital-free model where the hospital is a base for service and care at home.
Moving People at an Urban Scale
KONE, a Finland based company serving more than 400,000 customers worldwide, moves more than 1 billion people every day with more than 1 million elevators and escalators. They anticipate the urbanisation trend to accelerate business, as more than 200,000 people are moving into cities every day, driving the need for sustainability and smart urban living. By embracing open innovation, KONE benefits from fresh ideas from outside their own company. Through IBM Watson, KONE has made a massive volume of escalator and elevator data available to third-party startup companies to innovate. This ecosystem and collaborative approach to innovation will be essential for KONE to take its business to the next level.
San Fran to Finland, Nonstop
The airline industry is also undergoing a digital transformation. Digitalisation is changing how airline employees work, how operations are run and how customers are served. Finnair is at the leading edge. Through an innovative strategic collaboration with Slush, Finnair has arranged exclusive direct flights to Europe’s leading startup event for attendees traveling from San Francisco. The San Francisco-to-Helsinki flight path will part of Finnair’s ongoing flight options starting in June 2017. It’s one example of how Finnair is working with leading startups to create better customer experiences and possibilities.
A Union Between Biology and Technology
Could you imagine hearing colours?
The most exciting and memorable speech at IBM BusinessConnect was given by cyborg Neil Harbisson. He was born with an extreme form of colour-blindness that meant he could only see grayscale. But, with the help of an internet-connected head implant that converts light into sound, Harbisson is now able to “hear” colours. Harbisson had his head antenna permanently installed in his skull in 2004, and his merging of biology and technology represents the ultimate in collaboration.
“Not many people go for a walk in the supermarket for fun, but I do,” he said. “I have an electronic eye that converts light into sound to enable me to ‘hear’ colour. So, the cleaning product aisle is very exciting. The rows of rainbow-coloured bottles sound like a symphony to me.”
He views the internet as an extension of his body and says he is able sense the inaudible reality around us, even hearing a sunset. Harbisson takes his role as a cyborg seriously, founding the Cyborg Project in 2010 to protect his rights under government classification. This is truly uncharted terrain, and we’ve only seen a glimpse of the possibilities of digital and connected technologies.
Comptel’s Nexterday North 2016 will feature many more inspiring stories of unique partnerships and collaboration. Register for Nexterday North to hear from some of the world’s leading thinkers in innovation, academics, technology and business, including Mike Walsh, Dietmar Dahmen, Chris Messina, David Meerman Scott and more.
Posted: October 20th, 2016 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: network functions virtualisation, NFV, SDN, SDN World Congress, virtualisatio | No Comments »
Greetings from SDN OpenFlow World Congress 2016, after a busy week when the entire industry came together to discuss, present and exchange views on SDN and NFV. Our industry is confronting perhaps its biggest-ever evolution – the transition to software-defined networks – and this event was a great place to discuss the implications. At the show, we got further insights into NFV/SDN proof of concepts and field trial experiences, but we also learned about several existing commercial launches in the areas of vCPE, vEPC, vIMS and vCDN. Without a doubt, many operators are moving past the trial stage and are deploying SDN and NFV in the real world.
Running from 10-14 October in the World Forum in The Hague, Netherlands, Layer 123’s SDN World Congress brought together more than 1,600 industry experts. The event’s main message was simple: more industry players than ever are looking into NFV and SDN, and they are part of a tremendous journey that will change the industry fundamentally and forever.
It Always Comes Back to The Customer
Customer needs are changing rapidly, with a strong preference toward digital-first experiences. You can thank the influence of over-the-top (OTT) cloud service providers for that. Unsurprisingly, a lot of talk at the event was about delivering a superior customer experience through a more agile and elastic network environment. SDN and NFV are not goals to be achieved, but rather the means to service transformation to better the personal customer experience.
But, SDN and NFV are about more than technology evolution; they represent a paradigm shift that will change how future operators and businesses will work. Technology is a big part but people, processes and organisation are even bigger. The business case-led way of thinking and working is growing stale, as it’s unrealistic to build a “business case per network function” as we’ve learned in dusty old presentations about network management.
The Multivendor-Proof Network Eliminates Vendor Lock-In
We heard a lot about the idea of vendor interoperability, or what is described as building a multivendor-proof network. This characteristic is a must-have, since avoiding vendor lock-in is one of the biggest benefits of NFV and SDN technologies. These benefits exceed the traditional single-vendor network approach in every sense.
Of course, it won’t be easy to create a multivendor-proof network. It will require technology standardisation, cooperation, open source principles and set of defined interfaces: APIs. But it’s clearly the way the industry is headed, and the only way we will achieve the full benefits of virtualisation technology.
Standardisation Enables Multi-Party Cooperation
There was plenty of talk about the key role standardisation will play. Organisations like MEF Forum, Open Source MANO (OSM), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), OPEN-Orchestrator (OPEN-O) and the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) are leading the way. Comptel is involved in several of these groups, each of which focuses on its individual areas of expertise while encouraging collaboration, information sharing, discussion and debate. Ultimately, standardisation is advancing the multi-vendor and open-for-all approach to network design in acknowledgement of the desire for interoperability.
The nature of cooperative work within our industry is changing given this emphasis on multivendor networks. NFV and SDN are bringing companies together, leading to the creation of industry blueprints, proof of concept trials, and field experiments. Comptel is already involved in several, in fact.
The Network Automation Cycle
Many industry players at the event underlined the importance of automation and orchestration, driven by real-time analytics that rely on data and closed-loop processes to improve customer experience. They also advocated end-to-end seamless orchestration across new virtual and established services.
“Operations are the elephant in the room,” as one analyst aptly described significant operational concerns. Centralised and coordinated control and orchestration are the key assets that allow digital service lifecycle management in a hybrid network environment. The “orchestrator of the orchestrators” will be the enabler by providing a holistic, end-to-end view the dynamic digital services in multidomain networks.
There’s No Doubt: NFV/SDN Will Happen
NFV is going to happen; there’s no lack of confidence in the actual value of the technology. Of course it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s still early days for NFV, which remains an immature technology before standards become clear and stabilised.
The switch to virtualisation is both a technology and business challenge but even more it’s about culture, people, processes and trust. The true value of virtualisation comes back to the customer: you and me. At the end of the day, successful transformation will be about education, experimentation and strong relationships.
Network virtualisation will be a hot topic at Nexterday North 2016, which runs from 28-29 November in Helsinki. Register now to reserve your spot at the show.
Posted: September 28th, 2016 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: customer engagement, Generation Cloud, personalized customer journey | No Comments »
Have the rules changed for Communications Service Providers to engage with their customers?
Digitalization has created a generation of empowered, engaged and demanding “Generation Cloud” consumers. These people want to be treated as individuals through using a service that meets their expectations and aligns to the way they live their lives. They don’t want to follow service providers’ rules but instead, define the digital market as they want to see it. Service providers have to identify product opportunities, then design and commercially publish new service offerings faster than ever. Only then will they be able to seize the increasing new opportunities for data, content, applications and service monetization. Effectively they have to monetize more in less time, whilst leveraging partner offerings for service enrichment.
How do service providers win the hearts and minds of customers with almost impossible expectations?
To meet the expectations of generation cloud consumers it’s no longer sufficient to have a static portfolio of products that a customer selects and uses unchanged for the lifetime of a contract. Lifestyles, demands and expectations create a digital opportunity for providers to continually engage with their customers with contextually relevant enrichments to a base package contract.
These enrichments or upsell opportunities can take the form of traditional data or messaging bundles, however they can now also encompass personalized add-ons such as streaming subscriptions or cloud-storage with a data allowance; time-based video streaming bundles and sponsored enterprise data packages. These modern-day enrichments have to be more understandable by the consumer, as lifestyle enhancements aligned to them.
Service providers have an opportunity to not only create these offerings but intelligently identify when to make a recommendation and with which product. They also have to simplify the engagement and buying process as closed-loop automation, allowing for consistent improvement, alignment and customer retention.
What would the perfect solution look like for CSPs to enable the personalised customer journey?
A comprehensive turnkey solution for the personalized journey will incorporate a number of steps that the customer service lifecycle will take. These steps consist of product creation based on identified market needs, campaign management and commercialization of those products, an ordering process and of course the delivery of a product in the first instance.
Once delivered it’s necessary to collect data and valuable information on the consumed service, which when analyzed provides insights to drive the intelligent recommendations required for next customer contact via a simple interaction or detailed marketing campaign.
Realizing that the recommended add-on is a perfect fit, the consumer then needs a seamless buying and delivery experience – leading to the creation of a revised automation-loop for continuous future engagement.
A Modern Day Customer Engagement Architecture
Leveraging a communications industry data integration framework, Salesforce, Apttus and Comptel are perfecting the personalized customer journey through a number of identifiable steps.
- Designing – B2C or B2B service design based on technical network and service capabilities, with input from market research created by product management.
- Commercializing – Publishing of the product as a commercial offering, allowing a customer to discover, select and customize to their needs.
- Ordering – Submission of the selected and customized product as an order into the buying process. Incorporating CPQ processes (Configuration, Pricing and Quotation).
- Delivering – Order processing and service activation plus an all-important notification to the subscriber for full customer engagement into the process.
- Tracking – Continuous charging, metering and full reporting of service consumption by the subscriber, giving a 3600 perspective on contextual usage.
- Analyzing – Contextual analysis on service usage trends of the subscriber leading to intelligent recommendation for product upsell and tailoring – customer alignment and engagement.
- Growing – Perpetual engagement, offering continual recommendations to an individual and the option to buy. Perfecting the customer engagement process.
The result is an eco-system primed solution for customer engagement and contextually-intelligent product recommendations, leading to automated customer lifecycle management. The solution is enabled by the Salesforce Communications Framework & Data Exchange, Salesforce Customer Success Platform, Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution and Comptel Intelligent Data Monetization & Customer Engagement Automation.