#IoTNordic 2016 Recap: Spotlight on IoT Partnerships and Potential

Posted: May 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on #IoTNordic 2016 Recap: Spotlight on IoT Partnerships and Potential

Last month, a sold-out crowd of 500 IoT enthusiasts packed into Helsinki’s Kattilahalli conference hall for the Internet of Things 2016 Conference, also known as #IoTNordic. With a DJ playing live music throughout the two-day show, a saxophonist entertaining the crowd in the late afternoon happy hour and outdoor food vans offering tasty meals, the event offered a hip, modern and invigorating atmosphere for lively discussions on the potential and partnerships that define the IoT.

VP Luoma Comptel IoTNordic

Veli-Pekka Luoma, Comptel

Although environmentalism was a major theme (event organisers used recycled wooden pallets as booth tables, for example), the event and the attendees were focused on different kind of environment: the holistic IoT ecosystem. There was one common denominator: Nearly everyone in attendance, across industries, was looking for technology partners to help them build or expand their own ecosystem of connected device solutions.

Comptel sponsored #IoTNordic and presented a speaking session with our Director of Advanced Analytics for IoT, Veli-Pekka Luoma, about the vital role data plays in the Smart Living movement. Comptel’s Intelligent Fast Data solutions offer businesses the power to sense, understand and act instantly on data “across the board.” Connected devices are another data source that produces aggregated information, alongside customer interactions, the network, social media, location and more. Businesses stand to benefit tremendously by pulling insights from all those different sources and applying insights to real-time actions. Those actions lead to better IoT-enabled experiences.

Industry can remotely monitor heavy machinery to run a “smart factory.” Health care providers can track personal data to offer intelligent preventative care, fleet managers can optimise routes for cargo vehicles, utility providers can provide efficient energy solutions with smart meters, and much more.

It all starts with smarter data. Through experimentation, partnership and solution co-creation, businesses – including operators – can apply data analytics to elevate the IoT beyond simple machine-to-machine communications toward humanistic benefits. #IoTNordic offered several compelling examples of businesses that are already succeeding in the IoT.

Elisa’s IoT Innovation Challenge

Elisa VP Markku Hollström IoT Nordics

Elisa VP Markku Hollström

The Finnish operator Elisa has enjoyed many successes along its digital transformation. Its IoT service offering is one example. The company offers IoT connectivity, monitoring and analytics to a range of verticals, including a 3D real-time “Smart Factory” dashboard for industry, augmented reality solutions, and analytics-enriched monitoring and email notifications for the marine manufacturer Wärtsilä.

Elisa VP Markku Hollström explained that to succeed in the IoT, you need to experiment and develop a broad network of partners. That enables speed – the company profiled IoT projects that went from ideation to product in just six weeks. It’s also why the company is inviting businesses to participate in the Elisa Innovation Challenge, which will reward up to €85,000 in prizes to entrants who create innovative corporate and Smart Home IoT solutions.

Technology, Customer Experience the Focus for Tesla

Tesla IoT Nordic

Tesla presentation at IoT Nordic

The electric car manufacturer Tesla says it is not in the business of selling luxury vehicles. At the show, the company’s speaker said the company’s focus is actually in transitioning the world toward safer, sustainable transportation. The IoT plays a big role in that: Tesla says its vehicles are the most connected cars on Earth, and their mission is to incorporate technology to create a software-based, analytics-informed driving experience. Even their car buying experience is innovative; it’s entirely online, making it a modern, customer-focused approach to purchasing.

Are Device Implants the Future of Health?

Hannes Sjöblad, BioNyfiken

Hannes Sjöblad, BioNyfiken

Hannes Sjöblad of BioNyfiken presented a fascinating look at the role of NFC implants in human health, which his company says is humanity’s “personal key to the IoT”. This technology already exists – in fact, we saw a live demo at the end of his presentation of a human implant placed into a person’s hand. While also a bit scary, the demo did show the amazing potential of implanted devices to enable everyday individuals to “speak” to connected devices.

There are simple but very relevant use cases, like replacing keys, ID cards, tickets and boarding passes with implanted chips, and use cases that are more humanistic. Personalised chips could ensure a gun can’t be operated by an unauthorised user, for example, or even play a role in curing blindness, deafness and paralysis.

Securing the IoT

Of course, any conversation about the many uses cases for the IoT eventually falls back on security concerns. In his keynote speech, Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer of F-Secure explained that the IoT will only expand the number of threat vectors (how do you secure your Wi-Fi if it’s being shared by your refrigerator?), creating more opportunity for highly sophisticated cyber criminals and making it more difficult for consumers to maintain privacy.

The number and variety of IoT devices will make single-device protection impractical, said Hyppönen. F-Secure, for example, has no interest in developing anti-virus protection for your connected toaster. However, the company does develop full-home Wi-Fi security solutions to ensure every device on the network is secure. Furthermore, F-Secure compensates independent hackers who find holes in their security system, when many of those hackers may have otherwise sold that information to cyber criminals. It’s a good solution for F-Secure: Paying for hackers to find holes in your system is a clever and efficient way to find vulnerable spots in your environment.

As Hyppönen said, ”Web content is not free. It is paid for with your data. It’s paid for with your privacy. And it’s too late to change that. We have raised a whole new generation who are used to having content for ‘free’ on the web. And yet, we don’t understand what this means.”

That’s an important takeaway to keep in mind as businesses and operators tiptoe – or dive head-first – into the futuristic world of the IoT.

Learn more about the IoT opportunity for telco in a new whitepaper from Comptel and Heavy Reading. Download “Smart Cities & Smart Living: The Role of Telecom Operators.”


Policy Control Conference 2016 Recap: Innovating to Enhance the Customer Experience

Posted: April 19th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | Comments Off on Policy Control Conference 2016 Recap: Innovating to Enhance the Customer Experience

Policy Control Conference 2016Policy control cannot be seen as a standalone function any longer. It needs to be combined with charging and predictive analytics to give customers the best, most contextual and personalised service experience. At the same time, effective policy and charging control also gives operators the flexible and agile tools they need to monetise data services. That was one big takeaway from the Policy Control Conference 2016, which bills itself as the world’s only event exclusively dedicated to the policy control market.

Nearly 200 policy control enthusiasts from 80 organisations gathered at Berlin’s Maritim proArte hotel from 5-6 April to learn about the latest and greatest developments in the field of policy control. The entire policy control ecosystem was represented, with scheduled presentations from solution vendors, operators and industry analysts. Executive speed networking, operator-hosted lunches, analyst breakfast roundtable briefings and operator and vendor dinner also offered plenty of opportunity for interaction.

Comptel was in attendance as a sponsor, and we also hosted “The Seven Deadly Sins of Policy Control,” a session with our VP MONETIZER Simo Isomäki and our VP Solution Architecture Martin Vieth. We highlighted the defective, broken aspects of policy control that needed to be corrected as operators evolve toward a modernised and future-proof policy environment. At the event, attendees heard how operators are addressing challenges like time to market, increasing customer experience demands and the introduction of virtualised functions into the network through innovation policy control management. Here are several big takeaways from the event.

Complexity Slows the Speed of Innovation

Network agility is crucial to delivering the flexibility operators need to achieve a higher speed of service creation, which is a valuable asset at a time when monetisation opportunities crop up at a moment’s notice. However, overly complex telco networks slow everything down, making it difficult or in some cases impossible for operators to configure and launch new services fast enough to attract customers at their peak moment of interest.

Simo and Martin explained that the blame lies with complex and scattered network architecture and management, which kills innovation. As a result, many operators are “dead slow” – 69 per cent of CSPs say launching a new product or changing a product takes too long, according to Heavy Reading. The right environment and toolset could speed things up by giving operators a single view to create and change products and allow for service creation experimentation. Operators should strive to innovate when it comes to service pricing, add-on apps, data bundle configuration, delivery speed and more to appeal to digitally savvy customers.

PCC 2016 Simo IsomakiNFV and Policy Control

Network functions virtualisation (NFV) is, naturally, one key area of innovation affecting policy control. PCRF is often one of the first network functions to be virtualised as operators seek to respond quickly to changing market conditions.

Many telcos in attendance acknowledged the benefits of NFV, including its ability to drive a 95 per cent improvement in service cycles, outweighed the potential challenges of implementation. Presenters argued that policy control and analytics should be tightly integrated with network and service orchestration, delivering service and customer awareness to the NFV and SDN network.

At the same time, the Comptel presentation emphasised simplicity above all in NFV implementations. Operators are striving towards NFV – one said “If you don’t do NFV, you’ll be left behind”. In our session, Simo and Martin advised a hybrid approach in which brand-new NFV infrastructure and legacy environments work in cooperation to maintain simplicity.

Analytics Enables Better Service Experience

Another major theme at the show involved the central role customer experience should play in policy and charging control management decisions. For example, moving away from the idea of standalone policy control and toward a vision for natively combined policy control, charging, predictive analytics and real-time business reporting helps operators deliver a better and more targeted end-to-end service experience.

One operator described how they currently analyse customer usage behaviour and patterns with a Big Data cognitive learning analytics platform. Using that data, they can guide their policy engine for example to offer the best service with the most attractive apps to customers. Predictive analytics also informs service testing, so that operators can test and affirm a new services’ success before launching it publicly.

PCC 2016 Martin ViethThe Customer is at the Centre of Service Experience

Forward-looking service creation puts the customer at the centre by selling services the way buyers want. As Fredrik Jungermann explained at Nexterday North 2015, customers buy data by the bundle today only because that’s the way operators choose to sell data, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way or the perfect way to sell data. Rather than simply selling data on a small, medium, large or extra-large model, Simo and Martin advocated a model where data is flexibly bundled with attractive over-the-top (OTT) content services to appeal to the customer’s preference.

Additionally, there were discussions around the importance of offering consistent mobile service experience no matter the customer’s location. Presenters argued that there is value in policies being access-neutral whether a customer is on fixed internet, mobile data or a Wi-Fi network.

Similarly, operators could change the way the allocate bandwidth per application to improve service experience. Twitter and Netflix, for example, don’t need the same bandwidth speeds to run successfully, but that is currently how those apps are supported by many internet service providers. Why not flexibly support apps with an appropriate level of bandwidth, reserving the best speeds for live streaming videos?

Ultimately, that’s how operators and the industry need to think about policy control moving forward. The customer should always be at the centre of any major innovation in the network or otherwise, so an evolution in policy and charging control should likewise focus on improving the customer experience. Since complexity is the enemy of innovation, operators will need to only consider transformation that can make things work more simply and quickly.

Learn more about the tools how to monetise more in less time: Download our whitepaper about the MONETIZER™ or register to our MONETIZER™ webinar or click to read about our MONETIZER™. To keep up on the latest news and discussion topics, please join our Magazine and Reader Community in nexterday.org.



#MWC2016: It’s Time to Draw Real-Time Value From Untapped Customer Data

Posted: March 2nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on #MWC2016: It’s Time to Draw Real-Time Value From Untapped Customer Data

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) was another exciting one for Comptel. We launched a new book, Nexterday: Volume II, and Nexterday.org, an online magazine and reader community, threw a party, and met with many operators who were interested in learning more about transforming their business to address the demands of digitalisation, as well as partners, analysts and media. When it comes to effectively transforming to a digital company, one of an operator’s biggest assets is customer data.Comptel Data Refinery

A consistent theme throughout MWC 2016 was the idea that operators are sitting on a store of customer data that, like an untapped oil reserve, could deliver rich insights that lead to significant revenue opportunities. Rising interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) isn’t making matters easier – we saw a flood of manufacturers demonstrating their latest connected devices, from cars to wearables, at MWC 2016, plus a fair share of big thinkers promoting their vision for larger-scale, IoT-enabled operations, like smart cities. Here are takeaways from the MWC panel “Operator Customer Analytics,” where those challenges and opportunities were discussed.

The Operator Perspective
Comptel robotOperators have always collected data, but the ways in which they pool, interpret and act on information has changed as technology and processes evolve.

Kuan Moon Yuen, CEO of the consumer group at Singapore-based operator Singtel, explained that his company has developed a more sophisticated analytics estate by pooling insights from multiple data sources. Customer data usage has always been important to telcos, but Singtel stressed that analysing other information – location, device and real-time contextual metrics – allows operators to deliver tailored network optimization, better customer support and predictive, real-time marketing.

Dr. Jiwon Ashley Joo of SK Telecom agreed that context changes the way operators can serve customers. Her company changed its analytics framework to gain a more holistic view of how its customers interact with various services. This type of observation led to service innovation, including a popular new connected wearable device for kids and pets. As these new services are used, the operator collects even more information about its users, which inform future initiatives.

The Standards Association Perspective

Comptel MWC2016Of course, it’s easy enough to point out operators’ need to mine, interpret and act on their substantial data reserves. Rob Rich of TM Forum clarified the challenge by reminding MWC panel attendees of the significant skills gap that prevents many operators from actually putting these ideas into practice.

Of the substantial volume of data currently floating out there in operator environments, a small percentage – about 5 percent, said Rich – is actually actionable. To increase that percentage, operators need to develop an organizational culture for sharing data, and raise their level of sophistication when it comes to leveraging data.

That underscored what’s perhaps the biggest challenge operators face in maximizing customer data: they’re already a bit behind the eight-ball. For digital-born companies like Google and Facebook, a data-centric culture, mindset and competency is already built-in. Telcos need to change to acquire some of those qualities.

Comptel Multi-Touch Demo WallThe Customer Engagement Automation Solution Perspective

So, if the objectives are to combine multiple insights from disparate data sources, get smarter about how your organisation manages and analyses data and change the culture of your organisation to be more data-centric, what’s your next step?

Third-party partnerships can help operators improve their level of sophistication around analytics initiatives, even democratising analytics insight, so anyone from IT to marketing to sales can make smarter decisions about customer information. Analytics platforms bring together raw data from multiple sources, enrich it to provide context and drive the right actions instantaneously. These solutions enable automated and real-time decisions and actions, helping businesses keep pace with fast-changing buyer needs and wants.

The biggest opportunity here is in real-time and contextual marketing: an operator who learns a customer is running low on mobile data while that individual is listening to a streaming music app has the chance to deliver a highly relevant and compelling top-up offer at the perfect time. It’s how marketing can and should work if you’re able to act in real-time with the right information about your customer.

Learn more about how successful operators leverage customer analytics data in our new book, Nexterday Volume II.


Digital Disruption in the Physical World: Reflections from IoT World Forum 2015

Posted: December 21st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | Comments Off on Digital Disruption in the Physical World: Reflections from IoT World Forum 2015

Walking away from last month’s IoT World Forum in London, where over 400 IoT enthusiasts from various industries came together to exchange views, two major themes were immediately apparent.Internet of Things smartwatch iot

First, it was very clear that the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a huge business opportunity for many companies, including operators. Cisco projects that the market for IoT services and technology could generate $19 trillion between 2013 and 2022, while more than 50 billion individual IoT-enabled devices will be connected by 2020.

Secondly, it’s clear we’re moving toward a digital society. Everyone is becoming digitized, and in fact, European operator Tele2 claims that in the IoT economy, all physical things will have a digital twin. And it’s that digital twin which creates digital dependency and product “stickiness” to customers.

What’s the best way forward for operators? How do telcos who have long been focused on connecting customers with traditional voice, messaging and enabling customers’ data access now pursue intriguing new opportunities in an emerging field? Various presenters, a handful of which were operators, at IoT World Forum offered their suggestions – here’s our recap concentrating mainly on the CSPs’ IoT strategies and takeaways.

Find a Good Monetisation Strategy

Ultimately, IoT is about data, and data analytics.

shell connected car presentationNaturally, operators want to know exactly how they turn all that data generated from those billions of new connected devices into revenue. It was stressed that connectivity is not the only way for operators to earn from IoT, in fact operators need to go beyond connectivity. So instead, telcos must take a service-led approach, relying on connected devices to offer the data that fuels highly personalised and relevant services to customers.

There was an interesting example of an auto insurance provider that defines customers’ insurance policies based on their driving behaviour, which is monitored and tracked by in-vehicle sensors. In this model, IoT-generated data is directly influencing how a consumer service is delivered and priced. Accompanying this behaviour-based insurance model there was a discussion about the other possible alternatives companies might price the IoT, including an ad-funded model, subscription-based model, consumption-based billing, and data trading.

With IoT, the market is moving from CAPEX to OPEX-driven business models, to a ”software as a service” or what one might even call an ”everything as a service” approach.

Find an Innovative Use Case

Operators showcased an amazingly big spectrum of innovative use cases in the field of IoT. These are stretching from various health apps and assisted living to home appliances, smart logistics, smart cities, connected cars and fleet management. Some operators have even made IoT a primary business focus, including one major Tier 1 operator that explained its concentration on the health vertical. To guarantee the best possible success in this domain, they’ve even hired medical doctors to consult on the digitalisation of healthcare.

Build an Ecosystem of IoT Partners

Nobody walks alone in an IoT-driven service ecosystem. IoT market is not be a “one-man show, but rather an ensemble piece.” No single player offers an end-to-end platform that serves a complete array of business use cases.shell presentation

Bringing all this data together through a compelling ecosystem and service partners, creates a win-win situation for key IoT players. The proposal is to go forward with a culture of experimentation and multi-party models of joint-testing and trials that allow partners to establish proofs of concept and address difficulties before products are released to market, meanwhile applying the well-known principles of “fail fast or scale fast” and “think big, start small and scale fast.”

Address Changing Behaviours to Win Customers

What makes an IoT offering successful? What separates products that are simply hype from those that are genuinely compelling to customers? One conference presenters said “behaviour change is the killer app of IoT,” while another pointed out that the “user is at the centre of IoT.”

There was a common consensus around the popularity of wearable fitness technology. Customers love their FitBits and Jawbones mostly because these devices help their owners become more active. In this case, an IoT device is addressing specific customer behaviour – the desire to live a healthier lifestyle.

Similarly, David Bunch of Shell asked whether today’s youth – more of whom view cars as functional appliances rather than an aspirational purchase – cares much at all about owning their own vehicle. As a result of this changing behaviour, Bunch argues that it’s more a question of when, not if, connected autonomous vehicles will roam city streets as the preferred method of transportation.

Unlike discussions that position the IoT as a sort of futuristic piece of science fiction technology, the tenor of the conversation at IoT World Forum focused on real, pragmatic solutions. For operators, the way forward involves service-led business models and creativity pricing, the creation of beneficial partner ecosystems, establishing innovation labs and a priority on IoT-enabled services that serve evolving customer behaviours and desires.

Download our book, Operation Nexterday, to learn the strategies and solutions that help mobile operators innovate their service offerings and intrigue Generation Cloud consumers.


3 Keys to Digitalisation’s Future from IBM Business Connect 2015

Posted: October 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on 3 Keys to Digitalisation’s Future from IBM Business Connect 2015

The theme for last week’s IBM Business Connect event in Helsinki was “Seize the Moment.” Acknowledging the rapidly shifting business environment and ever-increasing consumer demands, event speakers encouraged attendees to get off the sidelines, rapidly build their skills and proactively seek out new ideas to transform their businesses for a new post-digital era.Toroidion_1MW_Concept

A number of business leaders, technology experts and futurists presented inspiring talks on their vision for the future of digitalisation, but three keynotes stood out most prominently. The first involved a view of the futuristic technologies businesses will require to push themselves forward, the second stressed the importance of pushing boundaries, and the third encouraged businesses to accept what they don’t know and focus on improving the post-digital buying experience, mirroring what Comptel has said on the topic of Operation Nexterday. Here’s our recap.

A Peek at IBM’s Post-Digital Cognitive Era

IBM has positioned itself as a frontrunner in the “cognitive era,” characterized by a new capability that the tech giant believes companies will need as they move further, and even beyond, the digital era. In his keynote, IBM’s Juha Teljo, who leads European sales for IBM’s business intelligence and predictive analytics technologies, described why cognitive abilities will be the next significant technology for forward-thinking companies.

Cognition, Teljo explains, will allow businesses to understand, reason and learn much in the same way that humans do. Rather than rely on static data for business decision-making, IBM believes the next generation of business intelligence will offer predictive, machine-learned insights through cognitive technology.

This echoes Comptel’s thoughts around operators’ need for intelligent fast data, which drives real-time, automated and contextual marketing, in-the-moment analysis and instant revenue opportunities. Given the speed at which consumers make decisions and demand results, cognition and machine-learning capabilities will be crucial tools moving forward.

IBM Cognitive Era Business Connect 2015

Toroidion’s Pasi Pennanen on Pushing Boundaries

It takes imagination to create big ideas, but to accomplish them takes “the next level of courage,” as Pasi Pennanen’s Toroidion project shows.

One might say that Pennanen has plenty of both, and in his keynote he shared his truly fascinating story of how he applied imagination and courage to make his dream of an electric vehicle reality. Pennanen is the creator of the Toroidion 1MW concept car, an eye-popping 100 percent electric sports car with 1,341 horsepower – making it one of the most powerful cars of any type in world.

Pennanen explained how he dreamed of becoming an industrial designer for cars since he was a child – a perhaps atypical ambition for a Finnish youth, but nonetheless one he pursues to this day with the dogged belief that anything is possible. He originally designed the Toroidion to compete in the famous Le Mans 24-hour road race, but now says he envisions his cars eventually being mass produced for everyday consumers.

To achieve that goal, he and his company will need to overcome a great number of challenges and obstacles, but Pennanen is driven to push boundaries in product development and design. It’s a model any business – but especially operators faced with a rapidly evolving telco landscape – should follow.

Futurist Dietmar Dahmen on Accepting the Unknown, Loving the Unknown and Embracing the Unknown

Right now, most operators acknowledge that they are surrounded by a significant number of opportunities coming from all sides. Whether they want to re-engineer their infrastructure for better flexibility and agility through network functions virtualisation, enhance their analytics capabilities through machine-learning technology or design imaginative service plans at warp speed that pique consumers’ interest, there are no shortage of options to revolutionise one’s business.

The challenge is, many operators don’t know which opportunities are right for them or how to proceed. There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding these decisions, but in his keynote at the event, futurist Dietmar Dahmen expressed why it is important for businesses to accept and even embrace the unknown. As he explained, change is what makes us strong, and though it may feel comfortable to stay within the status quo, businesses must understand that to be a superhero in their industry, they must feel good about breaking rules, thinking exponentially and acting on their potential.

IBM Business Connect 2015 Cognitive Era

“Without Data Your Business Will Die”

In the digital and cloud era we’re online and connected pretty much 24/7. Dieter Dahmen’s statement ‘We are our phone’ is spot-on to describe our behaviour. Life is truly a chain of digital moments, but businesses are not able to respond to the opportunity that customers’ passive and active digital footprints allow. More than ever, it’s critical to leverage personalization and contextuality to deliver the right content to customers in the right moment. Unfortunately most organizations fall short, as “only 1 percent of companies can use data to invidualise across the channels,” according to Dahmen.

The consumer buying process is the most transformative experience industries need to deal with in the future. Pace is at the heart of it: our new generation of customers are impatient, want options and don’t like to wait. Dietmar Dahmen described it by saying “speed displaces cost as the main driver for purchasing decisions,” which makes moving at the speed of the internet a “life and death matter” for operators. But it’s very clear that at telco speeds, operators will struggle to satisfy clientele.

That’s a message Comptel shares: to break out of the collective industry blind spot and leverage new avenues of growth and revenue, operators must overcome their fear of the unknown and embrace out-of-the-box thinking. It’s the only way forward in Nexterday.

Register to join hundreds of progressive thinkers, industry experts and innovative operators at Comptel’s inaugural Nexterday North, 9-10 November. By purchasing a 2×2 Front Pass, you get full access to both Nexterday North and the startup conference Slush.


3 Key Takeaways from Elisa’s Digital Business Transformation

Posted: September 3rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on 3 Key Takeaways from Elisa’s Digital Business Transformation

Need a haircut? In the past, you may have called up a salon and made an appointment. Today, M Room – the international chain of men’s barber shops with locations across Europe and the United States – allows you to check its mobile app to find the nearest shop with the soonest vacancy. That way, you don’t have to rearrange your schedule to make an appointment, nor must you sit in line waiting for a spot to open up.

Veli-Matti Mattila, CEO of Finnish operator Elisa, recently cited M Room’s app as an example of how mobile and digital services are changing our everyday lives. As Mattila explained, digitalisation is a major change agent in global society and has the power to disrupt all industries.

Digitalisation will usher in an era of business transformation that will radically change how all businesses including telcos, in particular, operate. Elisa is a prime example – the company may have once been known as a traditional voice provider, but today, it would be more accurate to call it a digital and communications services provider.

Elisa offers its customers much more than simple connectivity. Its range of consumer services include an entertainment service for watching TV with cloud-based recording and content on demand, a wallet app for mobile payments and a book app for avid readers. On the business-to-business (B2B) end, Elisa offers video conference, customer interaction services and social media listening services, to name just a few.

Mattila helped engineer Elisa’s digital business transformation in his 12 years as CEO, and the results have been significant. The company’s initial six-month financial review showed that, despite a challenging economic climate, Elisa made its best-ever result from January to June 2015. The company also reported an expected growth in year-to-date revenue compared to the same time period in 2014.

Mattila’s comments reinforce what Comptel has discussed in our book, Operation Nexterday: digitalisation is forcing telco business transformation, and this adoption and evolution is vital if operators are to best serve individual and business customers and grow their organisations. Here are three takeaways from Elisa’s journey that other operators should note.

How Telco Can Disrupt in the Digitalisation Age

Consider how private car hire and ride-sharing service Uber has transformed public transportation internationally. Customers can simply queue up the app to find a nearby driver and conduct the entire transaction digitally, making for an easy and cashless ride.

As more industries embrace digital technology – from massive international conglomerates like Uber to the local coffee shop on your nearest street corner – operators will increasingly find an opportunity to add value.

They can enter markets they may never have thought possible, such as delivering over-the-top (OTT) content, social apps and now even books, as Elisa has done.

Operators should not discount cooperating with other players and building digital ecosystems to accomplish this. In the case of Elisa, the Finnish telco purchased capabilities from other organisations to establish an enablement platform upon which it could disrupt the market.

Embedding a Digital Culture at Every Level

Of course, making this change is not easy. Not every operator may have the vision to execute a broad digital business transformation. But, as Mattila explained, businesses do not need a Steve Jobs-type visionary at the top to push forward a digital service strategy. All you really need is firm direction, leadership, courage to change and a willingness to try new things.

Senior management should be in charge of digitalisation, Mattila recommended, and the sales, distribution and customer service functions need to buy in as well. Change may happen incrementally, but as long as they are watching the market, experimenting and pushing in the right direction to rewrite their playbooks, operators can transform successfully. Those that do not will die and perhaps result in new life.

Experiment Often, With a Focus on Speed

Above all, transforming into a digital business is a matter of trial and error. Not every new digital service offering or business idea will succeed, but as long as operators try new things quickly and ‘fail fast’, they will have the opportunity to quickly recover, learn from the results and react and ‘scale fast.’

Telco organisations should not fear failure, Mattila advised, because mistakes inform future successes. Maybe one opportunity will stick and truly catapult the business forward. The experimenting done and ideas that survive will ultimately make a major difference in operators’ successful transition to next-generation digital and communications service providers.

This blog post is based on Veli-Matti Mattila’s interview on the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK) website and written up by Antti Blåfield.


TM Forum Live! Recap: The IoT and NFV Revolution is Already Here

Posted: July 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

This year’s TM Forum Live! invoked the theme of digital business transformation and a digital ecosystem for telecommunications. As my colleague, Steve Hateley, wrote recently, leading voices in the industry took time at the event to share their views on the key opportunities and challenges available to operators who embrace creative thinking in an era of digital disruption.

Without a doubt, two of the biggest opportunities of this ongoing and dramatic transformation involve the Internet of Things (IoT) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). Several speakers, dedicated streams, catalyst projects, key notes and exhibitions offered proof points to demonstrate that not only is this transformation on its way – in many cases, it’s already happening around us. Here are three major NFV and IoT takeaways from the show.

An Impending Surge in NFV Deployments

Self Driving Car Volvo

Credit: Volvo

Comptel has discussed at great length about the transformative impact of NFV deployments on telecommunications. As we wrote in our book, Operation Nexterday, operators who don’t adopt NFV to speed their service delivery and achieve greater agility and scalability could soon see their competitors pass them by.

It would appear many more are starting to realize this, and thus, prioritise NFV deployments in the immediate future. According to one survey that was conducted by Heavy Reading and presented at TM Forum Live!, 23 percent of operators expect to implement NFV commercially within their networks within the next year, while 44 percent expect to do so within the next two years.

In a presentation, Appledore Research Group estimated that as many as 250 ongoing NFV trials are occurring around the world, which includes multiple proofs of concept within a single operator’s network and around 25 early “live” NFV deployments. These deployments are already revealing benefits: Virtual E-CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts, for example, lead to ten-fold improvements in OPEX savings, while Virtual RAN (radio access networks) rollouts offer a smaller footprint and reduced energy consumption. The Heavy Reading study, which surveyed mobile operators specifically, highlighted many benefits to NFV, with respondents saying it helped achieve scalability in their IMS core and offered value in the policy and charging control function and their evolved packet core.

The IoT Inflection Point

Similarly, there was much discussion around the IoT “inflection point” – as in, the point at which IoT implementations and projects begin to trend upward.

Telefonica fleet management IoT

Credit: Telefónica

For example, Volvo CIO Klas Bendrik discussed how the car group is addressing consumers’ desire to stay connected at all times by developing interfaces that allow drivers to identify safety hazards, time-saving routes and fuel-saving driving behaviours. The company intends to test 100 self-driving automobiles on Swedish public roads in 2017, which will be the first opportunity members of the public will have to ride along in an autonomous car in normal traffic.

Elsewhere, BT Group Director of Research and Technology Chris Bilton discussed an IoT project in Milton Keynes, England, in which BT Group was able to support the development of a citywide parking optimisation initiative that could be the first step of a full “smart city” project. The global market for Smart Cities is expected to be valued at $400 billion by 2020. The Milton Keynes project will be underpinned by a “Smart Data Hub” that will collect anonymous city data about factors such as energy, water and transportation, to let the partners and developers to address city challenges and innovate on new developments and solutions.

Urban planning, energy management, health care – these are all areas in which IoT is already making a difference, and naturally, operators are getting involved. As we discussed in Operation Nexterday, Telefónica uses machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity to enable IoT services in the Tesla Model S in Europe, and separately manages a smart energy meter project that comprises 53 million devices across Great Britain. The company also relies on sensors to offer fleet management solutions to ensure trucks stay on course, meet delivery objectives and manage fuel efficiently. Tomorrow’s fleets of trucks could, then, look quite futuristic, covered in sensors that support various measurements and actions. These systems rely on M2M technology that is already within operators’ grasp and ready to be leveraged.

Partnerships Key to Accelerating IoT Innovation

The IoT opportunity is huge. Cisco estimates the industry could be valued at $19 trillion by 2024. If IoT disruption is already upon us, how do we accelerate its growth?

One key will be the establishment of new partnerships to unlock an open playing field for faster innovation. Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, executive vice president of innovation, marketing and technologies at Orange, explained in TMForum Live! the need for telcos to build a partner ecosystem that extends beyond the usual suspects. Today telcos, she explained, are partnering with companies who they do not normally talk to and who are not like them. Examples include automobile manufacturers, pharmaceutical providers and IoT developers. On top of that, open APIs and platforms will allow developers to innovate faster, bringing new IoT solutions to market at a rapid pace.

Comptel has often advocated for the benefit of non-intuitive telco partnerships, specifically agreements between mobile operators and over-the-top (OTT) content providers to deliver new content-driven mobile data packages. Similarly, such out-of-the-box thinking could enable savvy operators to identify new service opportunities in IoT.

Want to learn more about the ongoing telco digital transformation? Contact Comptel Marketing (comptel.marketing@comptel.com) to find out when our Beyond the Event Horizon roadshow is coming to your city.

And join us in November for Nexterday North, our can’t-miss antiseminar where we will take a non-traditional, bold look by leveraging the concept of Thinking Ahead (looking at other industries to examine our collective blindspot), Thinking Again (re-examining industry learnings to challenge the status quo) and Thinking Beyond (learning from emerging startups who are disrupting the digital world).


Operators Need a Data Monetisation Superhero. Policy and Charging to the Rescue!

Posted: June 1st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , | 2 Comments »

Comptel MonetizerData is revealing new monetisation opportunities to operators, not only because customer data usage is increasing considerably in the era of over-the-top (OTT) content services and complex data and third-party content bundles, but also because data itself offers new insights into service demand. However, many operators lack the ability to quickly create and deliver the variety of service offerings customers want, and are not agile enough to react to customers’ changing behaviours. On top of that, the instant nature of today’s digital world means there is less time to capitalise on the rising demand for data.

How can digital and communications services providers possibly provide more data services in less time? This looks like a job for the Monetizer.

In a recent Comptel webinar, “More to Monetise with Limited Time,” I was joined by Tinakaran Ramdas, senior product manager at Comptel, to discuss these trends and identify the superhero solution to the massive data usage monetisation challenge.

The reality is, it will take a heroic effort for operators to manage an increasingly complex service environment. Today’s evolving consumer demand changes the way operators package and sell data offerings – consider new OTT content bundles, roaming data packages, device-specific data packages or shared “family” data accounts.More to Monetise Less Time To Do It

At the same time, customers are consuming more data during more hours of the day on a wider range of devices (many on several devices at a time), and exposure to new ways of buying means they now desire personalised, in-the-moment offers and a seamless and convenient purchase experience.

These trends offer a great revenue opportunity for digital and communication service providers, but it still takes far too long for many operators to create and tailor the offerings that appeal to Generation Cloud. An irrelevant, mass-marketed offer backed by a slow and cumbersome buying process won’t receive a second look from these digitally native and demanding buyers.

That’s where our superhero – disruptive policy control and charging – can save the day. Policy is moving beyond simply congestion management – it’s now the money-maker of the data world. In fact, policy has become a strategic tool for operators to create and deploy personalised offers faster than ever.

A superhero needs superpowers, and the next generation of policy and charging control offers several. It needs to be:

  • Energetic – Bringing the speed operators need to configure, launch and profit from new services, with the energy that empowers sales and marketing to seize new opportunities
  • Ergonomic – Delivering a modern user experience with appropriate solutions for both the marketing team and the IT department, bolstered by a common language that simplifies management for both technical and non-technical users
  • Shapeshifting – Enabling the adaptability and elasticity operators need to create new services and solutions for emerging technology as its developed

These capabilities empower digital and communications services providers to cut offer creation time from months to minutes. Operators can also quickly adapt not only to current consumer and technology trends, but also those in the future. So where can you find such superpowers?

In the webinar, Tinakaran offers a full look at Comptel’s own superhero policy and charging solution: the Monetizer. He also highlights a handful of interesting customer stories that demonstrate how previous Monetizer implementations enabled faster time to market and creative data services, while laying the groundwork for the new capabilities introduced by our upcoming PCC5 software release. You can visit our website to learn more about the Monetizer and the CPOD interface behind it.

Get the full story on the challenges of monetising more services in less time, and learn how the Monetizer solution enables the speed operators need to leverage new opportunities. Click to replay our free webinar, “More to Monetise With Less Time.”

Presenters:

Tinakaran Ramdas, Senior Product Manager, Comptel

Tinakaran Ramdas, Senior Product Manager, Comptel

Malla Poikela, Head of Marketing, Intelligent Data, Comptel

Malla Poikela, Head of Marketing, Intelligent Data, Comptel


The Moment of Truth: Identifying Data’s Peak Point of Value

Posted: May 4th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on The Moment of Truth: Identifying Data’s Peak Point of Value

What could be more frustrating than learning you missed a great opportunity simply because you didn’t have the information you needed in time? Many operators today miss such opportunities every minute either because their data is too old to be relevant any longer, or their systems are too slow to react to new data in-the-moment.

Given the nature of buying digital services today, information ages fast. Learning about your customers’ needs and preferences hours or even minutes later may be too late to engage their peak interest. Instead, digital and communications services providers need to be able to capture, process and draw insights from data, so they can act on it at the point of its peak value – the moment it is created.

This issue was at the heart of a recent Comptel webinar, “Data Refinery: The Facility for Intelligent Fast Data.” I was joined by Tero Lindholm, senior product manager at Comptel, to provide an overview of the challenges at hand for operators who want to make the most of data and digital buying opportunities.

Those opportunities are the result of a “perfect storm” in telco. On the demand side, a huge number of devices and apps are flooding the market, all of which are being consumed by Generation Cloud – those digital natives who want services on their terms and who play by their own rules.

On the infrastructure side, advancements in technology – from hyper-fast digital connections via 4G, 5G and fixed broadband, to the ongoing virtualisation of network resources, to the explosion of Big Data – require operators’ immediate attention.

At the convergence of these trends is a need for operators to re-write their existing service approach to match a new telecommunications reality. You need to bring new solutions to market in a new way that captures the interest of Generation Cloud, which is resistant to mass marketing, inflexible agreements and limited contracts. You also need to improve the underlying technology you use to support these new solutions, and ensure that as a digital and communications service provider, you are able to operate at a new speed of business.

One important component to this is data. With the right data in the right context, operators have the power to address consumers’ individual desires and needs.

But, as we suggest in the example above, data is only valuable if it is recent. Given the rapid-fire way Generation Cloud evaluates and purchases digital services, you need solutions that enable you to collect usage data from any source, enrich it with contextual information and analyse it in the moment for instant, real-time application in the form of immediate actions.

All of that needs to happen automatically, supported by embedded, machine-learning capabilities that allow your systems to more intelligently interpret data as time goes on. How do you do it?

Tero explains the Comptel Data Refinery solution in-depth in this webinar, and also highlights four practical cases in which Comptel customers applied the Data Refinery in a way to bring new innovative solutions to market faster than ever before.

Get the full story on the value of Intelligent Fast Data and having a Data Refinery to process it all. Click to replay our free webinar, “Data Refinery: The Facility for Intelligent Fast Data.”

Presenters:

Tero Lindholm, Senior Product Manager, Comptel

Malla Poikela, Head of Marketing, Intelligent Data, Comptel


In Nexterday, There is More to Monetise but Less Time to Do It

Posted: February 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Monetizer™

The always-on, “Generation Cloud” is quickly developing new habits when it comes to data usage. Not only do these digital natives consume more, they use several devices – often at the same time – to access the content and applications they want. They expect it to be available whenever, wherever and on any device – even their car, house or watch might be connected to the Internet.

Fast and omni-device access to data enables people to change the way they work, interact with their friends and families, shop, learn and much more. It helps them improve their quality of life. For these reasons, customers are willing to pay for their data usage. And many of them are willing to pay a premium to enjoy their digital moments faster and with better service quality.

Consumers’ preferred data service buying experience is developing in tandem. “Generation Cloud” expects personalised, in-the-moment offers and a seamless purchase process. When provided, customers are willing to spend more.

Communications service providers (CSPs) need to act now and evolve their marketing and selling to keep in line with how customers are buying today and in the future. By adopting an “Operation Nexterday” approach, operators can anticipate consumers’ needs and maximise their interactions, monetising more in less time than ever before.

Sell something you don’t own – but take control

Today, CSPs’ bundling of third-party content and applications has become almost commonplace; it’s no longer seen as “special.” Selling something you don’t actually own doesn’t mean that you are out of control, though. Tighter integration between CSPs and Over-the-Top (OTT) players, as well as policy control and charging can help you optimise the buying experience and differentiate.

Partnered content or services, for example, are often loosely attached to CSPs’ offers. It might be a discount code passed onto a customer for use when he or she – separately – signs up for Spotify or Netflix. But consider the possibilities if the buying experience and the policy rules for handling and charging for this specific data traffic for this specific customer were tightly integrated.

Complexity is mounting – but…

Tighter integration and context-aware personalisation increase the complexity in policy and charging control. Dynamic changes in user behaviour and the competitive landscape will only add to this complexity, as will the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Just think about the ultimate offer that contains all of the required ingredients such as subscription, rating, Quality of Service (QoS), monthly fees, cost control, roaming data package, advice of charge, applications, VoLTE and much more, all in one bundle – that’s a lot to deal with all at once and to cater to a very diverse audience.

Traditional PCRF and charging do not offer the sufficient flexibility and agility; thus, the legacy setup with yesterday’s offer design tools lack the ability to manage complexity efficiently. The complexity that arises is also the result of network upgrades, adding new capabilities and new elements like IMS and EPC. Due to the ‘patchwork’ architecture, every change takes too much time.

One size fits one

The era of one-size-fits-all campaigns is over. Rather, launching a number of agile, micro-level, long-tail campaigns that are tailored for smaller customer segments is the way forward if CSPs are going to profit. This is because offers, including the technology to enable them like policy and balance management rules and rating, have become much more complex.

Policy and charging rules are no longer stand-alone entities; they are blended. And on top, they will need to seamlessly integrate with predictive analytics and machine learning, to see and tap into patterns that the human mind just can’t. CSPs can then predict customer behaviour. They can predict network quality or outages. They can determine the best offer for each unique customer situation. And their systems’ learning never stops.

… but there’s more to monetise in customers’ digital moments

Data usage monetisation is a huge revenue opportunity, requiring maximum speed and flexibility for the offer design to be successful. System alignment and a contextual understanding of “Generation Cloud” customers are just as vital. In order to capitalise on this, CSPs should natively combine siloed policy control and charging functions. On top of this, they must add historical and anticipated insights on their individual customers and network traffic trends. Operators that can combine these will propel their business to “Nexterday” and be a fierce competitor in the post-digital era.

Comptel will be attending Mobile World Congress, taking place 2-5 March 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Interested in continuing this discussion on perfecting and monetising your customers’ digital moments? Email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to set up a meeting, or visit us in Hall 5, Stand #5G40 to pick up a book about “Operation Nexterday.”