Last month, we told you about Mavis Wong and Chin Kang Tan, also known as Team Dragon, who wowed the judges at Comptel Hackathon 2015 with their innovative mobile retail app. Congratulations are once again in order for Team Dragon, as they took second place and a cash prize in the Next Gen eCommerce track at Ultrahack this month.
Ultrahack is a 48-hour hackathon that rewards prizes worth up to 130,000 euros to the best innovations and offers expert coaching and support from developers at some of the world’s leading companies. It’s one of many hackathons that occur in the weeks leading up to Slush, the biggest startup conference in Europe. Team Dragon first qualified for Ultrahack by winning Comptel Hackathon 2015, where they were rewarded with a first-place prize that included a full two-day pass to Slush.
Team Dragon’s app, called Match & Snap, brings the power of the Internet of Things to the retail shopping experience. The IoT-based technology immediately recognizes Match & Snap app users once they enter a store. Users then receive targeted content to improve their shopping experience, whether it’s suggestions on what to wear or information on in-store sales and bargains. There’s even a social component, so Match & Snap users can share their new outfits with friends and ask for their input.
Comptel is once again proud to offer aspiring developers – including Mavis and Chin Kang – an opportunity to share their inventiveness, creativity and intelligence with the world at major events like Nexterday North and Slush.
We’re also thrilled that Team Dragon follows in the footsteps of other Comptel representatives at recent hackathons. Rami Al-Isawi, a software engineer at Comptel, participated in this year’s Junction hackathon, another side event to Slush. He managed to win awards in two categories: The “Most Destructive Hack” and “Most Useless Hack” tracks.
Congratulations to Rami, Team Dragon, and all other participants in this year’s Comptel, Ultrahack and Junction hackathons. We look forward to seeing the innovations that these bright minds bring to the table next year!
Read more about Nexterday North or click to learn about Comptel’s latest mobile data innovation FWD.
By Mika Korpinen, Senior Vice President, MEA, Comptel Corporation
Saudi Arabia is becoming one of the world’s biggest technology markets, partly on the strength of a tech-savvy population of young professionals. To help sustain this growth, Comptel works alongside the largest digital and communications service provider in the Middle East and North Africa, STC, to educate and empower the next generation of IT talent in Saudi Arabia.
Our long-time customer reached out to Comptel for support launching its brand-new employee training initiative. The four-month “Young IT Talent” programme educates recent Saudi university graduates on telecommunications networks and Comptel technologies, while also providing the skills they need to succeed in future leadership positions within STC.
The development of young Saudis countrywide is an important national issue, and Saudi society greatly values any investments made in the education and betterment of youth. Our joint programme is particularly relevant given the kingdom’s emergence as an IT powerhouse.
The Comptel-STC partnership offers young Saudis the chance to develop business acumen, communication, presentation and writing skills, programming language aptitude, as well as an understanding of key technologies and software best practices. STC turned to Comptel because of our broad IT experience, comprehensive solution portfolio and innovative industry vision.
“Comptel was a natural partner to help us roll out the programme given our long-standing relationship and the important role Comptel technology plays within our business,” said Younes Al Suhaibani, director of IT integration applications at STC.
The program includes four modules over fourth months. Trainees receive on-the-job training in STC’s Riyadh offices, and then travel to Helsinki and Kuala Lumpur to spend a month in each city working within Comptel’s key research and development centres.
From these locales, the graduates are educated on the principles of Operation Nexterday, covering the new digital buying experience, the demands of Generation Cloud, the power of intelligent fast data and the possibilities of new digital service monetisation strategies and ground to cloud service orchestration. They also enjoyed international business mentoring and first-hand exposure to different cultural perspectives.
Ultimately, the program benefitted not only the young trainees, but also STC and Comptel. STC has gained access to new staff that possess an accelerated understanding of technology and communications. And by operating a first-class training program, STC is able to attract the best and brightest young talent from the community. All this helps STC meet present and future business goals to ensure long-term success.
For Comptel, the program supports long-term business goals in the emerging Saudi Arabian market. It also ensures that the next generation of Saudi IT talent is well-educated on the principles of Operation Nexterday and Comptel technologies.
“Our joint programme sets up both new employees and STC for success – this competency development initiative will help ensure software delivery and development best practices, reduce time-to-market, optimise costs and resource utilisation, as well as empower future leadership,” explained Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen, vice president of strategic accounts at Comptel.
Most importantly, the young professionals who passed through the program will understand the way globally leading software development works and gain a new global perspective on business, technology and culture. In an increasingly globalised world where innovation proceeds at a rapid pace, this experience will be invaluable to the future development of Saudi Arabia’s IT market.
In November, Comptel will launch the antiseminar that telcos have been waiting for. Nexterday North will bring together the brightest minds in telco to spur innovation and explore creative ways to reach Generation Cloud and transform their businesses for the better. Register for Nexterday North to reserve your exclusive spot.
By Jussi Ware, Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, and Alliances APAC, Comptel
After 15 years of business in Australia and New Zealand, Comptel celebrated the opening of a new office in Sydney, Australia on 4th December.
Our business and customer base in Australia and New Zealand have grown steadily since we opened our original regional office in 1999. Today, eight of the leading telcos in the Australian and New Zealand market are Comptel customers. In recent years, Comptel has played an important role, in particular, in national broadband initiatives both in Australia, supporting NBN Co, and in New Zealand, supporting Chorus and Enable as part of that country’s Ultra-Fast Broadband programme.
The new office celebrates our continued commitment to support communications service providers and other telco industry players in Australia and New Zealand.
It was a pleasure to host a party to reinforce this and Comptel’s success in this market. Guests included local customers and partners such as NBNCo, Tech Mahindra, Alcatel-Lucent and Pactera. Representatives from Finpro, Team Finland and the Finland-Australia Chamber of Commerce also brought some Finnish flavor to the party.
Mr. Pasi Patokallio, Ambassador of Finland for Australia and New Zealand, gave the welcome address followed by comments from Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka.
We are constantly looking for opportunities to add value and provide local support and relevant solutions to our customers around the globe. The new Sydney office will allow Comptel to further grow within the Australian and New Zealand telco markets, while strengthening our ability to serve customers in this part of the world.
It’s the time of year when businesses in every industry are starting to think about what lies ahead. For the telecommunications industry, the past few years have been rocked by change in both consumer habits and technology… and 2014 looks like it won’t be any different.
From debates about national regulations to the increasing influence of OTT providers on the mobile landscape, next year is sure to be a decisive one for many communications service providers. That’s why Comptel decided to take a look at some of the most important developments for telcos and put them together on one page.
Here are five mobile trends for telcos to watch in 2014:
Want to learn more about what’s on the minds of telecommunications providers? Download our full Comptel User Group APAC Survey findings about Big Data, fulfillment and more. Download the Full Survey
Most analysts agree that widespread 4G deployment is right around the corner in Taiwan. The nation has always been a prominent mobile player in the telecommunications market, especially with initiatives like the Mobile Taiwan program, which have emphasized wireless access for all Taiwanese citizens, whether they’re in New Taipei City or a village in the mountains.
According to 4G360, the region’s communications service providers (CSPs) are looking to enter the 4G market early next year. With the infrastructure in place, this could open a world of new opportunities, especially considering the sheer amount of data being exchanged across networks in Taiwan already.
One new study from InMobi highlights this phenomenon in detail. The research shows that, on average, mobile users in Taiwan spend six hours consuming media each day. More than a quarter (27 percent) of that time is spent on a mobile device, making it the number two channel for media consumption after desktops and laptops and actually placing it ahead of television. And even when they are watching TV, 20 percent of Taiwanese users surveyed said they look at their mobile phones at the same time.
So what does this all mean for CSPs in Taiwan? Mostly, it shows that it’s time to look at their customer relationships in a whole new way.
An Exponential Experience
Recently, Digitimes asked the three largest CSPs in Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom (CHT), Taiwan Mobile (TWM) and Far EasTone (FET), about their thoughts on the future – especially when it comes to 4G. The consensus was that competition would be stiff. When it comes to 4G, CSPs won’t just be battling for market share with traditional operators, there will be an intensifying contest between CSPs and OTT providers like Google, Facebook and the services available from the iTunes App Store.
“Unlike 3G, which is positioned mainly as an access [point] to the Internet, telecom operators have to think of 4G as a platform to provide various application services,” said FET President Yvonne Li. “In this respect, FET stresses establishment of close cooperation [and] relation[ships] with subscribers.”
She added that, in the competition against OTT providers, CSPs won’t win in the race to build the best product or technology. Instead, they should strive for superior subscriber relationships and retail channels.
Improving subscriber relationships means paying closer attention to what customers want and need from CSPs. As VP of Research Monica Zlotogorski recently wrote on Telesperience, that hasn’t historically been the strongest point for telecom operators.
FET has taken strides to improve the customer experience already, investing in technology that allows for more intelligent mediation, charging and fulfillment.
More Media, More Problems
The revelations about Taiwanese mobile media usage should strike a chord among CSPs. Usually, telcos are seen as obstacles to getting the media the user wants – whether the connection is slow, there’s a limit on a data plan, or Wi-Fi is hard to find.
A lot of this has started to change within the past few years because of Big Data analytics tools, which can segment customers by mobile usage and allow CSPs to customise different marketing offers and networks accordingly. As 4G becomes widespread and media becomes even more accessible than before, optimising the customer experience will be a crucial strategy for telcos that are looking to stay ahead of OTT providers. By becoming a strategic and intelligent service enabler, CSPs can become an active and integral proponent of a customers’ needs, making sure the journey is as smooth as possible, from start to finish.
Last week, Comptel accompanied Finpro on a trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. CEO Juhani Hintikka and country director Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen took part in the delegation, which was again led by Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori and consisted of executives and employees from 17 other Finnish companies. The trip included meetings with government officials and business sessions related to not just information and communications technology (ICT) but also education, energy efficiency and medical care.
Comptel has joined a number of Finpro trips in recent months; most recently, our team travelled to Indonesia. We welcomed the opportunity to participate in this particular delegation, as we already have a strong presence in Saudi Arabia. Comptel has built long-term business relationships with several communications service providers (CSPs) – including market leader Saudi Telecom Company (STC).
Comptel had many interesting discussions about the future of the industry during our business meetings. The country’s population of nearly 30 million has an extremely high mobile penetration of 176 percent, and about 60 to 70 percent are under the age of 30. That’s opened up significant service innovation and revenue opportunities for Saudi CSPs – but it’s come with its fair share of challenges, too. As the mobile market continues to mature, and as demand for connectivity continues to increase, operators must look to improve its approaches to customer experience and service quality management in order to effectively differentiate from competitors and grow their businesses. According the Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission, the substantial growth potential is in the increased demand for broadband services, especially for the fibre-optic network (FTTx) services.
Comptel was glad to have the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia with Finpro – and looks forward to embarking on future trips to further build our relationships with CSPs and their local economies.
This week, there were a number of new insights across the telco industry. At Comptel, we’ve been keeping track of the ones that have really caught our eye. Here are three interesting articles that have come out recently:
A panel of experts was asked by West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) how they would invest $100 million to improve Internet access in Africa, where connectivity is currently at the lowest rate in the world. Developing Telecoms’ editor James Barton believes that installing new 4G/LTE networks would create the best return on investment. He added that once people in Africa start accessing next-generation mobile networks, new competitive markets can open and, in turn, make Internet access more affordable.
Earlier this year, we wrote about the upcoming boom in mobile devices in Africa. By 2016, it is forecast that there will be more than one billion phones across the continent. The $100 million investment proposed by WIOCC may be hypothetical right now, but the need for 4G/LTE in the continent is a reality.
Communications service providers (CSPs) are turning to Big Data analytics tools to cope with the constant changes in technology and consumer behavior. Through the use of these solutions, they can better adapt to new customer trends and prevent churn. CSPs, in particular, deal with a heavy amount of data, because of the high volume of calls, texts and data usage traveling across their networks each day. All of that information can be harnessed to create more targeted marketing offers, support better business planning and drive innovative infrastructure deployments.
Ulla Koivukoski argues that Big Data could potentially bridge silos across an organisation, too. By working with CTOs and CIOs, CMOs can create personalised campaigns by drawing contextual intelligence out of the network, customer and other data available to them. Consequently, silos can be overcome, and CSP executives can work toward the common goal of enhancing the customer experience.
A recent study by Ovum found that 90 percent of CSPs and other businesses are at risk of being irrelevant to their customers in the near future. Because of organisational silos and slow decision cycles, dynamic customer responsiveness is lacking. The findings show the need to create a fluid customer process that ensures each individual receives personalised attention in a timely manner. Building relationships with customers and earning their trust can help organisations remain relevant, and increase overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Comptel recently hosted a focus group in Bangkok, Thailand, with attendees from fourteen communications service providers (CSPs) across ten different APAC countries. A multitude of topics were covered during the sessions, but the main thing on everyone’s mind seemed to be Big Data and analytics.
We surveyed attendees in the weeks leading up to our event—and the results seemed to reflect the same trends. With twenty-five respondents, 79 percent of which came from the Southeast Asia region, we got a sense of the issues facing CSPs today. We asked what IT, marketing and R&D leaders were currently focusing on, and one way or the other, it always seemed to come back to Big Data and analytics.
Here’s what our survey revealed:
1. Nearly three-quarters of CSPs say Big Data and analytics will have a big impact on their organizations
Whether CSPs are trying to better target customers or increase operational efficiency, it’s understood that they could benefit from Big Data. Although 71 percent agreed that Big Data and analytics will have a significant effect on their businesses going forward, only 58 percent said that Big Data was being used effectively.
Many CSPs could be in the same place as other businesses – data is being collected, but not being properly leveraged. New systems, processes and strategies need to be considered to truly turn all of that information into intelligence and the right actions. Only 16 percent of CSPs said that they had begun a Big Data initiative.
2. Almost nine out of ten CSPs believe integrating IT with marketing results in richer customer engagement
By breaking through the silos between those teams, CSPs can radically improve customer service, increase efficiency, ensure smart operations and realise many other business benefits.
3. 54 percent of CSPs say that their organization is undergoing changes
The landscape for CSPs is shifting, so it’s no surprise that more than half of survey respondents said that their businesses were undergoing some kind of change. A third said that their organizations had launched LTE services, many within the past six months, while 46 percent said that they were in the process of consolidating their OSS/BSS systems.
The ongoing changes may signal a search for more efficiency. Just 58 percent of respondents said that their networks and operations were efficient. A third said that the processes were “somewhat” efficient, and 8 percent said they were “inefficient.”
The Promise of Big Data and Analytics
One way or another, these three trends showcase the need for CSPs to find the right platforms to streamline their operations and bring marketing and IT together to reach the next level. Big Data and analytics are the key to this kind of success, but only if all of the pieces are in place and effectively working together.
We have made 11 loans – some bigger, some smaller, divided into nine countries across the world. Four of our original loans have been fully paid, and we have found new projects in new countries to fund since then.
Here are two recent recipients of Comptel’s Kiva loans:
Tatyana from Ukraine sells various retail goods at one of the markets in Pavlograd, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine. She has her own retail outlet, located in the food rows of the market. Tatyana has been in this business for 16 years.
Tatyana needed a small loan to purchase bags, jars, lids and other household goods for canning berries, fruits and vegetables. Summer is the season for canning for many people in Ukraine. Many Ukrainians love dachas and grow their vegetables on small land plots, and then can fruits and vegetables to prepare for the winter. Tatyana knows about this Ukrainian tradition and wants to get ready for the busy season and increased demand.
Phuong is an entrepreneur who lives with her family in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Phuong earns an income by running a business of producing and selling shoes. She started this business fifteen years ago.
Phuong wanted to take a loan to expand her current business. With the loan, she bought leather materials and accessories for producing a greater variety and quantity of shoes.
We invite you to take part in Comptel’s team and help us provide financial services to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. By helping people around the world build businesses, we can do our part to help communities around the world grow stronger and more vibrant.
As usual, there’s been a lot going on in the telco industry these days. Comptel wants to bring you the best, most interesting stories and studies we’ve found, so communications service providers (CSPs) can stay on track.
Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed think that the main, long-term driver is generating new business models. Informa Telecoms & Media has released a new survey of telecom operators which shows that Big Data has the potential to create great opportunities for businesses in the future. The respondents also agreed that Big Data’s short-term driver is solving internal challenges.
Forty-eight percent of operators said that they have Big Data solutions implemented already. On average, they spend ten percent of their IT budgets on Big Data, and this is expected to increase to twenty-three percent within the next five years. However, a major barrier that continues to be an issue is that operators still lack a business proposition and a trained team to handle the implementation.
Comptel’s own Matti Aksela recently spoke to Telecom Asia on this latter issue: “Vendors operating in this space can have a very skilled team behind their analytics solutions, and knowledge on integration and decision-making based on the analytics, and can quickly achieve benefits for CSPs. It may be even easier to ‘tear down the silos’ coming from the outside than just working internally.” Read the full article on whether telecom operators should manage analytics in-house or outsource it here.
CSPs have been using traditional analytics tools to help review data, analyse it and report it. However, new analytics applications can be deployed and configured specifically for a CSP’s use case, automating the best practices learned throughout the industry while eliminating the need for scarce data scientists to help segment and manage the data.
The real challenge in deploying a new analytics solution is infrastructure. CSPs must be flexible about changes in operations, so the business can accommodate new tools into the workflow Infrastructures are usually created with a specific use case in mind, but when an application is on top of the old infrastructure, there’s always the risk of compatibility. Lastly, CSPs will have to depend on vendors for updates to the application. Analytics applications are beneficial for CSPs, but operators must have the means to implement a new system of data analytics for the analytics applications to be successful.
Matti Aksela spoke with Big Data Republic in June about Big Data’s ability to reduce churn through advanced, predictive analytics tools. Robi Axiata experienced the results first-hand – once the factors of churn were identified, strategies could be taken to predict and eliminate them in the future.
With Big Data helping CSPs identify the granular aspects of the customer experience and customer engagement, it’s easier to see where in the organisation improvement is needed. While customer experience represents the sum of what a customer has experienced at a given time, engagement represents the sum of the customer’s experiences over time. For the customer experience to be improved, specific departments can be targeted and strategies can be recalibrated. Customer engagement, however, needs an enterprise-wise approach to be improved.
A customer’s lifetime value must be determined and closely nurtured by the entire organisation to ensure that engagement is positive and, as Ulla Koivukoski wrote, CSPs can uncover new revenue streams and grow businesses by focusing on engagement. Predictive analytics can play a major role in fostering departmental collaboration and, in turn, delivering high-quality customer experiences.