3 Takeaways about SDN / NFV from TM Forum Live!

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , | No Comments »

At the beginning of June, Comptel attended TM Forum Live! in Nice, France. The emphasis in the keynote sessions was building a better customer experience, but there was an alternate, overarching topic on the show floor: software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV).

In fact, most of the conference attendees believed that infrastructure virtualisation is eventually inevitable for all telcos and the adoption of SDN / NFV was an effective way for communications service providers (CSPs) to modernise their systems, although purely virtualised environments are still years away. SDN and NFV will become integral to controlling and simplifying networks, as well as creating agile, quick-to-market services. With these technologies, operators can more easily and more economically manage the end-to-end orchestration of complex services deployed across virtualised, multi-vendor networks.

However, as new SDN / NFV deployments are introduced, they will be required to work alongside legacy networks for several years to come, requiring OSS/BSS layers to support hybrid architectures of a traditional non-virtualised and the newer virtualised approach to networking.

This potentially means that in the earlier stages of adoption, there may be an increased level of complexity, rather than a reduction. That means operators need to take a long look at their current systems and decide on a transformative or supplemental approach to modernisation, creating a future-proof environment or adding a new OSS stack for the new technology.

Comptel, focusing on the future-proof concept, recently partnered with Nakina Systems to capitalise on these possibilities. TM Forum Live! served to show that many industry leaders are already thinking about the opportunities, too. Here are three trends we noticed in Nice concerning SDN and NFV:

1. NFV is on Everyone’s Minds.

During the event, Aileen Smith, vice president of organisational transformation at TM Forum, spoke with RCR Wireless News about SDN / NFV in detail. She explained that NFV in particular was “the hottest topic at the show.” She added that when TM Forum ran a pre-conference workshop about NFV, more than 200 people attended.

At the conference, Smith said she saw a lot of attendees preparing and discussing NFV deployment. Operators and vendors collaborated in focused, agile groups, brainstorming strategies for virtualisation.

2. NFV and SDN are Putting Hardware in the Background.

In one presentation, a speaker noted that NFV technology allows CSPs to steer traffic through both physical and virtual network services. Rather than orchestrating and managing network functions across hardware appliances, many orchestrations will take place on virtual infrastructure. Another presentation highlighted how Time Warner Cable is rolling out NFV in a way that supersedes physical machines in favour of a virtual environment.

With NFV and SDN deployments, CSPs will put more emphasis on virtual software environments and less emphasis on physical appliances. Separating the data plane from the control plane presents an unprecedented opportunity to transfer a coherent control of the intelligent decisions taken in the network from distributed expensive specialised hardware to commodity hardware allowing CSPs to decrease time-to-market and significantly cut operational costs. Consequently, the virtualisation layer deployed across network, storage and computing hardware will usher in a new era of business agility, applications and responsiveness.

3. NFV and SDN Can’t Happen in a Vacuum.

At TM Forum Live!, Comptel decided to demonstrate exactly how NFV and an SDN environment can be orchestrated. Through the Comptel fulfillment platform, we can create a catalog-driven and modernised order orchestration environment across SDN/NFV networks as well as legacy networks.

The demonstration was driven from an integrated Salesforce front-office user interface, namely the Service Order Validator application – that makes relational management of customers, their services and the network – easier than ever before. The application combines Salesforce CRM functionality with back-office orchestration from Comptel Fulfillment, incorporating service catalog, order management, logical inventory, provisioning and activation to deploy a true end-to-end service complete with virtualised firewalls and load balancing functions as examples of simple VNF (virtualised network function) instantiations.

Virtual environments offer exciting possibilities, but consideration has to be made for solutions that bridge the gap between legacy and SDN/NFV, allowing CSPs to take full advantage of those possibilities. This is all the more important, as legacy equipment becomes incrementally replaced with commoditised and virtualised infrastructure. Much traditional network hardware will stay in place during the transition, leading to interim hybrid infrastructure that is both virtual and physical – with complex relationships.

OSS/BSS technology will play an exciting role in this evolution – the successful platforms will have to be able to orchestrate network virtualisation and control across multiple layers. Despite the euphoria around it, CSPs cannot focus exclusively on SDN and NFV – as front-end aspects of the business change, companies have to think about how services are created, delivered and consumed at every point in the service lifecycle.

Watch Comptel’s Steve Hateley discuss this trend in more detail:


TM Forum Live: Your Greatest Competitor is Your Customer’s Future Expectation

Posted: June 16th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Aside from the excitement around network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), TM Forum Live! 2014 had another undeniable theme: the customer experience. Among the keynote speeches and conferences, the idea that customers were in control of the industry’s destiny was everywhere.

Perhaps the person that summed up the situation most eloquently was Michael Matthews, chairman of Archer Mobile, who told communications service providers (CSPs), “Your greatest competitor is your customer’s future expectation.”

The telecommunications industry doesn’t just have to adjust to the data needs and bandwidth requirements of consumers today. In fact, in addition to the clear need for intelligent data monetisation strategies, CSPs have to anticipate what customers will expect tomorrow – and that will mean overhauling their back-office systems, breaking down organisational silos and taking a serious look at advanced and predictive analytics. It could also mean rethinking how mobile data is monetised.

Flipping the Model Upside-Down

Another story that was told during the conference was of a customer experience gone wrong. When a customer had a problem with the cable bill and wasn’t able to pay it, he tried to get in touch with his Internet service provider (ISP). But without the number of the ISP, that wasn’t possible.

That model is operator-centric, not customer-centric– today, CSPs will need to reconsider how to build business around an improved and engaging customer experience. Another cautionary tale told at TM Forum Live! was how, after discovering that customers generally churned after two years, a CSP stopped investing in services for customers after one year.

As mobile growth slows in maturing markets, this short-sighted formula is only going to hurt CSPs. To build loyalty, CSPs have to continue to build business by creating and continually supporting memorable customer experiences.

As Matthews explained, new business is going to come from anticipating customer needs. That will be dependent on understanding what customers want and when they want it. One speaker described how people now “live in a feed.” They’re constantly streaming data from their phones. To fit in, CSPs have to build services that drop into the feed and match their needs.

LTE is already rolling out to various markets and VoLTE/IMS is starting to emerge in some marketplaces as well. With 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) barreling down on us, those needs are only going to get more complex.

The Crystal Ball

Learning what kinds of service offerings will engage customers will require contextual intelligence at different—and every—customer touch point. CSPs must be able to parse through their data, and CIOs, CTOs and CMOs must work together to make the most of that knowledge. With the right technology, CSPs will finally be able to learn how customers are interacting with networks, service and their peers, and better target and engage them.

The right tools and the right team can make a world of difference, and for CSPs, that may mean the start of a new era that puts excellent customer experience and loyalty at the forefront, leading to more sustainable and innovative revenue streams.


Want to learn more about building a better customer experience? Download “10 more methods to monetise mobile data,” written by consulting firm tefficient, an international efficiency specialist for telecom operators and suppliers & sponsored by Comptel.
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What’s Next in the Evolution of Policy Control & Charging?

Posted: May 29th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Data usage is skyrocketing. Consider Cisco’s study at the beginning of this year, which found that global mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013, reaching 1.5 exabytes per month. Mobile video traffic reached 43 percent, and average smartphone usage grew 50 percent in 2013. By 2018, it is even expected that there will be more than 10 billion mobile-connected devices. No surprise there – 1 billion smartphones shipped in 2013, which was more than half of all mobile phones shipped last year.

Not only that, the faster the mobile device, the more data customers use. A study from JDSU discovered that subscribers with the iPhone 5s use 7x as much data as users with the iPhone 3G. Apps contribute to data consumption, too – 2013 saw a 115 percent year-over-year increase in app use and that number continues to rise. As devices and apps get more sophisticated and data-heavy, bandwidth requirements will keep growing explosively.

That’s where more intelligent policy control and charging is starting to shine. In April, Comptel attended the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference in Berlin– it was obvious there that the industry was in agreement: without a way to quickly price, deliver and optimize innovative data packages, communications service providers (CSPs) will be unable to respond to the diverse needs of today’s customers and tomorrow’s prospects.

A New Ecosystem

There are currently a lot of questions about how to handle different types of data traffic. At the conference, Keith Breed, the research director of the Tariff Consultancy, talked about the stark differences between data pricing packages in different countries and wondered if they could be sustainable.

New investments such as fibre and LTE, along with the impact of OTT providers on traditional sources of revenue, are going to complicate how data is priced. That’s introduced major questions when it comes to traffic management. In the U.S., for example, there’s an ongoing debate about net neutrality. Do CSPs have the right to charge the websites that are using more bandwidth across the network? Or is the Internet a public utility? Breed advocated for a new ecosystem where all data traffic is treated equally.

As business and consumer bandwidth needs change, policy does, too. Adaptability is going to be key for rolling out innovative offers and delivering the appropriate quality of service levels to customers. Peter Dykes, senior analyst at Informa, explained that, in order to adapt quickly, CSPs will need a way to create and launch new data bundles as soon as a customer’s behaviour changes. He suggested that, in the coming years, the closer integration of policy and charging will help make this a reality.

As one speaker noted, online services will play a leading role in this space, too. VoIP, VoLTE, video, gaming and cloud applications will make it critical for CSPs to be able to manage policy dynamically. Changes are coming, and to maintain a competitive advantage, CSPs have to move toward an offer-catalog driven policy and charging control solution that helps deliver, customise and optimise data services.

A Data Debate

At the heart of the debate is how far CSPs should go in managing data usage. Comptel’s Steve Hateley recently talked about how 4K movies will require 45 to 60 gigs of bandwidth, and Fredrik Jungermann of tefficient emphasized that customers should be notified and proactively provided with solutions when hitting their data caps.

The exponential increase in data over the coming years means that having the right offer-catalog driven policy and charging control solutions, particularly one that can be layered with predictive analytics and machine learning capabilities, is going to be more important than ever. Businesses might have a data plan that only streams videos for conferences and uses landlines for voice. Consumers might watch movies or they may only text. Either way, CSPs will need a way to personalise offers in real-time to create new sources of revenue.

All of this was highlighted at the recent Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference. At the end of the day, it was clear that the secret to unlocking new opportunities is to engage individual customers – at the right time and in the right way with the data services they desire.

Want to learn more about the changing landscape of data? Meet up with Comptel at TM Forum Live! in Nice to get a copy of our new whitepaper, “10 more methods to monetise mobile data,” which was written by consulting firm tefficient (www.tefficient.com), an international efficiency specialist for telecom operators and suppliers, and sponsored by Comptel.


Comptel Opens New Office in Noida, India

Posted: May 8th, 2014 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Events, News | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This is a guest post from Comptel’s Manish Minocha.

After many months of anticipation, our new office in Noida (Delhi NCR), India officially opened its doors yesterday! We were pleased to share this milestone with some of our customers in an inauguration ceremony – the Finnish ambassador to India, His Excellency Mr. Aapo Pölhö, even joined us for the celebration.

Comptel launched its India operations back in 1996, so we could build closer relationships with the region’s communications service providers (CSPs). Our business footprint has grown substantially since then, with the likes of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Tata Teleservices deploying our OSS/BSS solutions. Our software now reaches nearly half of the country’s population (569 million subscribers)!

“For many years, India has been a key market for Comptel,” said our CEO Juhani Hintikka. “This new office reaffirms our commitment to helping our CSP customers transform their operations, innovate and deliver new offerings and grow their businesses. We are happy to play a key role in shaping the region’s telco market.”

Over the past 18 years, Comptel has also formed strong partnerships with global and local system integrators, such as IBM, TCS and Tech Mahindra, to enable us to further deliver high-quality OSS/BSS solutions that address the business and operational requirements of CSPs in India and worldwide.

“Since Comptel established its India presence, we have grown our team significantly, with further expansion still to come,” said Arun Aggarwal, president of Comptel South Asia. “With the growth of big data and interest in analytics to improve customer engagement and all aspects of CSPs’ technical and commercial processes, along with our strong base of integration partners, the future looks bright for Comptel in India.”


Through the new office, we hope to tap into the wealth of talented individuals in the region, to also continue to strengthen Comptel’s global services and support business and help operators ‘make their data beautiful.’ Stay tuned for more exciting things to unfold from the new office in Noida and Comptel.


VoLTE, NFV/SDN and OTT Are All Stars at Policy Control Conference 2014

Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Earlier this month, Comptel had the privilege of attending the Policy Control and Data Pricing 2014 conference in Berlin.

Jyrki Berg, vice president of products and solutions, and Tinakaran Ramdas, Comptel Policy and Charging Control product manager (pictured left), joined me at the expo, which focused on how communications service providers (CSPs) and telecommunications vendors are adapting to the industry’s constantly changing technology and competition.

The presentations and speeches covered a broad range of themes including over-the-top (OTT) business models, network function virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN), voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services, policy and charging integration and, of course, data pricing.

Here’s what industry thought leaders had to say about each topic.

The OTT Dilemma

As can be expected, one of the major issues CSPs discussed had to do with OTT providers, from Skype to WhatsApp… and every messaging and voice service in between. Lucy Lombardi, the senior vice president of industry relations for Telecom Italia, had some news to share: telcos need to find new ways to innovate when it comes to battling OTT providers for market share.

While it’s challenging for CPSs to compete with the agility of OTT providers when it comes to time-to-market, Lombardi suggested that CSPs focus on customer experience and strategically partner with OTT providers when local services are needed, a higher quality of service (QoS) is desired or customers want more security. OTT providers might be able to adjust and adapt faster than telcos, but there are still plenty of opportunities for CSPs that pursue customer-centric innovation.

NFV & SDN: One Policy to Rule Them All

The NFV / SDN discussions all came back to policy control and traffic management. The consensus at the conference was that the full potential of NFV / SDN can only be reached if systems can dynamically prioritise traffic. The right policy, however, can result in big savings when implemented.

“Policy is the brain,” one speaker told attendees, “but rules engines and current engines are changing a lot from [their] current forms.”

He added that the right deployment of NFV can improve service agility and flexibility, and even make CSPs look a little more like web companies, offering the faster service roll-outs of OTT providers.

VoLTE – A Game Changer

One speaker said that VoLTE is going to be a “game changer” for policy control. He reminded attendees that voice is still a critical revenue generator, with 70 percent of revenues – about $600 billion – coming from voice services. And that’s all at risk from OTT providers.

Cost reduction is a big draw of VoLTE services. The speaker added that, when voice services are run through LTE, twice as many voice calls can run through the same spectrum. Some telcos are already working to deploy VoLTE for customers – about 10 percent have some form of VoLTE service in place, and the GSMA expects 20 more VoLTE deployments this year alone.

When telcos move voice to LTE, policy and service opportunities grow wildly. Scalability and performance improve, and CSPs can potentially experiment by separating data and voice into different packages.

The Data Debacle

When it came to pricing, the conference discussed one thing in particular: data. Keith Breed, the research director of the Tariff Consultancy, wondered aloud whether the vast differences in data pricing could be sustainable. In Europe, data had a relatively low price, whereas in North America, it was much higher. While the market can influence pricing, competition counts – and with less flexible pricing toward data, more OTT providers will proliferate.

Yet there was another data-related topic to be covered, too: net neutrality. There’s a debate within the European Union (EU) about how the Internet ecosystem is changing; at the core of that debate is what role CSPs should play in connecting people. Should all traffic be created equally? How should infrastructure be built to cope with rising demands?

Cisco estimates data growth in 2013 climbed by 57 percent in Western Europe and by 99 percent in Eastern and Central Europe. That kind of demand will change both policy control and data pricing, so it’s up to CSPs to think about how to adapt to new infrastructure demands.

There were many more great presentations and thought-provoking speeches at the Policy Control and Data Pricing in Berlin.
We will cover some in detail in the upcoming weeks, so check back for more!


Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

- Executive strategies for 2014

- Barriers to integration

- Technology priorities

- Attitudes toward data & planning

Download


We’re Exhibiting at Policy Control and Data Pricing 2014

Posted: March 31st, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Comptel is excited to share that we’ll be exhibiting at the upcoming Policy Control and Data Pricing 2014 conference, taking place 8-9 April at the Radisson Blu hotel in Berlin.

This is the fourth year of the conference, which has become a key event for the global telco industry.

As policy continues to evolve into a multi-faceted tool for traffic management, revenue generation and much more, it’s becoming increasingly important to build a network that can handle the rapid growth of user data.

We’ll be there to meet with our customers and others interested in learning about our analytics-enhanced Comptel Policy and Charging Control offering. Our unique approach natively integrates policy control and charging in a modern, offer-driven service creation environment, Charging Policy Offer Design (CPOD), allowing for the fast introduction of new services. This ultimately helps communications service providers become more responsive to customer needs, which is critical in an increasingly mobile and context-driven world.

If you’re attending the conference, and would like to find out why we think policy control needs a ‘SPARK’ today, please come stop by our booth!


Millions of Customers Will Reach Their Data Cap Every Month. Have You Considered Their Customer Experience?

Posted: March 10th, 2014 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

By Fredrik Jungermann, Founder and Managing Director, tefficient

During the last two years, mobile operators in mature markets have been able to shift from monetisation based on the number of minutes and SMSs (where demand at best is stable) to monetisation based solely on the data volume (where demand is growing exponentially).

But this has changed the customer experience. Because of the growth in data usage, more and more customers face the situation in which they run out of data before the end of the month. Some telcos – for example, in the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway – have decided to offer service packages that charge overage fees, so the price of that extra megabyte can suddenly be 100 times higher. This is a problem, because it’s the high value, high usage customers who are penalised most.

In most countries, telcos are blocking access or throttling speed, instead of charging overage fees. Blocking access when a cap is reached is possibly leading to higher upsell probability, but there’s a good chance that this strategy can result in a poor customer experience, too.  To be totally cut off can lead to irritation and a decision to “wait out the month” while relying solely on Wi-Fi. The customer may even want to top up, but is choosing to wait until he/she is in a better location or has access to a PC.

To balance customer experience with upsell probability, throttling represents a more subtle way to indicate that a customer has used up the quota and should consider a top-up or upgrade. But the real differentiator is how an operator notifies customers about their options.

Simplicity Key to Upsell Effectiveness

The way a communications service provider notifies a customer about service packages is integral to his/her experience. Many mobile operators choose to send customers an SMS when the data cap is about to be reached. This SMS should inform the customer what he/she can do to remedy the situation, too. Surprisingly, not all operators have the functionality that allows customers to simply reply to that SMS to top up. Some operators instead instruct the customer to click on a web link or log in via a self-serve tool. If the customer is in transit, this might not be feasible.

A link or next-step includes a number of other hurdles, too. Maybe the customer feels that the screen of the smartphone is too small to display web content. Maybe he or she is wary when it comes to clicking links in general or forgets the necessary log-in credentials. An offer that requires a few more steps guarantees there will be no immediate upsell – and any sales person knows that the propensity to buy declines quickly with time and additional processes.

Very few operators report on their data upsell effectiveness. There’s one exception: Tele2, a Swedish operator, reported that 58 percent of their customers who reached their cap during Q3 bought more data. This is world-class upsell effectiveness. Is it because Tele2 has designed the most beautiful web interface for upgrading and top up? No, it’s because the business created a super-simple customer experience: Reply to the notification SMS with “200” if you want to buy an additional 200 MB of data, with “500” for 500 MB, with “1” for 1 GB and with “3” for 3 GB. In addition, Tele2 supports all other upgrade and upsell channels: web (log-in self-serve but also non-log-in form), app and call-in.

Tele2 has other strengths: The 200 MB top-up increment is much smaller than some competitors, starting at 1 GB. The likelihood of a customer buying 1 GB of data – the average monthly smartphone consumption in Sweden – at the last day of the month is very low; make the increment small, and you overcome this issue.

Another factor behind the figure is that the top-up service package is designed to be lower than the base service packages. High usage customers are thereby incentivised – not penalised. A third factor is that the price per MB falls with the size of the increment. Other operators charge as much per gigabyte regardless of if you buy one or ten.

Tele2 shows that to deliver a great customer experience when it comes to cap notification and data upsell, operators should make it transparent and easy to buy regardless of location, context and wallet. Operators will then maximize the upsell propensity and reap the additional revenue benefits.

Personalised Service, Great Experience

Customer experience is going to become the defining differentiator for operators as services get commoditised and markets get crowded. This all starts with creating special kinds of service offerings for different audiences. Businesses that prove to be agile and responsive to customer needs when a new service package is needed will reap the rewards of enhanced personalisation. While the shift from SMS and voice revenues to data is ending, the shift to how to best price data to meet customer needs is just beginning.

Comptel will host its Focus Group 2014 meeting 25–26 March at the Långvik Congress Wellness Hotel, just outside of Helsinki, Finland. Fredrik will moderate one of the event’s panel discussions, “How to Best Launch – and Profitably Increase Adoption of – 4G LTE and Fiber.”


Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

- Executive strategies for 2014

- Barriers to integration

- Technology priorities

- Attitudes toward data & planning

Download


What Exactly Happened at Mobile World Congress Last Week?

Posted: March 4th, 2014 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Mobile World Congress 2014 broke all the records of the previous year. With more than 85,000 visitors and 1,800 exhibiting companies in Barcelona, the event saw quite a bit of fanfare. Comptel was at MWC all week and we enjoyed being right in the middle of the action.

From Big Data to smartphones, connected cars to connected refrigerators, Mobile World Congress 2014 showed us a glimpse of what we can expect this year… and next year and the year after that. As a final recap, we decided to comb Twitter and see what topics had caused the most excitement.


Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

- Executive strategies for 2014

- Barriers to integration

- Technology priorities

- Attitudes toward data & planning

Download


Mobile World Congress Day 3: The Turning Point for Telco Networks

Posted: February 28th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , | No Comments »

The third day of Mobile World Congress was defined by the keynote session about Big Data and mobile, but the underlying theme was network infrastructure. Three CEOs in the space touched on the upcoming evolution of networks: Joe Tucci of EMC, Michael Combes of Alcatel-Lucent and Patrick Gelsinger of VMware.

The consensus was that mobile devices and the dramatic, sweeping changes in traffic requirements are going to fundamentally change the structure, dynamics and functions of networks around the world.

“I believe we are just at the beginning,” said Combes.  He emphasized the importance of a structural change to build networks for the customer habits of tomorrow. “We clearly have to see the network differently to deliver the scale and elasticity required for new applications.”

Networks, in Context

Combes charged that the whole telecommunications industry is at a turning point that started about five years ago, when an increasing number of mobile devices entered the scene. He estimates that there will be a 440 percent increase in cloud and datacenter traffic between 2012 and 2017, but many communications service providers (CSPs) are still building networks with a legacy footprint.

Combes highlighted the debate taking place about the need for more intelligent, faster networks and how networks and the cloud are becoming more integrated. He touched on how this is changing the dynamic of the industry, because network operators will be deploying across a unified cloud platform and datacenters will be shared by multiple tenants.

“In Europe, there still aren’t enough investments in network and IT,” he said. “[CSPs] have no other way but to compete on price, as opposed to innovation.” He believes that networks must adapt to user needs and become user-aware.

Comptel’s vision of contextual intelligence at every touchpoint plays right into this line of thinking.

Infrastructure 2.0

Joe Tucci, the CEO of EMC, discussed the phenomenon as well.

“What’s happening is IT is bleeding into networks and vice versa,” he explained. “We call it the 3rd grade platform of IT.” He added that developers will rule in the future. They will look for platforms that help them create new and innovative solutions. And a lot of those platforms will be in the cloud.

Patrick Gelsinger of VMware picked up the conversation by explaining how virtualisation is bringing efficiency and savings to networks that used to rely upon physical servers. He added that VMware has actually virtualised 70 percent of the company’s own servers.

Comptel has been very excited about the potential held in software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV). If the expected benefits of lightning fast speed, agility and real-time responsiveness are realised, these new networks will empower CSPs to deliver better, more personalised customer experiences than ever before. It was great to hear that other companies in the space are working toward similar goals.

The telecommunications industry is indeed at a turning point and with the right infrastructure, CSPs will be able to meet both customer and business goals in new and creative ways.


Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

- Executive strategies for 2014

- Barriers to integration

- Technology priorities

- Attitudes toward data & planning

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Mobile World Congress Day 2: Getting Big Value Out of Big Data

Posted: February 25th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The first day of Mobile World Congress was a busy one, full of panels, speeches and workshops. When Day Two began, I knew it was going to be another exciting one, full of insights from thought leaders across the telco industry. Today, one of those thought leaders was Comptel’s VP of Analytics and Technology, Matti Aksela. Matti was a participant during the morning panel session, “Big Data Goes on Stage.” He joined executives from Blancco, Creanord, Omnitele, Tieto, and Tecnotree to discuss the current state of Big Data and the changes we can expect to see over the next several years.

Big Data is still a fairly difficult term to define. At Comptel, we believe that the term is a new label that’s being applied to something fundamental – the ability to build a business strategy around customer data. The panel acknowledged this, noting that telcos are handling petabytes upon petabytes of information that could potentially be useful to the business.

But what do telcos really need to make the most out of Big Data?

The Foundation of Data is Infrastructure

Tomi Paatsila, CEO at Omnitele, explained that scalable infrastructure is integral to Big Data analytics, because organisations have to be able to adapt to different traffic environments. Matti added that scalable infrastructure also needs to support different types of data to effectively consolidate all that information.

Part of that requirement is due to the emergence of new virtual machines (vms). Ideal infrastructures will have to be vendor-agnostic, providing a seamless integration for the technologies of yesterday, today and tomorrow. As Lucas Weber, product manager at Blancco pointed out, both virtualization and the rise of cloud computing have added new layers of complexity to the data that infrastructures must be able to handle.

However, collecting and processing all those petabytes of data can still be a cumbersome (and expensive) task for telcos, especially if they attempt to do so manually.

Automation for the Next Generation

The panelists agreed that automation is a key element to any Big Data solution. They also agreed that it’s important to analyse end-user behaviour at every possible touch point, a particular science of the customer experience that Comptel has championed for a long time. When telcos can collect contextual intelligence at every touch point, execs can make informed business decisions based on real-time, segmented customer interactions.

Matti often observes organisations that are frustrated with the results of their Big Data solution, because business leaders didn’t identity a specific motivation behind implementation. As Matti said on today’s panel, “The key is to start looking for value out of the data right away.” To do that, telcos need to decide which business problem can be solved with the help of Big Data. In Matti’s experience, the top use case is churn reduction.

Weber summed up the panel conversation perfectly: “At the end of the day, consumers and enterprises should benefit from Big Data.” As telcos strive to become customer-centric companies, the ability to efficiently utilise Big Data to create a better customer experience will be an important factor in their success, or their failure.


Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”

In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:

- Executive strategies for 2014

- Barriers to integration

- Technology priorities

- Attitudes toward data & planning

Download