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

Posted: July 2nd, 2015 | Author: Malla Poikela | 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).


TM Forum Live! 2015 Recap: 3 Key Takeaways on Telco Digital Transformation

Posted: June 9th, 2015 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Comptel was in Nice, France for TM Forum Live!, where the discussion surrounded the innovative technology, emerging consumer trends and unique businesses challenges that face the digital and communications industry now and in the coming years.TM_Forum Live 2015

The event’s overarching theme involved making the concept of a “digital business” real. We enjoyed the opportunity to hear thoughts and ideas from some of the leading voices not only in telecoms, but also in the greater technology community. We also took advantage of the chance to lend our unique viewpoint on the significant revenue opportunity available to operators who embrace innovative sales, service and marketing strategies through their own Operation Nexterday.

Here are three big takeaways we observed from the event’s keynotes and summit sessions:

1. Digital Transformations Require Radical New Views and Approaches

TM Forum’s new CEO, Peter Sany, led off the keynote schedule with a discussion on the significant ways in which digital technology is transforming our world. He explained that we’re living in a time of major change and opportunity, which is evident by the development of today’s sharing economy, the ongoing innovation of connected devices and the democratisation of technology accessibility.

To manage these transformations and make the most of the opportunities they provide, Sany says operators need to shift their perspective to place the customer front and centre. He also advocates the forming of non-traditional partnerships in telco to enable faster, dynamic innovations.

Sany’s thoughts mirror the views we shared in our book, Operation Nexterday. As we explained, consumers today require instant gratification, maximum flexibility and a high level of personalisation. Operators must embrace a new way of selling, marketing and offering their services, so customers’ needs are put first. That may require unusual partnerships with companies they may now currently view as competitors like over-the-top (OTT) providers – more on that shortly.

TM Forum 2015

2. Infrastructure, Affordability – Two Key Barriers to Digital Expansion

While there are 7.2 billion people on Earth, only 3 billion are connected to the Internet, and connecting those remaining 4.2 billion is a slower process than some might expect. Markku Mäkeläinen knows this – he is the director of global operator partnerships for Facebook, and he is one of the leading minds working on making those connections.

The chief barriers to connectivity that Mäkeläinen has noticed throughout Facebook’s Internet.org project are infrastructure, relevance and affordability. Facebook is trying to solve the relevance challenge by providing free Internet access to users in developing countries, so that those individuals who aren’t aware of the Internet might understand its value in supplying free news and education.

At the same time, operators share the burden of solving the other two challenges – infrastructure and affordability. Much of the developing world only has access to 2G connections, and a significant portion of these regions won’t support the construction of towers or radios. Meanwhile, 500 MB of data is affordable only to 34 percent of users in this part of the world. Facebook is working with operators to sort out these challenges with concepts like a lightweight version of Facebook that consumes fewer resources than the full version, and the operators involved will need to deliver innovative and creative ideas.

3. To Stay Relevant, Telcos Must Collaborate with OTTs

Recently, it’s been a popular observation that we live in a world in which the largest accommodations provider, AirBnB, owns no real estate, the largest taxi service, Uber, owns no cars, and the largest retailer, Alibaba, owns no inventory.

Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO of Bharti Airtel, India’s leading provider of pre- and post-paid wireless and fixed digital communications services, brought up this point as an example of the threat facing operators. Although most innovations in telecoms rely entirely on the infrastructure built and owned by operators, they are not the ones coming up with these ideas, proving that there’s no guarantee that the player who owns the platform has the power.

OTT providers have swooped in to provide new services that speak directly to consumers’ changing behaviours and desires. As many operators stand on the fringes and watch, their own assets are being leveraged to support innovative digital services. Rather than remain on the sidelines, Mehta encourages operators to engage in the business of “enriching lives” and start thinking of ways to partner with OTT providers.

Moharmustaqeem Mohammed, VP of Mass Market Marketing Operations at Telekom Malaysia, shared a similar sentiment in a separate session when he said the true operator struggle of the day is not to identify uniqueness, but rather relevance in a digital ecosystem crafted by consumers. This is also a position we advocate in Operation Nexterday – that to remain relevant in a changing telco landscape, operators must first recognize consumers’ overwhelming influence.

Want to learn more about Operation Nexterday and the 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


Comptel Customer Chorus Wins Second GTB Innovation Award for Innovative Broadband Project

Posted: May 18th, 2015 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Fibre optic technology continues to fulfil its promise as the fastest way to deliver Internet and communications services worldwide, and over the years, we have helped operators successfully and cost-effectively deploy the technology.GTB Innovation Award 2015

For one, Comptel is pleased to be associated with partner GE Digital Energy and operator Chorus, who received a 2015 Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation Award in the category of fixed network infrastructure innovation. It is the second consecutive year in which our team was honoured for our work on the ambitious project in New Zealand.

Chorus is the largest telecoms infrastructure provider in New Zealand. The company was created shortly after the 2009 launch of New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative, which seeks to deliver fibre-optic broadband to 75 percent of the country’s population by 2020. Challenged to meet the UFB’s aggressive short-term implementation deadlines – schools, hospitals and 90 percent of businesses in New Zealand needed to be fibre-enabled by 2015 – Chorus turned to Comptel.

GTB Innovation Award 2015 ChorusIn the first phase of their project, we initiated an “intelligent evolution” of Chorus’ infrastructure, which evaded traditional upgrade procedures in favour of a holistic approach. As a result, Chorus was able to reduce the time required to provision fibre services to customers’ homes by 40 percent, reduce the time needed to train staff on fibre technology and complete the entire project in just one year. You can read all about that first phase in this fibre provisioning case study from Analysys Mason.

Our team’s win in this year’s GTB Innovation Awards is for the second phase of our work, which comprised the integration of logical and physical inventory. We worked together with GE Digital Energy and relied on TM Forum Frameworx to combine our inventory systems in a way that best served Chorus’ needs. As of early 2015, Chorus achieved an end-to-end provisioning solution that enabled the automatic processing of service requests, which means little manual work is now needed to process orders for fibre service, send installation instructions to field crews and activate the service.

An efficient provisioning solution and accurate physical inventory also means technicians spend less time clarifying records, which unlocks better efficiency in the field, faster install times for customers and a stronger foundation for improved fault resolution and asset maintenance.GTB Innovation Award 2015 Chorus

“The feedback I have received so far from the field seems to be very positive,” said Gemma Cleland of Transfield Services, a Chorus contractor. “They are especially happy with the additional inventory information that they are now getting provided.”

Comptel is proud to once again be recognised as an innovator in the provisioning and delivery of a new generation of communications services. We recognise both the emerging telecoms trends that push operators to innovate, as well as the challenges operators face in deploying the solutions that address those trends. As a result, we’re ready to help our customers meet these challenges head on, while acknowledging that our work has only just begun.

Both Comptel and GE Digital Energy will be in Nice, France for TM Forum Live! from 1 – 4 June, 2015. Email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to arrange an in-person meeting at the event. And download our new book, Operation Nexterday, to learn more about the creative ways leading digital and communications service providers can meet new market challenges.


Mobile World Congress Recap: 3 Key Takeaways on the Future of Mobile Communications

Posted: March 5th, 2015 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Comptel is in the trenches in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, where the theme this year is all about living on the “Edge of Innovation.” Tens of thousands of attendees are here, all striving to explore how evolving mobile communications technology is changing the way we live, work and play.Comptel Operation Nexterday Mobile World Congress

We made our mark on MWC by launching our book Operation Nexterday at a special launch party Monday evening, and we were thrilled to share our game plan for the future of digital communications with a large crowd that turned out for drinks, tapas, and free copies of the book!

Some of the communications industry’s leading innovators and visionaries are in attendance for MWC, which is a big benefit to attendees who want to get a sense for how the industry is changing and where it is headed in the coming months and years. Here are three key takeaways we gathered from conference keynotes and sessions we attended:

1. Mobile Consumers Need Digital Confidence

In the event’s opening keynote on Monday morning, the chief executives from four of the world’s top operators – Telefónica, Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and Telenor – shared their thoughts on how mobile will need to evolve to meet the demands of the future.

Panellist César Alierta, executive chairman and CEO of Telefónica, explained that nearly 43 percent of the world’s population – around 3 billion people – are connected to the Internet, and 90 percent of the world’s population is expected to have a mobile phone by 2020!

Comptel Operation Nexterday Mobile World CongressEach of these consumers will need to have “digital confidence,” or better control over their digital lives and privacy, explained Alierta. The industry will also need to support up to 50 billion new connected devices that make up the Internet of Things and the ‘industrial Internet.’

As a result, operators will need to embrace efficiencies that will enable millions of new customers to connect to the Internet and engage with new digital services. Alierta identified network quality, affordability and service attractiveness as potential areas of improvement for operators who anticipate a surge of new consumers.

2. Data Drives Context, Which Drives Mobile Opportunity

As we have discussed before, targeted marketing is one effective way to reach the digitally savvy Generation Cloud – but only 4 percent of enterprises have the resources, budget and promise to deliver on context and better serve customers, according to Andrew Harrison of Dixons Carphone. Harrison was one of eight panellists in a conference session that explored how businesses could gain the context needed to deliver engaging, personalised content to the right customer at the right time.

Panellist Peter Fitzgerald of Google UK described why context is so critical to the buying experience. Mobile means purchase opportunities arise regardless of location and situation, whether a consumer is at work, home or even sitting on a train checking their phone. Forty-two percent of consumers use their phone in a retail store to compare prices for a product they see on the shelf – a practice known as “showrooming” – but savvy retailers are taking the opportunity to reach these connected buyers by pushing relevant, in-the-moment offers to their devices right in the store, said Fitzgerald.Comptel Mobile World Congress booth

Businesses today can leverage contextual data to propel instantaneous, personalised offers, and mobile devices are the perfect starting point to find that data. Smartphones and tablets are at the centre of our digital worlds, and as a result, they’re an ideal resource for contextual consumer data.

3. It’s Mobile’s Moment. How Will You Connect Consumers?

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of products at Google, described Google’s efforts to enable Internet connectivity for consumers around the world. As Pichai explained, consumers in the developed and emerging world may take connectivity for granted, but 4 billion people around the world currently lack access to the Internet.

Google’s efforts to expand connectivity include bringing Google Fibre to urban areas in Africa, and its Project Loon initiative, which uses a network of high-altitude balloons traveling in the Earth’s stratosphere to bring LTE speeds to rural areas around the world. Pichai also discussed the drone company Titan, a recent Google acquisition that designs lightweight solar-powered airplanes which act as “floating cell phone towers,” bringing connectivity to consumers below.

Pichai added that Google will work with operators to build services to deliver to newly connected consumers, but when asked how Google could justify its lofty infrastructure investments, he explained that “it’s mobile’s moment right now.” The bottom line? In the age of affordable connected devices, operators need to follow Google’s lead and embrace innovative ways of reimagining service infrastructure. Better-connected consumers present bigger business opportunities for the savvy service providers who can innovate in the new era of Generation Cloud.


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

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

By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Recap of LOOP APAC14

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

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

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


How Telcos are Planning to Revolutionise Customer Experience in 2015

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

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

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

How are they planning to do it?

Processing Every Bit of Data

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

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

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

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

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

Big Data and the Customer Journey

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

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

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

Download


A New Era for Big Data: Accessibility, Integration and Analytics at IBM Business Connect

Posted: October 30th, 2014 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

On October 15, Comptel’s team attended IBM Business Connect, an annual event held in Helsinki at the monumental Finlandia Hall. According to IBM, it’s one of the biggest ICT events in Finland, with 1,700 attendees from a diverse number of businesses and industries.

A year ago, many presentations at the conference emphasized the importance of Big Data. This year, the messaging shifted to focus on business models utilising predictive analytics. Here is a recap of the main things we took away from the event.

1. Analytics are valuable, but often inaccessible.

Even if analytics are everywhere, leveraging their full business value can still be a challenge. Organisations face obstacles around data integration and data preparation, in particular, and this seems to prohibit some companies from using Big Data analytics at all. Therefore, to leverage big data, an efficient data integration and refinery layer is required to be able to utilise every bit of crude data to fuel the business.

It’s also important not to forget that when analytics become a natural part of business processes and decision-making, there will be a growing need for intelligent and interactive reporting and dashboards. Analytics cannot be a privilege of data scientists only; the benefits of Big Data analysis should reach much further throughout organisations.

2. Data enhances the customer journey.

Analysing and modelling customers’ buying journeys will result in new competitive advantages. B2C and B2B companies alike should look to leverage the intelligence that predictive analytics and machine-learning capabilities offer. It can help businesses better understand individual customers and their context and preferred content and unique value, enabling the delivery of ‘moments of truth.’ This means taking the right approach or offering the right product at the right time, with the right content and in the right way to optimise their experience. Ideally, this should be done across and along a customer’s entire journey.

According to the presenters, more than half (54 percent) of CEOs in leading organisations want to focus on improving the customer experience by changing interactions from mass messaging to market segments to 1:1 relationships. Vanson Bourne research found that 90 percent of customers are interested in a more personal relationship with communications service providers. But to do this, there needs to be real structural changes within the business.

3. Proactive should replace reactive.

Before access to real-time, predictive analytics, business opportunities and strategies were largely based on reporting and business intelligence. Business units would comb through the results of previous campaigns and base future campaigns on those results.

Companies need to shift from this reactive, report-driven approach to a predictive, data-driven one, using a solution that can automatically make changes in the business depending on operational data or customer trends by matching customer’s context and content. Predictive analytics can empower every aspect of the business, from product manufacturing to infrastructure and operations to sales and marketing.

In order to create data that can be used to revolutionise a customer’s experience, the information first has to be cleansed and processed with analytics tools.

The Data of Being Human

Aside from the business presentations, we also enjoyed hearing the keynote speeches. The most inspiring speech was given by Pekka Hyysalo, founder of the Fight Back movement. Hyysalo had just graduated from the Ruka Alpine School, and he was ready to conquer the world of freestyle skiing. When filming a freestyle movie in Ylläs in challenging weather conditions, however, the last jump ended badly.

He spent almost three weeks in a coma and suffered a severe head injury. His medical evaluation gave very little hope for asuccessful recovery, but Hyysalo proved the doctors wrong. With a great attitude, unbeatable willpower and an incredible sense of humour, he learned to walk and talk again. Now, he’s sharing his story and fighting back step-by-step.

We hope to see him accomplish the ultimate feat: run a marathon. The marathon project started this autumn when the first Fight Back run was organised in Turku. The distance was 2.5 kilometres, and next year, the length will be doubled to five kilometres. Incrementally, Hyysalo plans to build up the distance and run a full marathon in 2018.

The day ended in a fireworks of minds (“Älytulitus”) with prominent public figures discussing their dreams and how they would like to see more intelligence in our everyday lives, from human-integrated identity chips (for convenience of shopping or travelling, for example) to intelligence in the kitchen (to reduce the amount of food wasted) to interesting thoughts of how to generate real-time awareness of our health.

While some of these may never come true, the future is ours to make, and we invite all to share in the spirit of open collaboration to accomplish our dreams and making the future brighter together, one step at a time.

Want to learn more about how Big Data can be integrated and accessible? Learn about Comptel EventLink 7.0 below:

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Reimagine: Dispatches from Dreamforce 2014

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Beach party or customer conference? That’s what many were wondering on Tuesday here at Dreamforce 2014 in San Francisco, after Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff kicked off with a “Good Vibrations” performance from the Beach Boys, followed by a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony. The rumour-mill was turning for the industries’ worst kept secret and we felt that there was a reveal on its way…

But everyone soon got down to business, with more than 1,400 expert-led sessions across every industry imaginable. From a philanthropic-geared keynote given by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the launch of a new wearable smart watch, Puls, from musical performer Will.i.am, the spirit of innovation was high, and the conversations were exciting.

The common thread throughout it all was to reimagine – whether it is reimagining our approach to climate change with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, reimagining music for the masses with musician Neil Young or reimagining new business models with Kris Davies of AT&T.

Here are some of our highlights from the sessions:

Reimagine: Customer Engagement

One thing is being made clear at Dreamforce this week: more than ever, the customer is king. Salesforce and attendees hammered home the importance of businesses truly evolving to become customer-centric companies.

According to executives from Telefonica and Fastweb, telcos, in particular, have some work to do in the customer experience and satisfaction department. But challenges from over-the-top (OTT) disruption, industry consolidations and new emerging communications service providers (CSPs) are setting a high bar for managing the customer journey.

What’s needed most are simple, relevant and proactive systems that can better steer and enhance the modern-day customer buying experience. Our own announcement at Dreamforce this week reflected this. Through a collaboration with CloudSense, we’re providing an intelligent platform that improves the B2B customer experience, through automated, multichannel sales, customer order management and service delivery.

Reimagine: Analytics

With the influx of web services and devices, it’s no surprise that more than 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years. What’s more, with an estimated 50 billion connected “things” expected by 2020, that volume of data is expected to grow exponentially.

The REVEAL: Salesforce responded this week, announcing a new cloud-based analytics platform, Wave, to provide customers with predictive analytics features, integrated with its own SaaS-based customer relationship management (CRM) offering. The platform is designed to make it easier for everyone to explore data, uncover new insights and take action instantly from any device.

Reimagine: Collaboration

As technology continues to evolve, collaboration is becoming even more integral to success. We’ve seen this first-hand in our successful Communications Industry Showcase alongside other industry leaders at Dreamforce this week. The ability to collaborate around sales, customer engagement and projects forms a live feedback loop that nurchers continuous process and product improvement and can help to align better with customers.

Musician Neil Young demonstrated the importance of this in a very different way with the introduction of the PonoPlayer, an audio device designed to change the way we listen to music. The history of recorded sounds is in jeopardy if we continue to listen to “Xeroxes of Picassos,” said Young. His new device allows for the digital remastering of vinyl masterpieces to properly capture the full experience intended by the recording artist.

PonoPlayer is the first music company to use the Salesforce Community Cloud, a collaborative environment that leverages communities of fans to discuss the merits of music tracks and beyond. It’s a great example of how new technology can improve the buyer’s journey and positively impact commercial success.

Reimagine: The Future

As we wrap up an exciting week at Dreamforce, we’re reinvigorated by the ideas and innovation that are shaping the future of telco and all industries. We’re already looking forward to seeing what Dreamforce 2015 will bring!

For more information on our latest collaboration with CloudSense, please click here. To learn how CSPs can benefit from the cloud and deliver an improved customer experience, click here.


10 Takeaways from Guy Kawaski at #Inbound14

Posted: October 15th, 2014 | Author: Max Nyman | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | No Comments »

HubSpot’s annual #Inbound14 offered perhaps one of the most interesting line-ups of all marketing conferences this year. Around 10,000 marketers were “spoiled” with a full agenda of dynamic speakers such as Guy Kawasaki, Simon Sinek, Malcom Gladwell and Martha Stewart – not to mention a truly memorable performance from R&B singer and songwriter Janelle Monáe.

The keynotes were among the highlights of the Boston-located event; I especially enjoyed the “10 Lessons That I Learned from Steve Jobs” presentation given by the former chief evangelist of Apple, Guy Kawasaki. Each lesson was a key principle that Kawasaki thought set Jobs apart from the pack. Here’s a summary of those lessons:

1. Experts are clueless.

Experts are good at giving you advice on the existing world order, but according to Kawasaki, they really can’t tell you how to change the world, innovate or predict the next big thing. Kawasaki said that, in order to truly create change and innovate, you need to listen to yourself.

2. Customers cannot tell you what they need.

Kawasaki refers to the famous Henry Ford quote, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” He added that customers can tell you how to make something better, but if you are after a paradigm change, you’re on your own.

3. The biggest challenges beget the best work.

Apple and Jobs always went against the biggest competitors and the biggest challenges. That inspired them to keep innovating, experimenting and learning.

4. Design counts.

Kawasaki admitted that design doesn’t appeal to everyone, but added that it counts for enough people to be significant. And, he added, “no matter your product or service, good design only enhances the [customer] experience.” We couldn’t agree more.

5. Use big graphics and fonts.

According to Kawasaki, “the point of your presentation is not to give someone the text of what you’re saying; it’s to give them just enough anchor points to follow what you’re saying.”

6. Changing your mind is a sign of intelligence.

The world is constantly changing. Kawaski advised attendees to “be nimble and flexible,” even if that would mean reversing your strategy.

7. Value ≠ price.

Kawasaki told the audience that this was one of the most important learnings from Jobs: “Price is something you pay on the first day, but value is the sum total of the experience.”

8. “A” players hire “A+” players.

Kawasaki said that future success is also a recruitment issue. If A-class leaders hire B-class people, B-class people will soon hire C-class people. Kawasaki pointed out that one of the keys to Apple’s success was to hire the best of the best.

9. Real CEOs do the demos.

Companies cannot be thought leaders – only people can. CEOs cannot be hidden in corner offices. They need to be the visible face of the company.

10. Marketing = unique value.

A market full of similar products and services will drive the whole market to price wars and diminishing returns. Always aim to create something that has unique value – like the iPod + iTunes combination or a connected car.

Optimists are the Best Innovators

Kawasaki concluded by saying that skeptics aren’t the best innovators. Optimists are. In order ignite a paradigm change, you have to be able to see something valuable, unique and something that doesn’t yet exist and make it happen.

Comptel believes Kawaski’s innovative mindset is also important in the context of the telecommunications industry. Now, more than ever, communications service providers (CSPs) should find new ways to provide value for customers. Most CSPs are engaged in a price war, but are doing little else to really meet the customer’s needs. These days, though, true value means giving customer what they want on a personal level across every touchpoint. That’s because value is no longer about the lowest price, it’s about offering customers something that meets their needs at that exact moment.

That doesn’t just mean implementing new technology that can help modernise operations. It means working on a new culture that bridges silos, leverages Big Data and, above all, creates an unforgettable customer experience by offering value that empowers customers like never before.


In the telecommunications space, cloud is one of the next big innovations. Want to learn more?

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