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?

Download the Stratecast whitepaper, “Operations & Monetization Platforms in the Cloud: Why the Time May Be Right for Back Office as a Service (BaaS).”

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Comptel Invited to Speak at GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East Event

Posted: October 9th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

With many mobile operators hot on the trail to have commercially launched 4G/LTE by the end of 2014, the prospect of new services and faster connectivity is becoming more exciting than ever for their customers.

According to Analysys Mason, the number of 4G/LTE handset connections worldwide will increase by 670 percent from 2013 to 2018. Yet, mobile handset data service revenue is only expected to grow by 64 percent during the same period.

In particular, the Middle East and North Africa are exemplary markets, with strong mobile growth driving impressive progress in the region. Providers are exploring hybrid monetisation models and solutions for their customers, like the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, du. The mobile operator just announced that for the first time in the Middle East, its customers will soon be able to access the Internet at 4G/LTE speeds, while making a crystal-clear voice call, made possible by VoLTE. Such solutions will help secure a competitive advantage and ensure future business growth.

It’s clear that mobile will increasingly play a significant role in connecting communities around the globe. But as the use of voice and SMS continues to decline, it will be more important for CSPs to explore new opportunities for monetising their data. So, how can mobile operators be able to capitalise on the LTE full services’ revenue potential?

This question and others will be tackled at the second annual GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East conference, co-located with GITEX in Dubai from 13-14th October. Comptel has been invited to participate on a panel around this very topic: “Monetising LTE and Profiting from a Transition Towards All IP.”

The conversation is especially important in a city like Dubai and in the broader Middle East, where the potential for LTE adoption is huge. According to the same report from Analysys Mason, strong mobile handset data growth in the Middle East and North Africa could mean that telecoms service revenue grows at a 2.9 percent compound annual growth rate, reaching $96 billion by 2018.

The Future of Connectivity

Comptel and our fellow panelists will share insight on how to help smoothly drive that growth forward, and how mobile operators can monetise their networks to differentiate services in a way that will communicate their true value to their customers.

Petteri Suonio, technical sales director in our Middle East and Africa region, will speak on Comptel’s behalf, sharing solutions from our recent research around how mobile operators can better monetise their data, as well as insight on various offerings, bundles, data usage patterns and more from the region and across the globe.

Mr. Suonio will be joined on the panel by Noel Kirkaldy, head of technology, Middle East & Africa, Nokia Siemens Networks; Ihab Ghattas, assistant president of Middle East region, Huawei; and Muhammad Saqib, director, technical strategy & RAN planning, Warid Telecom.

The key for mobile operators’ success will be a combination of both tried-and-tested monetisation methods and new ones. To strengthen operator monetisation and differentiation, flexible and agile policy and charging capabilities with easy to use service design will play a major role. In addition, predictive analytics will be increasingly important in allowing operators to see patterns that would otherwise be hidden, and to use this insight to construct new, tailored offers.

With this, mobile operators will be able to better understand customer behaviours and build a higher quality of experience, while introducing new sources of revenue. Future revenue growth for mobile operators will fully depend on building flexible, personalised service packages and services that will allow them to innovate with their customers.

If you’ll be attending GSMA Mobile 360 or GITEX in Dubai and would like to meet with Mr. Suonio, please send an email to comptel.marketing@comptel.com.

For more information on GSMA Mobile 360 Middle East, panels and participants, please click here. Or read more about monetising mobile data in our recent whitepaper.


What Comptel, Hillary Clinton and Bruno Mars All Have in Common

Posted: September 29th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

It’s not every day that Comptel can say we have something in common with former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or pop singer Bruno Mars. But, this October, all three of us will be in attendance at the Salesforce.com annual conference, Dreamforce. Comptel was personally invited to be a part of the Communications Industry Showcase, so with the host of amazing keynote speakers, more than 350 exhibitors and an expected 130,000 event-goers, we couldn’t be more excited to be part of the action.

This year, we’ll be showing off a number of different ways that Salesforce and cloud technology can operate in a telecommunications environment. New cloud-based, front-office solutions are appealing to businesses across many industry verticals, but none more so than in communications. Comptel Fulfillment will be part of an industry-wide showcase that offers the blueprint for integrating a cloud-based enterprise platform like salesforce.com into a telecommunications operating environment.

In addition, we’ll be showing off Comptel Service Order Validator, an app on the Salesforce AppExchange that enriches the traditional lead-to-activate process with better order accuracy and reduced service delivery time by validating B2B customer requirements in the cloud. This app bridges the gap between enterprise sales and operations, and makes customer and service order orchestration much more efficient.

Comptel will also be introducing an exciting new partnership and integration with a leading order management and CPQ cloud alliance partner, showcasing network-aware sales process automation, and intelligent telco lead-to-activation.

We’re eager to show how communications service providers can improve and succeed by automating the interactions between IT, services and the network in the cloud. If you’d like to meet us at Dreamforce, send an email to comptel.marketing@comptel.com to arrange a meeting or visit us in the Industry Showcase, Moscone South as part of the Cloud Expo Campground 13-16 October, 2014.

Hope to see you there!


Want to learn more about how CSPs can benefit from the cloud?

Download the Stratecast whitepaper, “Operations & Monetization Platforms in the Cloud: Why the Time May Be Right for Back Office as a Service (BaaS).”

Download


3 Takeaways about SDN / NFV from TM Forum Live!

Posted: June 30th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

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.
Download


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!


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