Every Reason to Join Comptel at #MWC17

Posted: February 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Every Reason to Join Comptel at #MWC17

It’s an exciting time at Comptel! Our team is counting down the days to Mobile World Congress 2017, one of the biggest events of the year.

We have so much to announce and discuss, including the release of our new book, “Nexterday: Volume III,” and the results from our new research report, “The Power of Personal.” Mobile World Congress MWC17

As the third volume in our Nexterday series, the book covers the most important steps you as a telco need to take in your digital customer and service journeys. The research, which includes an official report, eBook, infographic and videos, surveyed real mobile customers to give you a better sense of their expectations for personalisation.

If you’re heading to Barcelona, you can get your hands on a hard copy of the new book and our research report by visiting our booth in Hall 5 at Stand 5G40, or you can email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to book an individual meeting.

But, those aren’t the only reasons to meet up with Comptel at #MWC17. Here’s a few more:

We’re Hosting a Fireside Briefing with Deutsche Telekom

Telcos hear all about the importance of network innovation, but what does it really look like in practice? Our fireside briefing is the perfect opportunity to find out.

On 28 February at 6 pm, visit the Comptel booth for an in-depth panel discussion about the Deutsche Telekom Pan-Net project, which will cover everything you need to know about DT’s ambitious plan to centralise digital service production for 13 national companies in one location. The panellists include:

  • Sven Hischke, Managing Director, Deutsche Telekom Pan-Net
  • Iulian Stoica Petrescu, Pan-Net Enterprise Architect, Telekom Romania
  • Juhani Hintikka, CEO, Comptel
  • Antti Koskela, EVP Service Orchestration, Comptel
  • Martin Beyer, Sales Director, Comptel

I’ll be moderating the discussion, and there will be a brief period for Q&A. The DT Pan-Net story is a really remarkable story of network innovation and disruption, so you won’t want to miss this chat.

We’re Talking Customer Engagement with Salesforce

Right after the Deutsche Telekom panel, I’ll cover off some of the top highlights of our “Power of Personal” research report, which explains how personalisation can be a difference-maker for service creation and revenue generation.

Then, Comptel EVP Intelligent Data Niilo Fredrikson and Salesforce Director of Product Management Communications Mustafa Oyumi will introduce our joint “Best Next Engagement” solution, which will provide a model and method to achieve powerful customer engagement. Don’t miss it.

We’re Hosting a Party at Esferic

Salesforce is also joining us to throw the coolest #MWC17 party in town, on Wednesday 1 March at 7 pm at Esferic. We’ll have live music, an open bar and finger food, plus plenty of networking opportunities. Tickets are free but limited to just 300 spots – be sure to follow Comptel on LinkedIn or stop by our booth to pick up your ticket!

We’re Smashing Telco Myths and Hosting #Nexterday Demos

Sick of hearing the same tired telco myths over and over? We are too, so we’re setting up a Telco MythSmasher in our booth, where you can stop by and destroy the most annoying misconceptions about service transformation and customer experience. You’ll have the chance to compete – the top three myth smashers will get a cool prize for their mobile device.

While you’re at the booth, be sure to ask for a demo of our new solutions, including:

  • Digital Customer Journey – Personalised digital services, at your fingertips. Check out:
    • My Digital Moments, which leverages the capabilities of FASTERMIND and MONETIZER
    • Salesforce customer engagement powered by Comptel FASTERMIND
    • FWD, the Digital Sales Channel. An easy and contextual way for operators to boost ARPU and increase digital service consumption by selling time-based data access.
  • Digital Service Journey – OSS modernisation through to full Digital Service Lifecycle Management with the FlowOne suite
  • IoTed™ – An IoT-driven app that helps users answer the question “Are you well?”

Comptel is planning to make this year’s show our biggest and best Mobile World Congress yet, and we want to join the fun. Find us in Hall 5 at Stand 5G40, or email comptel.marketing@comptel.com right now to book an individual meeting.


On the Road with The Nexterday Tour 2016

Posted: September 20th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on On the Road with The Nexterday Tour 2016

There’s an entire world of fresh ideas and exciting opportunities for telcos to indulge, many of which are discussed in various industry conferences around the world. That’s why Comptel is happy to bring and present these ideas directly to you if you were not able to hop on a plane and visit each event. Nexterday Tour 2016

The Nexterday Tour 2016 is our global effort to share the latest, most dominant and most appealing market trends directly with our customers and partners. At the same time, we discuss key thought leadership themes, including how Comptel’s software addresses market requirements in Nexterday.

We want to tap into the latest industry trends and insights from major global industry events, including our own Nexterday North event, which asks telcos to stop thinking about digital transformation and start executing. We package everything together with content and videos from operators, industry speakers and thought leaders, and go on tour to deliver them to telcos around the world.

What is the Nexterday Tour?

The program includes trends and insights gathered from a number of big events, stretching from the Comptel anti-seminar Nexterday North in Helsinki last November, and extending through Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, TM Forum Live! in Nice, the Big Communications Event in Austin, and a scattering of NFV/SDN events throughout Europe and the U.S. Our next stop will be in October for Dreamforce in San Francisco and the SDN and OpenFlow World Congress in The Hague.

It’s the third consecutive year we’ve run a global program. You might have known our previous tours by other names – “Barcelona in a Box” in 2014 and “Beyond the Event Horizon” last year. We visited more than 15 cities last year, meeting with 400 individual customers from 45 global operators.

So far, this year’s tour has taken us to South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region, adding up to over 10 countries, over 15 cities, dozens of operator brands and hundreds of individual customers. And the tour finishes with our second annual Nexterday North from 28-29 November, 2016 in Helsinki.

Top Themes for 2016

Our focus in 2016 is on digital transformation and disruption within the telco industry.

We wanted to cover how new players in telco – including startups, but also non-telco players like Airbnb, Uber and Spotify – are shaking up the industry with innovative digital offerings that require operators to change their approach.

We’re also covering broader global trends. In his keynote speech at Nexterday North 2015, Kjell Nordstrom talked about urbanisation, describing how within the next 20 to 30 years, 80 percent of the world’s population and 90 percent of its economic value will be centralised in 600 megacities. On the tour, we’ve discussed what that means for telcos in the years ahead.

Similarly, we’ve heard frequently about the increasing value placed on customer experiences. A massive 89 percent of companies planned to compete on the basis of customer experience this year, according to Gartner. How has digitalisation influenced that trend, and – as keynote speaker Mike Walsh will discuss at Nexterday North 2016 – how does the increasing level of consumer familiarity with digital tools and services impact telco innovation?

We’ve discussed new telco business models, new network technologies and new service opportunities. We know that networks are embracing software in the era of NFV, data centres and cloud. We know that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a major opportunity, but that 99 percent of devices aren’t connected to the internet yet. At the same time, we know that up to four billion people on Earth also lack internet access. So what are operators and the whole industry doing to solve that challenge, alongside the others?

We’re also covering a number of challenges and opportunities in our industry, such as the need to find fresh new data monetisation strategies to take advantage of customers’ hunger for digital services. We also discuss the increased need for hyper personalisation in marketing, sales and service, and the need for telcos to re-engineer their service orchestration models to suit a more self-serve, conversational and automated service delivery lifecycle.

It’s been exciting to get out of the office, speak directly with customers and hear their ideas and thoughts on all of these concepts. Generally speaking, we’re seeing operators starting to broaden their mode of thinking. Ideas that would have once been considered too radical for telco are now being carefully considered, whether it’s ways to change how we work, new service opportunities to tap into, or new global trends that affect our business.

It’s important for telcos to continue the conversation and step away from the industry’s collective blindspot. With the Nexterday Tour 2016, Comptel is proud to play a part in helping operators have these important discussions.

Join us on the Nexterday Tour 2016 by registering for Nexterday North 2016, 28-29 November, in Helsinki. You can check out our fantastic speaker lineup here, which to date includes digital transformation visionary Mike Walsh, marketing guru David Meerman Scott, futurologist Dietmar Dahmen, operator speakers and many more.


Season’s Greetings from Comptel

Posted: December 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Season’s Greetings from Comptel

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is just about to come to a close! Like we’ve discussed in Decembers past, Comptel sends season’s greetings cards electronically and donates the money saved from the traditional, printed cards to a charitable fund.

Last year, Comptel selected UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In 2012, we started a project with Kiva, an organisation focused on connecting people through financial lending to empower entrepreneurs. Our contribution to this non-profit has since generated 38 loans in 24 countries.

In 2011, we donated to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, which works to promote child rights and bring millions out of poverty. And, our donation for 2010 went to the Kileva Foundation, which helped pay for the building of a Kileva Eastfield Primary School classroom.

Drum roll for this year’s chosen charity…which is Right to Play! While food, water and shelter are essential, so is a childhood, complete with education and opportunities to actively engage with other children. There are areas of the world today where children are not able to experience the benefits of play – and Right to Play aims to tackle this problem.

Right to Play uses the power of play to educate and empower children to be guardians of their own health and active participants in their communities. The organisation’s programs create positive experiences and teach important life skills that help children adopt and maintain lifelong healthy behaviours and attitudes.

There is more to come in our work with Right to Play – stay tuned! But, in the meantime, we wish you, all of our customers, partners, investors and friends, a peaceful and happy holiday season and look forward to another fruitful and cooperative year in 2015.


A Recap of LOOP APAC14

Posted: November 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Recap of LOOP APAC14

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: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on How Telcos are Planning to Revolutionise Customer Experience in 2015

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


Reimagine: Dispatches from Dreamforce 2014

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Reimagine: Dispatches from Dreamforce 2014

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: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on 10 Takeaways from Guy Kawaski at #Inbound14

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

Posted: September 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on What Comptel, Hillary Clinton and Bruno Mars All Have in Common

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


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

Posted: June 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | Comments Off on TM Forum Live: Your Greatest Competitor is Your Customer’s Future Expectation

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


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

Posted: May 1st, 2014 | Author: | 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