Posted: December 5th, 2016 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: News | Tags: cloud, Comptel, customer experience, innovation, Nexterday North | Comments Off on Moving Forward on Comptel’s Road to the Cloud
By Anand Adhiappan
Every great journey has a destination. In a business journey, your ultimate goal should be to find new strategies, ideas and approaches that benefit for your customers. The cloud might be the biggest such destination for many businesses in the telco industry today, and at Comptel, our cloud journey is about embracing the emerging platforms and solutions that will make life easier and better for our customers.
Comptel’s cloud journey took another big step forward at this year’s Nexterday North, where we announced the addition of another cloud solution, Fastermind. Everything about Fastermind is influenced by or tailored for Generation Cloud, the savvy digital natives whose buying and engagement preferences are changing the ways telcos have to service their customers.
Generation Cloud wants services on their terms, at their speed and personalized to their specific wants and needs. The cloud is the only way to deliver the dynamic, personalized services these customers crave.
As an industry, the benefits that we have realized by cloud adoption is unquestionable. We are on a journey powered by the cloud for our infrastructure, engagement and business models. Therefore, a well-balanced cloud strategy that drives focus back to business top-line and in parallel drives up the cloud maturity is needed.
The cloud has opened new business models that weren’t feasible in the past. It accelerates partnering, experimentation and building of ecosystems. But, it also creates complexity and dilemma with all the options that are achievable – stretching from NFV/SDN to private cloud to public cloud applications and hybrid environment, from do it yourself options to SaaS options.
Service providers are on a road to cloud. Many service providers have matured their cloud infrastructure strategy and have collaborated with their vendor partners to deploy solutions in the cloud and have demonstrated clear efficiency gains.
So, what’s your cloud journey look like? Are you running at the speed of business? Are unlocking new revenue streams? Is stakeholder engagement better than before? Do you have free hands to experiment new propositions? Even a small tweak to a service has a significant positive impact to the top line and experience.
Future success relies on being proactive and open to engaging as a part of a broader ecosystem. Cloud as an engagement model is bringing businesses closer so they can collaborate and win together. Cloud native strategy will bring the needed maturity. Cloud directions taken today with the focus on future proactive needs is a road to cloud!
At Comptel, we love the cloud. It brings us closer to our customers than ever before. We have been on a cloud journey for a long time already, as our operator customers serve more than 300 million end-customers in the private cloud environment. To date, our cloud solutions have provided our customers with important improvements in efficiency, but our upcoming product roadmap includes several important steps that will help us draw even more value out of the cloud. Stay tuned for more, and share your cloud journey!
Posted: August 29th, 2016 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: 56, innovation, spectrum, telco infrastructure, wireless | Comments Off on Spectrum is the First Step. How Will Operators Next Invest in 5G?
By Malla Poikela and Simo Isomäki
Consumers want faster internet. Operators want to offer it. And now, regulators in the United States say they want to give telcos the tools to deliver it.
This month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced it would open up a range of spectrum – 28 Gigahertz, 37 GHz and 39 GHz – for the creation of the next generation of wireless services. 5G connectivity will represent a “quantum leap” in wireless capabilities, said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, because it promises to deliver speeds at least 10 times and possibly 100 times faster than 4G LTE.
The U.S. will be the first country in the world to open up spectrum for 5G, and there are many positive takeaways from the FCC’s announcement. First off, releasing radio spectrum is an obvious and important first step toward innovation. It creates a great opportunity for first-movers to start testing and developing new wireless technologies.
Wheeler also points out that the high-frequency bands now available to telcos support much higher traffic throughput compared to existing licensed spectrum, which will give “fibre-like” traffic capacity to wireless users. That will allow operators to dream up intriguing new services and applications.
There’s a lot to like from the FCC announcement, but of course it’s just the first step in the ongoing development of 5G. There’s a lot of work left to do to make 5G a feasible and profitable option for operators.
A Complex Regulatory Environment
Communication services providers (CSP) and network equipment providers (NEP) will need to make substantial investments to roll out 5G across the world, and they’ll need to do it fast to meet consumer demand. How will they recoup the costs of their investments?
One strategy might be to sell premium 5G-enabled services at a premium cost, but of course, those operators would need to be careful not to defy net neutrality regulations and expectations. There’s friction between regulations and operators on this issue. While FCC has ruled in favour of net neutrality, major U.S. telcos have argued that an inability to create priority services limits the funds they’d use to invest in infrastructure.
This issue should only become more pronounced with 5G. How can regulators and operators meet in the middle? There are a number examples of differentiated service models that balance private and public interests while working in parallel, such as public libraries and private booksellers, or VIP services in the hospitality industry. Regulators and operators must create an environment that encourages equal access but also offers unique opportunities for differentiated service models.
A New Infrastructure for Better Latency, Connectivity
5G connectivity is supposed to offer the network speed needed to power next-generation applications, the types that can’t afford lags or gaps in connection. A connected car, for example, needs fast internet access all of the time, whether you’re driving in a crowded urban environment or a sleepy rural community.
But solving for network speed is ultimately more of an infrastructure problem more than it is about adding spectrum. User devices will need to be moved closer to the edge of the network, which means a massive deployment of unobstructed antennas – that’s where the biggest costs related 5G deployment will be found.
How will that impact the future development of cloud infrastructure? Will it push us even faster toward global urbanization, with fewer people living in rural communities? How will investment in 5G be balanced against investments in faster fixed connections, like fibre?
Interestingly, many of the most popular use cases for 5G seem to suggest that, in the future, we’ll mostly access the internet via mobile networks. But of course, that’s not nearly the case across the world. In the United States, only 20 percent of households access the internet exclusively through mobile networks – 75 percent get it from fixed connections, according to the NTIA.
Now, the numbers are in fact slightly trending toward more mobile-only connections and fewer fixed connections in the US market. Globally, mobile broadband connections are, on average, 1.7 times cheaper than fixed-broadband, according to the International Telecommunications Union. But will operators choose to invest in both areas evenly, or favour one connection over the other? The most realistic vision for 5G connectivity might be in heterogeneous networks, a combination of wireline and wireless, where operators will be able to exercise a variety of connectivity technologies, including 5G, to deliver maximum service and experiences to customers.
Spectrum is one important piece of the puzzle that is 5G, but it’s still early days. The telco industry needs to work with regulators to solve issues around differentiated service offerings, and operators need to determine how best to change network infrastructure to support futuristic bandwidth-hungry service and applications.
Posted: October 23rd, 2015 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: digital buying experience, innovation, intelligent data, telecom | Comments Off on 3 Keys to Digitalisation’s Future from IBM Business Connect 2015
The theme for last week’s IBM Business Connect event in Helsinki was “Seize the Moment.” Acknowledging the rapidly shifting business environment and ever-increasing consumer demands, event speakers encouraged attendees to get off the sidelines, rapidly build their skills and proactively seek out new ideas to transform their businesses for a new post-digital era.
A number of business leaders, technology experts and futurists presented inspiring talks on their vision for the future of digitalisation, but three keynotes stood out most prominently. The first involved a view of the futuristic technologies businesses will require to push themselves forward, the second stressed the importance of pushing boundaries, and the third encouraged businesses to accept what they don’t know and focus on improving the post-digital buying experience, mirroring what Comptel has said on the topic of Operation Nexterday. Here’s our recap.
A Peek at IBM’s Post-Digital Cognitive Era
IBM has positioned itself as a frontrunner in the “cognitive era,” characterized by a new capability that the tech giant believes companies will need as they move further, and even beyond, the digital era. In his keynote, IBM’s Juha Teljo, who leads European sales for IBM’s business intelligence and predictive analytics technologies, described why cognitive abilities will be the next significant technology for forward-thinking companies.
Cognition, Teljo explains, will allow businesses to understand, reason and learn much in the same way that humans do. Rather than rely on static data for business decision-making, IBM believes the next generation of business intelligence will offer predictive, machine-learned insights through cognitive technology.
This echoes Comptel’s thoughts around operators’ need for intelligent fast data, which drives real-time, automated and contextual marketing, in-the-moment analysis and instant revenue opportunities. Given the speed at which consumers make decisions and demand results, cognition and machine-learning capabilities will be crucial tools moving forward.
Toroidion’s Pasi Pennanen on Pushing Boundaries
It takes imagination to create big ideas, but to accomplish them takes “the next level of courage,” as Pasi Pennanen’s Toroidion project shows.
One might say that Pennanen has plenty of both, and in his keynote he shared his truly fascinating story of how he applied imagination and courage to make his dream of an electric vehicle reality. Pennanen is the creator of the Toroidion 1MW concept car, an eye-popping 100 percent electric sports car with 1,341 horsepower – making it one of the most powerful cars of any type in world.
Pennanen explained how he dreamed of becoming an industrial designer for cars since he was a child – a perhaps atypical ambition for a Finnish youth, but nonetheless one he pursues to this day with the dogged belief that anything is possible. He originally designed the Toroidion to compete in the famous Le Mans 24-hour road race, but now says he envisions his cars eventually being mass produced for everyday consumers.
To achieve that goal, he and his company will need to overcome a great number of challenges and obstacles, but Pennanen is driven to push boundaries in product development and design. It’s a model any business – but especially operators faced with a rapidly evolving telco landscape – should follow.
Futurist Dietmar Dahmen on Accepting the Unknown, Loving the Unknown and Embracing the Unknown
Right now, most operators acknowledge that they are surrounded by a significant number of opportunities coming from all sides. Whether they want to re-engineer their infrastructure for better flexibility and agility through network functions virtualisation, enhance their analytics capabilities through machine-learning technology or design imaginative service plans at warp speed that pique consumers’ interest, there are no shortage of options to revolutionise one’s business.
The challenge is, many operators don’t know which opportunities are right for them or how to proceed. There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding these decisions, but in his keynote at the event, futurist Dietmar Dahmen expressed why it is important for businesses to accept and even embrace the unknown. As he explained, change is what makes us strong, and though it may feel comfortable to stay within the status quo, businesses must understand that to be a superhero in their industry, they must feel good about breaking rules, thinking exponentially and acting on their potential.
“Without Data Your Business Will Die”
In the digital and cloud era we’re online and connected pretty much 24/7. Dieter Dahmen’s statement ‘We are our phone’ is spot-on to describe our behaviour. Life is truly a chain of digital moments, but businesses are not able to respond to the opportunity that customers’ passive and active digital footprints allow. More than ever, it’s critical to leverage personalization and contextuality to deliver the right content to customers in the right moment. Unfortunately most organizations fall short, as “only 1 percent of companies can use data to invidualise across the channels,” according to Dahmen.
The consumer buying process is the most transformative experience industries need to deal with in the future. Pace is at the heart of it: our new generation of customers are impatient, want options and don’t like to wait. Dietmar Dahmen described it by saying “speed displaces cost as the main driver for purchasing decisions,” which makes moving at the speed of the internet a “life and death matter” for operators. But it’s very clear that at telco speeds, operators will struggle to satisfy clientele.
That’s a message Comptel shares: to break out of the collective industry blind spot and leverage new avenues of growth and revenue, operators must overcome their fear of the unknown and embrace out-of-the-box thinking. It’s the only way forward in Nexterday.
Register to join hundreds of progressive thinkers, industry experts and innovative operators at Comptel’s inaugural Nexterday North, 9-10 November. By purchasing a 2×2 Front Pass, you get full access to both Nexterday North and the startup conference Slush.
Posted: October 19th, 2015 | Author: Veli-Pekka Luoma | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: analytics, cloud, Comptel, innovation, start-up | Comments Off on (Working) Life at an Internal Start-up
The start-up life is interesting anywhere, but especially so when you’re working at an internal start-up.
Comptel’s A.I.R team has been working hard to create a cloud-based SaaS analytics offering, and get it technically and commercially tested in the market. Development work has been successful; we are just about to go out with A.I.R’s second release, called Intelligent Monitoring. Together with our previous release, Critical Alarm Prediction, we are now able to process cloud analytics in a way that’s easily scalable, adaptable, automated and convenient in many use cases.
Starting with improving maintenance processes in networked environments, A.I.R’s capabilities can be implemented in various situations where plain data needs to be turned into information, information turned into knowledge, and finally, knowledge turned into decisions and actions.
These solutions that we’ve developed within our internal start-up are expanding Comptel’s offerings and making them future-proof. For instance, A.I.R has added virtualization, capacity balancing, and flexible access to resources, technology and competencies to Comptel’s portfolio for its current and future customers. After all, any offering today without cloud-based capabilities may as well be deemed pre-historic. We have already used our solutions successfully in several proof of concepts, too.
The DNA of a typical start-up includes a strong element of focus. Results must be sharp and precise, answering the customer and user needs exactly and quickly. Though start-ups lack the support and power of larger organizations and their ready-made processes, the benefit of having a start-up mentality is the ability to react and execute fast.
The potential to scale up a start-up business is often limited, but it depends on the product. If the product is fully digital, rather than reliant on a physical system, then the scaling is possible for even the smallest teams and organizations.
Looking ahead, we plan to adapt cloud-based capabilities into more of Comptel’s offerings, including its Intelligent Data offering. And with our customers becoming increasingly active in the Internet of Things, we’ll be looking to produce automated processes for connected, intelligent systems across all aspects of life.
In everything we do, innovation is the goal. Our mission is finding ways to not only improve our customers’ business, but also to drive the technical evolution of our surrounding world, from housing and health to transportation, security and production. “Innovation” is not simply a buzzword – we encourage everyone to use and execute it daily. Big innovation might get noticed, but it’s usually the small and even invisible innovations that keeps us moving ahead and beyond.
Posted: October 6th, 2015 | Author: Ari Vänttinen | Filed under: Events | Tags: Comptel Hackathon, innovation, Nexterday North, Slush | Comments Off on Congratulations to Team Dragon, Winners of Comptel Hackathon 2015
At Comptel, there’s nothing we like more than a killer idea. That’s exactly what we found when we organized our first ever hackathon. We’re now pleased to announce a winner: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s Team Dragon, which includes developers Chin Kang Tan and Mavis Wong. Congratulations!
Comptel Hackathon 2015 ran from 18-19 September. Our aim was to identify superb innovations in three categories: Smart City, Internet of Things (IoT) and Mobility as a Service. Teams had from noon on the 18th until midnight on the 19th to create their concepts, with presentations to the jury held on 23 September via Skype. Our jury evaluated each submission based on the level of innovation, the merits of the solution and the quality of the presentation.
Team Dragon wowed our judges with an extraordinary IoT-based shopping application called Match & Snap. The app creates an integrated shopping experience from the moment users enter a retail location. Once the store recognises them as a Match & Snap user, the app feeds users relevant offers and helpful content. For example, users can rely on Match & Snap to find the perfect outfit, send updates to friends via social media and learn about great bargains.
With their win at Comptel Hackathon 2015, Team Dragon will now represent Comptel at Ultrahack – a 48-hour hackathon in Helsinki, Finland scheduled just a few days before Nexterday North and Slush 2015. Team Dragon also won a trip to Slush, which takes place 11-12 November.
Second place in the Comptel Hackathon 2015 went to Team Tangra of Sofia, Bulgaria, who has earned a team dinner for their impressive data anonymising solution. Third place went to The Mechanics, also from Sofia, Bulgaria; they built a tool that makes hardware sizing easier and faster. Both of these teams will receive an additional much deserved prize for their amazing innovations!
Eight teams in all participated in Comptel Hackathon 2015, and our jury was delighted to see the energy, inventiveness and preparation each brought to the table. We can’t wait to see what Team Dragon does at Ultrahack and Slush, and we’d like to extend our thanks and appreciation to all the teams, jury members and organizers who made our first hackathon a success!
Want to get in on this innovation? Register for a Nexterday North Front pass, and receive a full conference pass to Slush 2015.
Posted: August 13th, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Events | Tags: innovation, Nexterday North, Slush, tech, telecommunications | Comments Off on Slush 2015 and Nexterday North: A One-Two Punch for Innovation
By Katja Kurisjärvi, Marketing Manager, Comptel
This November will be an exciting and energising month for the worlds of tech and telecommunications. Two major events, Comptel’s inaugural Nexterday North and Slush 2015, will descend on Helsinki, with the city welcoming thousands of tech leaders, entrepreneurs and big thinkers from around the world. It promises to be a full week of fresh ideas, big announcements and new visions for the future.
Nexterday North: The Antiseminar You’ve Been Waiting For
Just two days before Slush, Comptel will bring together the brightest minds in the digital and communications industry from 9 to 10 November with Nexterday North, which aims to take a fresh, bold look at the challenges and opportunities for traditional operators and emerging players and digital ecosystems.
Nexterday North will focus on three areas: Think Ahead, where we examine other industries to identify the industry’s collective blindspot, Think Again, where we re-evaluate industry learnings to challenge the status quo, and Think Beyond, where we’ll draw on the startup environment at Slush to find ways to think bigger and better about telco.
The event will also include Geekland, an invite-only Comptel user group that will share cutting-edge live demos, industry blueprint showcases and more. If you want to see what the future holds for your digital and communications services business, you need to be at Nexterday North.
You can register for Nexterday North at this link, and keep in mind that registering for a Nexterday Front pass will also grant you a Slush Conference Pass.
Slush is the leading European technology and startup event, organized in Helsinki and taking place from 11 to 12 November 12. The next world-conquering companies come to Slush to meet with venture capitalists, launch new products and share their technology breakthroughs with the global tech community.
The Slush program features a number of industries, including healthcare, education, clean tech, future enterprises and e-commerce. Speakers include the founders and leaders of tech unicorns such as Skype, King, Klarna and Supercell. The result is a palpable environment, with startups hoping to attract venture capital, media attention and technology partners, whereas investors come to look for the next billion-dollar company.
For digital and communications services providers, Slush is a great venue to learn about the emerging technologies that will continue to influence the behaviour of our generation. Slush is also a unique platform to identify business opportunities and connect more closely with digitally savvy consumers and businesses.
“With Nexterday North and Slush back-to-back, digital and communications service providers have a unique and exciting chance to hear from some of the world’s most creative thinkers and futurists in the span of a few days,” said Ari Vänttinen, CMO, Comptel. “Those four days in Helsinki will shake up the industry as we know it, providing the blueprint for what’s to come in digital and communications technology.”
“The Nordic countries have definitively put their name on the map of new technologies. The area accounts for 26 percent of all European exits yet has only 4 percent of the population,” said Marianne Vikkula, President and COO, Slush. “With events like Nexterday North and Slush, we want to make sure that the same development continues in the area.”
Charting a Future for Telco and Tech
The run up to Slush and Nexterday North also includes a number of 48-hour hackathons, including Ultrahack in which the Comptel team is participating from 6-8 November. Hackathons present a great chance for developers to refine their software with expert coaching on-site or build new innovations from scratch in a matter of hours.
It all adds up to what will be an exciting week in Helsinki. Visiting digital and communications service providers will be on the ground floor, where big ideas, concepts and partnerships are developed. You’ll learn about the technologies that are changing the world, the strategies that could change your business and the trends that are defining Generation Cloud.
The Comptel team is looking forward to an incredible series of events. We hope to see you in Helsinki.
Register now to reserve your spot at Nexterday North, and receive a conference pass to Slush 2015.
Posted: July 6th, 2015 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: innovation, network functions virtualisation, NFV | Comments Off on Tracking the Conversation Around The Emerging NFV Ecosystem
The spotlight is shining brightly on network function virtualisation (NFV) as software vendors, hardware manufacturers and operators step up their investment in and engagement with this technology. As my colleague, Malla Poikela, wrote in a recent blog, ongoing NFV trials and projects were featured prominently at this year’s TM Forum Live. In the Storify post below, we track recent conversations and developments around this radical new NFV ecosystem. Take a look to see how the NFV discussion is constantly evolving.
And don’t forget to join us in November for our can’t-miss anti-seminar, Nexterday North, where the emerging NFV ecosystem will be one of many topics of discussion. Industry experts and innovators will be on hand to take a fresh look at telecoms through a new lens, and discussion will be framed around the three pillars 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).
Posted: June 10th, 2015 | Author: Simo Isomaki | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: innovation, mobile broadband, telecom | Comments Off on Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum: Evaluating Project Fi and Google’s Giant Plans for Wireless
In a video explaining the ideology behind its new wireless cellular service, Google describes Project Fi as an innovation in connectivity and communication. It’s an interesting experiment to be sure, but just how big of an impact can we expect Project Fi to have on telecommunications?
Google made headlines in the spring when it announced it was dipping its toes into the wireless waters with Project Fi, which will rely primarily on free Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, supported by the Sprint and T-Mobile 4G cellular networks, to establish a continuous network. Project Fi is now back in the news due to reports of high initial demand. Google wrote in an email to hopeful subscribers that it will take until mid-summer for all of those who requested invites to receive full service access, adding that initial feedback has been “very positive.”
The service has earned hype for both its innovative use of technology – with Project Fi, your phone will automatically detect and switch to the best quality connection for your location, whether that’s 4G or Wi-Fi – as well its disruptive service terms. Project Fi is available without a contract, offers unlimited text and talk for $20 per month, plus $10 per GB of data, and includes a credit function that refunds subscribers the cost of any unused data at the end of the month. It’s interesting to note that much of the excitement of this announcement is around data and not voice services, which may underscore the idea that we’ve moved well past voice being the leading draw of cellular services.
There are a few reasons consumers are hopeful that Project Fi will turn the wireless industry on its head – the biggest one, of course, being Google’s reputation as an influential digital disruptor. Additionally, the announcement could not have been better timed, as many consumers are frustrated with the restrictive service offerings they receive from their current wireless operators and are eager for a more flexible and affordable alternative to knock the big players from their pedestals.
At the same time, evidence suggests that Google isn’t interested in a market takeover. The tech giant is known to experiment in the field of connectivity – see its Project Loon initiative and Titan acquisition, which rely on high-altitude balloons and lightweight solar-powered drones, respectfully, to expand LTE availability worldwide.
Additionally, in comments at this year’s Mobile World Congress, product head Sundar Pichai clarified that Google intends to help carriers push the boundaries of wireless, but not necessarily stand alone as a competitive operator at scale.
“Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale, like Nexus devices, so people will see what we’re doing,” Pichai said.
So what can we realistically expect from Project Fi? The initiative represents a starting point in Google’s wireless experimentation. It would seem that the primary goal is to experiment with Wi-Fi-first networks. Could we soon see enough dispersion of Wi-Fi hotspots to make it possible for Google to run an entirely Wi-Fi powered phone service, free from reliance on cell network support and entirely independent to traditional mobile operators? The U.S. is certainly a great testing ground in that respect, as many other countries lack the Wi-Fi density needed to support Google’s experimentation.
Is it possible, too, that Project Fi might help Google prepare for the coming 5G revolution. Many in telecommunications believe that, in order to deliver dramatically more speed and capacity, 5G must be heterogeneous wireless networks built on unlicensed spectrums. Could Project Fi be Google’s attempt to learn what such a network might look like?
Though not completely unique – other operators offer Wi-Fi-first service supported by cellular networks – Google’s signal switching technology and data refunds differentiate the service enough to stand out. At the same time, the project’s early limitations – it’s exclusivity to the Nexus phone and the U.S. – suggests it won’t fully disrupt the mobile industry quite yet.
Instead, Project Fi offers a small platform for Google to experiment, adapt and learn from the technology and consumer behaviours. From there, the company will be able to evaluate whether early results are positive enough to proceed with some sort of larger-scale offering, or if it should leave mobile service to the mobile operators. Either way, Google’s innovative spirit and out-of-the-box approach offers a model for digital and communications services providers to adopt, and the initial excitement around Project Fi underscores Generation Cloud’s hunger for a real mobile revolution.
Download our book, Operation Nexterday, to learn the strategies and solutions that help mobile operators innovate their service offerings and intrigue Generation Cloud consumers.
Posted: June 9th, 2015 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: customer experience, innovation, telecoms, TM Forum Live! | 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.
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out when our Beyond the Event Horizon roadshow is coming to your city
Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: customer experience, Events, innovation, salesforce, salesforce 2014 | 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.
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.
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.