Face it, your customers don’t want to talk on the phone, they want to communicate with you the way they do with everyone else, using text. Sure, this is a generational issue but the young are getting older. Moreover, the parents and grandparents of all those kids have learned something very important in the past decade… If they want to communicate with their younger family members, they better buy a pair of reading glasses and learn to text.
But many companies aren’t prepared for a world where customers text them. Sure, there is chat capability at a lot of company sites but a number for texting? No way. It’s rare to see this beyond a small company where the owner’s cell phone receives the SMS.
This is where TextGen comes in. CEO Thomas Howe, a veteran of tech and telecom spoke with me yesterday about how his company allows texting to be brought into a company the way a PBX connects them to the voice world. He also jokingly said how funny it is that after spending billions to enable the world’s citizens to speak to each other, we just learned people prefer texting.
One example of using the service to streamline a business process is placing unique telephone numbers on printers which customers can use to text to when toner is low. Phone numbers can be associated with specific printer lines or can be linked just to a specific type of toner.
In another example, they worked with Westinghouse Digital to help the company with accurately determining the number of people using the digital tuners in its TVs. You see, it was paying royalties on 100% of the TVs shipped but not all consumers were using the tuners. They subsequently began to require consumers to text in to have their tuners activated. The two positives were that only 10% of the consumers needed the digital tuner, meaning they saved 90% on royalties and the company was able to find out who was using their TVs. This latter benefit was important as the products are typically sold through distribution channels.
TextGen is used in China to perform surveys of local populations and in Africa it is used by UNICEF to help match missing children with their parents.
Using a sophisticated form of middleware, TextGen can translate messages in various languages – can remember questions and answers to repeat them if needed and can work with your company to accurately respond to routine questions. The system can escalate to a live person if needed, can scale, can be programmed using a script (see example above) and finally can ensure your company complies with best practices for texting which will keep you clear of regulators and angry carriers according to Howe.
In addition, it can work with Twitter, Facebook, Kik, WhatsApp and other texting platforms to communicate.
It’s worth noting, other companies I have encountered in the past who are also innovating in the texting market are Nice Systems who is also attacking this customer service problem and ZipWhip which is associating non-wireless numbers with texting accounts.
In the future, we can expect natural language processing from TextGen as a new and exciting feature which should cut down on manual intervention. In the meantime, the company has a great opportunity to bring new models to texting while ensuring people who don’t like to talk on the phone have a way to communicate with companies in a manner in which they are most comfortable.
Here are some use cases
Tags: call center, crm, customer service, facebook, nice systems, sms, textgen, texting, thomas howe, twitter, whatsapp, zipwhip
Related tags: company accurately, texting, company, using, textgen, phone
Copyright Communications and Technology Blog - Tehrani.com
Look no further than the news, whether you watch financial networks or mainstream networks and you can’t help but see stories about Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency founded by what was thought to be a secretive Japanese resident Satoshi Nakamoto. It turns out that reporters now believe he is living in Los Angeles.
All of this is of great interest to me – a while back I penned a piece on why Bitcoins were a better investment than Gold. Since then, the value of this new currency has shot up (and down) dramatically but central exchanges holding the virtual currencies of customers have gone belly up, costing customers millions.
One reason why virtual currencies are attractive to many are they are free from government intrusion. They can’t inflate the money supply and they can’t decrease the value of your investment. Not surprisingly, it seems Nakamoto is not a fan of the government as his daughter describes a game they used to play at home which involved hiding from the government.
Bitcoin has also been a great way for people to get money out of a country when government regulators have made it illegal - places like China and Argentina for example.
Getting back to the media – what you’ll see on TV and online is talk of whether Bitcoin will make it and the answer at this point is not certain. There are lots of competitors and new currencies are appearing all the time. What we do know however is there is a huge need for something new.
We sit at the intersection of technological advancement and economic irresponsibility at many central banks which is causing a perfect storm which will result in a class of solutions I call currency 2.0.
Wolfgang Münchau may have summed the situation up perfectly in a recent piece in the Financial Times when he said:
The combination of financial deregulation and globalisation, national economic policies and a lack of global co-ordination is unsustainable. Something that is unsustainable either ends, or is made sustainable.
The experience of our handling of the global financial crisis and its various regional cousins would suggest that big-system change is unlikely. The G20 and other international debating clubs have achieved little in terms of financial sector reforms and monetary policy co-ordination. The financial lobbies are stronger than ever. Just as 10 years ago, the policy establishment has no clue how to control financial bubbles. Whatever the priorities are of the advanced countries, making the financial system sustainable is not at the top of the list.
If global instability persists it will produce more crises. Whether the next Bitcoin or its successors can succeed is impossible to forecast. But the environment is one in which an alternative decentralised system could flourish.
This is the logic behind TMC’s newest conference Currency 2.0, July 22, 2014 in NYC. Anyone who follows what the Federal Reserve is doing – even casually, (called quantitative easing) understands that when you virtually print $75 billion+ dollars per month to pump into your economy, there is something majorly wrong. Any student of history knows this sort of policy ends poorly every time.
Could it be different this time? Perhaps. But would you bet your life savings on it? How about your children’s economic future? Probably not.
This is just part of the reason why I think the world needs to gather at a centralized conference to discuss the future of currency.
This event will discuss Bitcoins of course but much much more. It will be a place where tomorrow’s currencies are discussed, evaluated and designed while today’s opportunities are explored. Investors, regulators, libertarians and technologists are all invited to attend.
Tags: bitcoin, cryptocurrency, currency, dollar, federal reserve, investment, quantitative easing, satoshi nakamoto
Related tags: virtual currencies, financial, currency, bitcoin, government, currencies
I have good news to share – your company can win something worth millions of dollars and there is no catch. You see, Interactive Intelligence has decided to give away a call center makeover. All you need is a contact center which seems like it would be a good candidate for such an upgrade.
This is no joke as the winner could receive cloud-based CRM and contact center applications as well as phones, headsets, furniture, interior design, consulting services and more.
You have until April 30th, 2014 to apply and good luck!
I just can't wait to see what sorts of entries there will be for this contest... I am sure there are some really ancient centers out there.
Single mode LTE is has gone from evangelism mode to commercial shipments according to Altair Semiconductor as they showed me the new Verizon seven-inch Android Ellipsis Tablet which retails for $249 with no contract and only $10/month as part of your shared plan. This is the first LTE-only product according to Brendan Schaffer who tells me that by using a single-mode device you can save up to $100.
Another product, the HP 11.6 Inch Chromebook is also an LTE-only device and it costs $249 with no contract or activation or $199 with activation and no contract or $149 with a 2-year contract. You can pick this device up at Best Buy according to Schaffer who says the product really maximizes cloud-based computing, extending it beyond WiFi.
This is big news for the company - you may recall how last year I reported about how they were evangelizing the single-mode LTE concept and was discussing network certifications.
Having passed this major milestone of enabling multiple devices in the US, the IoT is now a ripe area for the company where they think they will be able to lower costs over mulitimode solutions.
I mentioned that in many of my conversations with carriers they say they love the M2M space because it leverages their low-bandwidth legacy networks. He pointed out that from a network-longevity standpoint, 4G makes sense - citing AT&T shutting down their 2G network in 2017. Another area where 4G is logical of course is high-bandwidth M2M applications such as remote video monitoring/surveillance.
Expect to hear more from the company about disruptive price points in the IoT space. That is where Altair Semiconductor sees lots of opportunity.
Mobile carriers aren't communicating with subscribers as effectively as possible and as a result Openwave Mobility is providing their MOTIFY solution which solves the problem by using a push notification on iOS/Android devics to begin user-engagement. At that point they communicate with an app on the device which connects with Openwave Mobility's backed system which receives data over the push channel.
The cloud-based solution can be used to send marketing campaigns to users and can then determine the uptake through reporting.
For example, if there is a new video feed to a local sporting event which the carrier wants to promote, they can send a message letting the appropriate subsctibers know.
The system lets you determine what happens when users respond. The Message Builder function is an integrated marketing GUI environment which also supports a preview function to see what it will look like on the target device. Each push campaign can be mapped to specific events such as when they begin roaming or are over quota, dealing with service denial, near quota etc. Basically network charging events can be used as upsell opportunies.
According to company representitive Michael Rodgers (pictured above), SMS is not as effective as the push channel as it doesn't allow the introduction of rich media and moreover it doesn't support tablets.
Obviously the carrier needs to ensure the data communicating to this application is not blocked in a data overage situation.
The company provides broadcast tools which allow importing from an external source allowing you to segment your users via analytics - the company provides such a solution by the way. This allows for example a soccer promotion to be sent to sports enthusiasts.
Rodgers says his company understands user behaviour and the mobile space very well and they have made a tremendous investment in user engagement. They believe this knowledge (and he tells me current customers agree) leads to tremendous data driven upselling results.
"In business as in life, great timing really matters," said John Giere, CEO at Openwave Mobility. "Get it wrong and you've missed the opportunity, but get it right and you are building customer loyalty.
In many emerging markets there is a black market for money, corruption and fraud. It is for this reason that Mer Group has customized its mobile money platform and added budget managent, transfer and dedicated money solutions in addition to current features like person-to-person, payments and top-up capabilities.
One challenge for countries is by the time money gets from the governemmnt to a school for example, part or much of it is lost. To get around this challenge, Mer Group digitizes the money, then requires multiple authorizations and then the budget gets transferred more securely.
Moreover, the post office can act as an agent registering new merchants and users on the system - this is the case in one customer implementation on the Ivory Coast in Africa.
In this implementation, the money can only be spent at authorized merchants - this provides full transparency to the government.
In other implementations, intitutes or charitable foundations are delivering money to countries in aid and this technology reduces the corruption and money laundering problems typically associated with financial aid.
This is dedicated money - what Nir Flatau the VP of Marketing at the company explains is money which can only be spent in a preauthorized fashion - specific merchants as described above.
He went on to say the booming MVNO market in developed regions can utilize their platform as a service to enable proper billing of their customers. Their cloud-based system allows the MVNO to focus on building their business.
Also, in the M2M space, MNOs and carriers are spending lots of money on management systems but they aren't all yet monetizing their M2M businesses. In order to assist in this area, they are integrating M2M solutions and building business models which can be provided by their customers.
For example, they worked with a startup which connects to fruit, trees and soil and over the cellular network communicates with an expert who can suggest whether to increase or decrease water and fertilizer levels. This results in increases in yield and conservation of fertilizer and/or water.
This really enables smart farming - more food and greater levels of efficiency. They beleive this is just one case... They think they can take the idea and apply it to toll roads, mobile parking enforcement, asset managent and security/safe cities. This can then be offered to municipalities, enterprises and others.
The company also produces a HetNet solution enabling intelligent transfer to the appropriate radio/wireless technology.
There are three main reasons to work with the company according to Flatau:
- Local presence in 40 countries around the world - Latin America, Africa, APAC, etc.
- They act as a smart integrator - they have experience in building smart networks and they have connected to many networks already.
- They are very innovative - they see the innovations coming out of Israel and find and connect them in order to help carriers generate ROI.
In a conversation with Peter Lefkin and Michael Krell of the MIPI Alliance at MWC 2014 we discussed how this ten-year-old alliance was started to help camera chips in cell phones have a common standard and has subsequently evolved to over 45 published specifications for things like display, audio and yes cameras.
Formally, the areas of focus are Multimedia, Control/Data (RF/envelope tracking - many analog technologies), Chip-to-Chip (connecting the application processor to other systems) and Debug and Trace.
New for this show is SoundWire which is an interface for dealing with audio and microphones - this interface is better than their existing SlimBus which wasn't designed for a digital, off-platform world (external speakers, etc). The new spec is lower cost, power and EMI. According to Krell, the 285 members of the alliance are the who's who in the industry from handset and chip companies to IP. He continued to say that one of the company's members had invented this spec and was shopping it around. Other companies suggested they bring it to MIPI so it would be non-proprietary and more importantly something with input from others - enabling it to have greater value to the industry as a whole.
This made it royalty-free, just like all the MIPI specs to the members of the association.
In other news - the company is focusing on sensors, they want to make them more power-friendly, in other words allowing them to be powered down when not in use, etc. There is now a working group focusing on this spec which is expected to be out by the end of the year. They think it will be evolutionary on top of the commonly used I2C. Krell discussed how Apple has fundamentally addressed the issue with a sensor hub and he said this may or may not be how the industry addresses the challenge.
From there he discussed the IoT market and how the sensor space is beginning to take interest in what the organization is doing. Obviously the wearable tech market is ripe for this organization as well.
Network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) provide solutions for lots of markets such as mobile analytics, backhaul and others. In backhaul applications, the traffic is tunneled in order to provide confidentiality. In many cases when you need to get access to this data, software is too slow when running on generic servers. In order to speed the process up, Napatech provides hardware which takes this data and makes it readable by utilizing application specific multicore chips in order to provide throughput which is up to 16x faster than traditional alternatives.
Basically you are using hardware acceleration to speed up the software. As you can see from this picture, using up to eight Napatech NT40E3-4 cards (pictured) in a server you are able to get an aggregate throughput of 320 Gbps. This new card was announced at MWC 2014 and it will be released in May, 2014.
Going forward Napatech tells me they are in a continuous speed game with more links and higher rates on each. The company thinks they are better than the competition because they provide better intelligence to the software - serving it up on a "silver platter."
Napatech says they will not drop a single packet no matter what you throw at them according to Daniel Joseph Barry and Erik Norup, company representitives pictured above.
I had a dynamic conversation with Italtel's Frederico Descalzo at MWC 2014 I learned about how the company is providing next-gen solutions for carriers, enabling them to maximize the potential of WebRTC and the transition to the software telco through NFV and SDN.
The company built its own cloud-ready SBC which was more scaleable and better at handling media conversion and transcoding on a session-by-session basis than those provided by typical vendors in the market he told me. In their implementation, virtualized functions for media and signal handling allow the product to scale at the customer prem or in the cloud. He said carriers are concerned about NFV and whether they can deal with IP+IT+telco merged together. As a result, they built an NFV-ready product to be deployed in a virtualized environment from VMWare or Microsoft or alternatively, it can be deplyed as hardware.
With regards to WebRTC, many of the company's customers see it as a threat and an opportunity. Italtel has an application server which works with their SBC to enable existing conferencing applications from Cisco, Micrsoft Lync and Tandberg to communicate with WebRTC endpoints. It is a pure software solution, ready for cloud deployments and has a flexible licencing model according to Descalzo.
The value add that the company brings is in interworking experience and integration with existing provisioning portals for web conferencing orchestration as well as the agility which enables them to engage with third parties to successfully deploy solutions in vertical markets.
"We have two-week sprints for our R&D;," he explained, we don't have a new product every six months. He said this is crucial in a world where browser builds can be updated nightly. Finally, he said hardware solutions cannot keep up with the web.
Frederico says the company is between the tier one companies like Huawei and a startup. As a result, he says they have ninety years of working with telcos, meaning they can move quickly while having deep knowledge of legacy systems. This allows the company to act as an advisor to CSPs in order to indentify a winning strategy to take advantage of the latest technologies.
In order to learn more about the technologies mentioned in this article be sure to attend WebRTC World June 17-19 in Atlanta, GA and Software Telco Congress Aug 11-14 in Las Vegas which has a focus on NFV and SDN.
A very large market for 4G happens to be India but the catch is the population is extremely price-sensitive. In order to provide the country with a solution which maximizes the LTE opportunity for carriers, Pinyon Technologies partnered with Sequans Communications to develop the AirWire LTE WiFi dongle, a unique device designed primarily for home/business connectivity.
Unlike most LTE hotspots, this device is clamshell in nature and packs a relatively huge high-gain antenna. The benefit to carriers is that their towers can be more sparsely located or alternatively the device will use less power. As you can see, it isn't necesarily the sleekest of consumer electronics devices you've seen but it is under $50, works with USB as well, supports 802.11 b/g/n and LTE-TDD. A separate battery pack can be attached to make it a mobile device. The Sequans Mont Blanc LTE Platform which the product is based on provides VoLTE support. This is useful as it is difficult if not impossible to find a sub $100 VoLTE device meaning a carrier can allow a subscriber's 3G phone to utilize the WiFi on the AirWire device to make a tariffed phone call over LTE.
As you might imagine, Pinyon's background is in antenna design and thanks to its technology carriers can have a much more flexible end-user device to compete with wireline service or act in lieu of wires.
Pictured right to left are Debashis Bagcho President & CEO of Pinyon Technologies and Craig Miller VP Worldwide Marketing Manager at Sequans Communications
If there is a drawback besides the lack of a glitzy design it is that the device has no fallback to 3G or 2G. This isn't necessarily a problem but part of my job is to point out these sorts of things. Having said that, this is a great price for a high-bandwidth, low-power LTE device which can power offices and homes, enabling carriers worldwide to address new markets and compete effectivley with wireline solutions.
One of the trends at MWC 2014 was that of speed. Time to market for carriers needs to decrease to keep costs down and allow them to be more nimble. One of the companies at the show, Elitecore Technologies recently announced a win which they credit in-part to their ability to help their carrier customer deploy very quickly.
In fact, Vaibhav Mehta the company's spokesperson told me they were able to deploy their integrated policy, charging and revenue management solutions at Lanka Bell in Sri Lanka to help them roll out next-generation services like prepaid-postpaid broadband, broadband data burst (LTE + Wi-Fi), VOIP, WiFi hotspot, ILL, SIP & VPN solutions.
Mehta emphasized to me that because all three platforms are in one, they could have a centralized product catalogue and subscriber view which decreases integration touchpoints with the various elements in th enetwork. He emphasized that this gives carriers an aggressive time to deploy and launch.
As the race continues around the world to provide next-gen 4G services I would expect many carriers to consider a unified approach to their policy, charging and revenue solutions in order to be first in their locations to start winning LTE customers.
AT&T; recently announced their User-Defined Network Cloud designed to allow customers to have more control while giving them the ability to add new network services in almost real-time in an on-demand fashion. You have heard me drone on about how the software telco is going to be the future of the telecom market and AT&T effectively has confirmed this idea throug this announcement regarding their Domain 2.0 supplier program.
The idea here is to bring more innovation into the carrier equipment space by allowing CSPs to run software on top of virtualized instances on OTS servers, allowing them to have the same flexibility inherent in data centers and typical cloud-based solutions.
The idea here is allowing services like WhatsApp and others to be rolled out quickly on the carrier network in order to compete more effectively with OTT players. This has been the holy grail since the advent of IMS but a little thing called the app store made it impossible for carriers to have control of the applications on their network. As carriers move to a software-oriented architechture they at least will be able to compete more effectively with OTT players which means they have a chance to keep customers and increase ARPU if they add value through innovative services.
"AT&T; is transforming the WAN in the way IT transformed the data center," said Roger Entner, Founder and Lead Analyst, Recon Analytics. "It's an ambitious program and turns the traditional vendor relationship on its head, opening the doors for new, innovative companies to participate."
The vendors so far which have been selected to participate in this initiative are Tail-F Systems, Metaswitch Networks and Ericsson. As you can imagine SDN and NFV will be a big part of this evolution. Moreover, it was last year at MWC where I met with Metaswitch and discussed the transformation of carriers to software telcos. This led us to launch Software Telco Congress which next takes place this August in Las Vegas.
In a conversation here at MWC with Frederick Lundberg of Tail-F Systems, he told me many carriers are looking to explore NFV and new virtualized architechtures but the challenge is to be able to automatically confingure and reconfigure network functions as needed. He said you typically need EMSs or element management systems for each vendor.
This is where their company comes in... They act as a network function orchestrator across network elements.
Their network control system or NCS handles these complexities and further allows carriers to manage legacy to virtualized network transition. Moreover, the system works across OSS/BSS systems as well as 20 equipment providers and he says they can develop support quickly for new vendors as they use a model-based approach.
It seems like the agre of the software telco is closer than ever. These are very exciting times.
Commscope introduced two solutions -
Carriers mixing technologies - have multiple frequencies, antennas, etc. Many carriers are adding remote radioheads at top of the tower. get a perfomace advantage - have active electronics - complexity - rf and fiber optic connections. you have a mix of rf issues. need a maintenance schedule
a remote radio head is not light
3 radio heads at top of tower = 9 radios - high wind load and weight issues
they are trying to simplify this - they reduce risk of errors at top of tower. they are trying to move complex work to bottom of tower.
They went about this with a "standard interface" approach
radio and antenna in one assembly is one approach
talked about all in one solutions
cost the same
how to make simple connection and plug and play
Standard interface launched at this show
invent a new type of connector
plug and play
connections have to be blind mate
doesnt generate passive intermod = interference
capacitively coupled = no metal on metal contact which could generate intermod
pieces pull into place - self seal, weather protected
have a platform - take any radio and use adapter kit - add the kit and transform it to use standard interface. then attach a rail system to the radio
radio attaches to antenna system
like a card cage in an old style computer - replace power supply
time on tower cut at least 35% or more
one fiber optic connection
one power connection
time on tower reduced
maintainability and flexibility
soon up to 6 radios attached to same antenna - now can do 3-4
can replace a radio
system still works
otherwise would take down 2g, 3g and lte for maintenance
Need for wireless data double every 18 mnonths and 80% of the traffic is from inside building but 2% of 30B sq meters of space has indoor mobile network coverage - they have wifi. If 100% have IT/WiFi why dont they have it? They think it is too complicated. Need an RF person ot move RF capacity, scaling doesnt work. want to move floors, difficult to scale it - have to move antennas and coax cable and new radios. Also not flexible.
Unified Wireles Infrastcutre ION-E handles these problems. Has three characteristics. Frequency agnostic. Software defined radio. Take the control panel and GUI on device and move capacity to node you want it to go to.
Unified wireless infrastucture system
can assign different frequencies to different floors
backhaul and transport is dont on Cat6 cable - no coax or fiber.
Master central control unit handles everything.
can add extension racks if you need more capacity
no rip and replace
flexible and scaleable.
Non line of sight wireless transport - interconnect small cells back to macro site
or fiber extension - allow you to light up buildings
determainistic non line of sight performance
works in dense urban areas
fully blocked as well
in manhattan could connect at 70 mbps even totally blocked over 2-3 kilometers
new system up to 250 mbps same type of range
can aggregate 3 of these links using same frequency for 750 mbps
a few meters apart in same general area
they dedicate capacity to every link full bandwidth
they have baseband algorithms using advanced signal processing
self-aligns - doesnt need realigning - self installs
Optimal range of RF spectrum for multipath
sub 6 ghz
fiber extension, residential, enterprise
security cameras etc
A major challenge for wireless operators is managing their networks in a cost-effective manner and one company looking to help with the challenge is Xceed Technologies. I spoke with Bary Azmi CEO & President and Asokan Sethu CTO (pictured right-to-left) of the company to learn more about how their Xynergy Correlation Platform helps carriers.
The pair explained that they take any drive-test equipment data and make it visual and actionable, allowing for business and marketing strategies to be more easily developed. Moreover, the company touts its goal of ensuring the data is seamless across engineering and marketing, allowing these departments to "speak the same language."
According to the company, a large OEM took the company's Xynergy platform and used it to have cross-continental workflow management with up to two petabytes per-day being analyzed. The goal being to determine customer issues rapidly so as to resolve them in a timely manner.
The company's core philosophy according to Azmi is to provide a platform addressing every aspect of the wireless network lifecycle by integrating any type of data into one platform using Xceed's proprietary correlation algorithm which provides actionable and customizable resuts.
A big differentiatior touted by one of the company's customers who I met with at MWC 2014 was their RDL or rule development language based on .NET and C# which allows carriers to to add and/or modify the company's systems while adding analytics. In this way, a carrier can customize the system in a proprietary manner and own the resluting solution.
In one example, a customer was able to take large data sets and create hundreds of rules which sifted through the data in near-real-time to determine if there was a problem with the network. Moreover, with tight coupling between customer experience and network performance, the carrier was able to reduce the time to determine issues which needed resolving.
Sethu explained the solution works across equipment vendors and technologies. Coninuing, he said, "It's a huge value statement to have one vendor working with them all."
In another example, a client wanted to apply a technology across the US which would have required 40 engineers and millions of dollars over six months. Xceed worked with the operator to automate the solution within 4 weeks - while reducing engineer headcount to five. Moreover, the process was consistent and repeatable with objective reports that didn't vary based on engineer subjectivity.
In recent news, the company upgraded its Customer Experience module allowing the customer experience OSS/BSS and RAN data to be seen cohesively to more rapidly determine network issues.
With the growth of wireless networks continuing unabated network issues contributing to churn, a solution like Xceed's which minimizes headcount and automates testing efficiency could quickly pay for itself.
Customers deploying mobility solutions have a major challenge in deploying secure solutions to their clients in a BYOD environment. Enterprise Mobility Management is a growing space and at MWC 2014 I had a chance to meet with Carl Rodrigues, President & CEO of Soti and Roula Vrsic, VP of Marketing to learn about how their company helps enterprises maximize their workflow productivity.
Vrsic said enterprises are looking to maximize the number of applications they roll out on mobile. She mentioned how healtchare is going mobile but we may not have envisioned this trend some years ago. Using the company's solutions, healtchare providers can ensure they have a HIPAA-compliant way of maximizing their productivity.
By providing the ability to detect and block security threats before entering the enterprise network, SOTI's Android+ technology provides an additional layer of defense to embedded security mechanisms used by mobile OS vendors. In addition to bridging the security gap, SOTIprovides numerous management features for Android devices. These features include real-time remote helpdesk, lockdown/kiosk mode functionality, web content filtering, geofencing, anti-virus prevention with multiple remediation options and much more.
In a geofencing example Rodrigues explained a member of the military could have a policy which kicks in when they go on the base. The policy could disable the camera and other features. The phone can then be turned into civilian mode when soldiers leave the base.
Likewise for educational tablets - games can be locked down in the school.
You can also set a similar policy in your R&D; building to ensure you can't take any pictures of sensitive information and leak it to the media, competitors etc.
They also have distracted driver compliance which disables features of the device when driving. Moreover, there is antivirus supports which automatically removes a virus and/or malware. Devices can also be prevented from sideloading. There is also the option to provide we filtering - keeping children for example from accessing adult web content on educational devices.
They beleive wearable tech is a new frontier which needs to be protected and/or managed in the enterprise so we can potentially expect some news in this area soon.
Rodrigues said, "Android device manufacturers are standardizing on SOTI's Android+ technology. They no longer have to change their operating systems to achieve security and enhanced management on their devices. This saves them precious resources and speeds their entry into the lucrative enterprise market. The rapid growth in OEM adoption of SOTI Android+ is evidence of SOTI's commitment to working with our partners to deliver deep cross-platform support. SOTI Android+ enables our Android partners to provide the same level of security and management as Apple iOS, Windows and other operating systems."
He went on to say 35 OEMs have been approved and 25 more are on the list waiting for approval in the Android+ platform. They feel they are really solving the Android fragmentation and security problem.
Carl said they have been investing in Android+ technology for over seven years - putting them on the leading- edge of the BYOD market.
Is Samsung Knox competitive I asked? He said Samsung has containerization technology but needs SOTI to push apps onto and off of devices in an automated fashion. He further says his company's solution lets you wipe a device 24x7 anywhere in the world and moreover, Samsung works with them currently to sell solutions.
Soti also has a secure content library on its supported devices allowing for example updated spec sheets to be downloaded automatically to devices without user intervention. Moreover, the containers can be set apart using policies and templates. Moreover, the containers be virtually shredded - allowing confidential information to be seen temporarily. The container can also be linked to geoware policies allowing access to certain data to be accesible in certain locations. This technology will soon be embedded in vehicles as well the company says.
Another useful policy could be setting a container to self-destruct after three invalid passwords attempts which take place outside your home or office.
In the end, the company feels it is making Android more enterprise-ready through a blend of security and device management solutions which work across an ever-expanding range of devices. As BYOD has increased management costs in the enterprise, Soti aims to make device management much more affordable and streamlined. The bottom-line goal is to make Android as uniform as iOS but even more manageable.
One last thing - expect the company to come out with survey results differentiated by vendor int he future and expect to see some MSP specific news. Keep your eyes peeled on TMCnet.com for more.
The fundamental question which drives all business is did my customers have a good experience today. The bigger your enterprise gets, the more difficult it is to determine. ResponseTek holds the entire organization accountable on a minute-by-minute basis to ensure customers get the experience they are promised. When this doesn't happen, you get big churn rates - which can be as high as 20% in the telecom sector.
ResponseTek connects every customer and transaction point via NFC, IVR, email and text messages so companies can get instant feedback according to Syed Hasan the CEO of the company who spoke with me at MWC 2014 in Barcelona.
He continued by saying companies have to stop looking at customers as averages. He said he doesn't know any person which is 72% happy with a company - in other words, a cumulative score doesn't do it, we need indivual metrics, especially in the age of social media where one customer can have an audience with many others.
"We are connecting 250M consumers at 30 carriers in real-time to their carriers to determine what service level they are receiving," he exclaimed.
Hasan continued by saying that corporations don't want you to know they think of you as an average. Continuing, he told me this is a problem for consumers as well as the front-line workers. When a manager says they want better quality, the front line has to ask for which customers? in other words, they aren't able to get results from all people who were communicated with that day.
ResponseTek allows every customer to become a data point - not an average. And this information goes to the front line allowing instant improvement. Front line workers can now react in a more proactive manner having access to instantaneous feedback.
In one case they have a customer who is able to see real-time experiance levels from 15 countries at once.
He says this data can be very useful as you are able to determine which customer has had a bad experiance and then send an apology as opposed to a pre-scheduled mass-blast upsell.
They just raised $6M in growth equity to expand into Europe, Asia and Middle East. They also hope to get into the US market. Their next goal is half-a-billion subscribers.
He says his company will know more about the Samsung Galaxy S5 before Samsung does because of the instant surveys they do. Moreover they will receive this information in 24 hours. The next step is to update carrier agreements to eb able to share some of thsi information.
As carriers look to reduce churn and boost ARPU, CEM is more important than ever. This is why ResponseTek seems to be at the right place at the right time.
One of the more exciting companies at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona has to be PayPal as they announced their payment solutions are built into Samsung Galaxy S5 allowing you to pay with your finger. Also the PayPal app is built into the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and phones - allowing you to check in at retailers at standard check-out locations or using PayPal beacon. This is the first instance of PayPal in the wearable tech space BTW. The way it works is the first time you walk in to a retailer, you give the beacon permission to bill you and after that, they check you out as you walk by. Your face becomes the password as it shows up for the cashier to verify as you leave.
Retailers can also tune beacon to have less or more range depending on how many checkout lines they have etc. And cell phones don't need to be connected to the internet to process payments - the beacon connects the phone to the internet instead.
I had a chance to sit down with John Lunn Global Director of PayPal Developer Networks at PayPal and I asked if he thinks the company wil be a leader going forward in the mobile payment space. He answered that the company already is, saying, "We processed 15% of worlds mobile payments which is $27B. This is up from $14B and $6B the years before." The company is focusing on providing experiences to make people's lives better he said. We have always been anti-NFC he stated, we don't think it makes things better, just faster. He continued to say, "The worse thing about shopping is paying, so why do you wait in line to do it?" He said, [With our system,] when you enter, your face is your password and when you leave, you smile and wave to authenticate/pay. I asked about the biggest challenge the company faces to which he replied, education. Consumers need to know why they should do it and how to do it.
Brick and mortar stores know next to nothing about you compared to online where they know everything about you he stated. Now, customers will be able to have salespeople waiting with the pair of jeans they tried on the day before. This is a better experience for all involved he proposed.
I asked him about virtual currencies and he said, they aren't ready for mainstream. He continued by saying, "How do you price it?" He stated they are too hard to use as a currency with their current level of stability. They need regulation or a controlling force. Finally, he said he loves the idea but we can't use it at the moment,
I asked about competion from Google, Apple and others and he said, "We do payments well. We aren't a search company. We don't make hardware. We don't have a secret agenda." Finally he said, "This makes a big difference on how you develop products."
I asked if they toyed with virtual currencies at all - they haven't. He said, They are involved in mobile payments and every currency is electronic [in their system] anyways - so there isn't a huge amount of difference.
In other recent news, the company announced recently its new reationship with Deutsche Telecom in addition with 250 previous carrier relationships allowing mobile payment simplicity on their networks. Also, there is a new mobile SDK - a library for Android or iOS. It allows you to use the native app to pay. You don't need to go to a separate website each time to authenticate. You authenticate once and thats it.
As payments move to mobile, PayPal is certainly positioned well as an independent player to support many vendor ecosystems and carriers as a flexible solution which not only streamlines payments but makes the shopping process similar to online in terms of efficiency and customer experience management.
Carriers are seeing challenges with their operations from a predeployment and test perspective as well as monitoring. Moreover, these CSPs are grappling with network monitoriing costs which are scaling in a linear fashion with traffic growth. Heavy users could be using 10x more data on LTE over 3G for example meaning if something isn't done, monitoring costs will go through the roof. This is why many carriers are going probe-less in their network monitoring departments.
Network turn-up time and dealing with the complexity and cost of HetNets is a challenge as well. Likewise, RAN optimization is another other pain point carriers are dealing with.
Finally, 4G extensions like VoLTE, LTE-A and MIMO are other areas of carrier complexity. In fact vanilla VoLTE may not be enough to get consumers to purchase a solution in the new era where Facebook and WhatsApp are a single company. This is why you need to be able to monitor your VoLTE network in a granular fashion.
These are many of the challenges JDSU is focusing on - trying to help carriers manage their networks in a real-time fashion at a much lower cost in a probless manner while maximizing customer experiance through effective assurance.
They beleive that the typical industry real-time definition of 10-15 minutes won't cut it in an NFV/VoLTE world where subscribers react instantaneously on social networks. "In this NFV-world you need to not only have dynamic services but dynamic customer experience management/service assurance," said Tara Van Unen, Sr. Manager, Strategic Marketing. I had a chance to catch up with her as well as JDSU's Michael Tschirret and Paul Gowan here at MWC earlier today.
We discussed how carriers are dealing with increased OTT pressure forcing them to find new ways to generate revenue from their networks. This is why CSPs are looking to use big data to take service assurance data to boost marketing functions. JDSU is delivering Smart Data - part of their xSIGHT solutions for real time intelligence. The premise according to the company is you need open-systems to ensure you can have flexible solutions which work with one another to provide a better carrier ROI.
"Customer experience has to have the ability to react while the customer is still using a service," said Van Unen. She continued by saying with hundreds of alarms going off across a network how can you manage what you need to do with a correlated view?
Tara Van Unen and Paul Gowans of JDSU
This is why they have a multirelational real-time view of the service customers are experiencing.
40% of customer churn has to do with service issues according to Van Unen which is why the company's solutions make logical sense to consider in your network.
As mobile subscriber growth continues, one challenge will remain - spectrum limitations will be a potential consideration in certain areas and perhaps across a carrier's footprint. This is where Astella comes in, the company helps reduce bottlenecks in mobile networks - specifically the radio frequencies, allowing better customer experience. Rajesh Sharma, President of Global Sales & Customer Operations spent some time explaining how his company's tools can determine where the subscriber is, what they are doing and what their experience is. He beleives this is how his company differs from other players which give you broader measures of network quality.
The company recently acquired Ingenia Telcom, a Spain-based company delivering probleless-RAN monitoring. He beleives this compliments their current products as they now can provide geolocation solutions. Moreover, this means the combined company has 2,000 man-years of deep radio-optimization experience.
The company also provides SON-monitoring solutions allowing these self-optimized networks to become more effectively optimized. These specialized tools will allow carriers to better address requirements in a timely way. For example when you have multiple radio layers such as femto, pico and radio access in a building, a SON allows better resource utilization. Ingenia helps manage these SONs to maximize their effectiveness.
In a demo, he showed me how you can look at clients as a whole based on company and drill down to see how their quality is overall and over time. You can drill down to cell sites to see how they are performing in a given location. A carrier can also see what services are being consumed by a particular group. Marketing can use this information to determine how the usage patterns are changing and determine if the customer may be better off with a different plan.
Cariers can also determine which handsets are performing better than others and you can see trending information over time.
Some of the hot areas of growth right now are Europe and emerging markets. He beleives the growth is driven by increased smartphone penetration and also, more 3G and 4G networks being rolled out.
He says having a fine-tuned radio network is key to having a solid network with minimal limitations. He continued by saying radio is an art not a science meaning you learn from experience. His company has done more than five thousand audits giving them great experience in the market he explained.
The bottom line is the company is showing how carriers can see how their customers are experiancing their services. This is a big leap from a survey-based approach to network quality. "This is a more factual-based solution marketing teams can use," said Sharma.
Another differentiator the company touts is radio+core support across 2G-4G networks for marketing andtechnical teams, allowing a single solution to help them collaborate more effectively.
Rajesh closed by repeating how important it is for carriers to get accss to this information and how it is so much better than real-time surveys. For example, he mentioned that giving marketing access to how many roaming attempts were blocked by a specific operator could allow marketing to gain insight as to how much more revenue could be generated via a proper roaming agreement.
Astellia thinks as it educates its market more effectively, more carriers will not only use its solutions but utilize them to bring their disparate departments together as well.