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January 2017

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    Direct Operator Billing has brought a new era in the world of consumer convenience. Not only do customers find it easy to transact, it has immense benefits for the business as well. The frictionless and secure billing solution is a win-win for customers and businesses alike. 

    Key Features

    The key features of direct operator billing include the following:

    Convenience & Security:

    The foremost feature of direct operator billing is that it results in convenience and security. The convenience attached to the direct carrier billing supersedes all other payment options. For making purchases, customers don’t have to go through the hassle of entering bank details or card details. Moreover, it is more secure than credit and debit card payment since there is no hassle of sharing pins or OTP online. Naturally, this is the main reason for the rising popularity of direct operator billing.

    Enhanced Customer Experience:

    The feature that goes hand in hand with convenience and security is customer experience. Coupled with the convenience of easy payment for purchase of goods, the companies providing direct operator billing integration provide superior customer experience as well. Multiple value added services, experience of handling huge subscriber bases across the globe, detailed analysis of the market and use of analytics help deliver a high quality customer experience which in turn has a direct impact on customer experience.

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    Superior Conversion Rates:

    The journey time from exploration to purchase has been minimized, thus enhancing conversion rates. Purchases can be done anywhere, anytime, even if they don’t have access to their banking information. Moreover, the payment can be made at a later date than the purchase date. Conversion rates, therefore, are higher with the use of direct operator billing.

    Appeal to a larger audience:

    Another key feature of direct operator billing is that it appeals to a larger population, especially the population not covered by bank accounts, credit or debit cards. In developing countries, especially countries in Africa, massive population still don’t hold any kind of banking relationship. The direct operator billing provides a huge convenience to these people. They don’t feel excluded from technological innovation anymore. They can simply make purchases and charge the same to their mobile bill.

    Moreover, there remains a large chunk of the population who are unwilling to share their banking details online. Various incidents of online identity theft are the main reasons for this scepticism. This is where direct operator billing chips in. It appeals to this population who can still purchase their favourite digital item without sharing any of their bank details.

    Opportunity to earn additional revenue:

    With the advent of free messaging and calling services, telecom operators across the world have faced massive revenue leakage, especially call and messaging revenue. The direct operator billing provides telecom operators the opportunity to bring back this lost revenue by acting as distributor of various digital services. Effective partnership and superior customer experience can help these telecom operators add to the top line and bottom line and thus bring back lost revenue.

    Value added services:

    Direct operator billing enables users to make purchases from anywhere, mobile, laptop, desktop or tab. This is a win-win for both customers and telecom companies alike. While customers can make purchases anytime, anywhere, it helps companies deliver superior customer experience. Moreover, most of the integrators, have round the clock assistance, helping customers facing any issues with their purchase. Paying the bill at a later date provides customers with a credit period, which in turn helps them plan their expenses properly.

    The direct operator billing is here to continue. While globally the amount is expected to reach $13 billion by the end of 2017, the prospects look promising. The average purchase value is actually higher than we think. In fact, a new era is about to come in direct operator billing because several companies are exploring the option of selling physical goods through direct operator billing. With the recent demonetization drive in India, this move is but natural and will gain popularity sooner or later. The innovations in the direct operator billing market will be worth watching out for.

    January 31, 2017 0 comment
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    Wireless access and policy control refers to a clear set of rules defining the access levels, rights and privileges.

    The need for wireless security:

    Wireless networks are a boon to every company, especially the ones that have a huge network and would have had to otherwise struggle with miles of cable if they had chosen not to go the Wi-Fi way. Wireless networks allow the employees to become truly mobile, and they need not worry about getting a network access if they choose to move away from their desks and work from any other location where the Wi-Fi network can be reached.

    However, with great convenience comes the risk of great security hazards.

    An open wireless network is accessible by anyone and is dangerously insecure. Anyone can connect to the network and access the sensitive information being transmitted by the other users. This will make the wireless networks prone to hacking and intrusion.

    Any unauthorized access can severely compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive information, and can result in huge losses to the organization. While most of the wireless networks nowadays are encrypted with WEP, WPA and WPA2 passwords, this is inadequate. In addition, a system of access and quality control for wireless networks should be implemented, and that should be implemented even before the wireless network goes live.

    Implementing access and policy control will limit the rights of usage of the employees. Certain parts of the network or some categories of Internet sites can be made inaccessible to the employees. For example, most employees should never get access to confidential MIS reports. By implementing a policy, wherein those files are made off-limits to everyone except the few senior level employees for whom the reports have been created, the secrecy of those files can be maintained

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    Best practices:

    • The access and policy control for wireless networks should be defined and written down in a document which should be available to all the network administrators.

    • The wireless access policy and rules should be clearly decided for every employee or group of employees at different hierarchical levels within the organization.

    • The access policy should be implemented for every new user whose access is granted to the network.

    • Any exceptional request for additional access should be accompanied with proper approvals from their seniors or other approving authorities and network administrators.

    • Whenever any new hardware like router, switch, etc. is implemented, or existing ones are replaced, security hardening would be done without fail.

    • Some organizations might even allow limited guest access to outsiders, but even that should be properly secured by a policy.

    • The encryption, access and policy control, and integrity of the wireless networks should be monitored and audited regularly.

    Challenges:

    The biggest challenge that any wireless network faces is that of unauthorized or through access points that connect to the network and become a part of the network itself. These access points can grant access to any device and compromise the integrity of the network. The network administrators should monitor the access pattern, duration, and activity of every device on the network. They should also tally the IP addresses of the devices to ensure that no unauthorized device has accessed the wireless network.

    Stealing of Wi-Fi passwords is another big threat. To prevent this, the company should educate every employee about the importance of keeping their passwords to themselves and should also enforce a policy to make them change their passwords regularly.

    Enterprises that use legacy devices which depend on the older versions of encryption and access control need to upgrade their network periodically. Using obsolete technology and wireless network equipment is not advisable if they want to implement a strong access and policy control for their wireless network. They should immediately upgrade their networks to the latest Wi-Fi and security standards, if they want to ensure that their networks remain safe at all times.

    January 9, 2017 0 comment
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    The mobile industry has been going through a period of continuous transition for the last 30 years or so. In the process, operators are continuously upgrading their networks or establishing the latest ones. To achieve this, these players are pumping in significant sums of money. However, a number of challenges still remain-the most significant one being competition from Over-The-Top (OTT) players.

    The Changing Face of Technology Over the Years

    The industry has witnessed the launch of a upgraded mobility standard every eight to 10 years. It all started in the early 1980s, wherein the 1G standard based analog cellular system made its first appearance, purely for voice calls and almost negligible intent to support the data services.

    Then in the early 1990s and mid 1990s, 2G/2.5 G standards came into existence and that lead to deployment of GSM/GPRS and CDMA networks. It was a huge success in terms of massive deployments of cellular networks across the globe. From the technology viewpoint, it was using circuit switched technology. 2G/2.5Gbased networks still exist in different parts of the world and this is the standard that gave the real mobility experience to the people and soon became the technology of choice across the globe for operators. Going forward, 2.5G provided users with their first ever data experience on mobile handsets. It supported theoretical data rates of up to 144Kbps.

    Standard bodies soon realized the importance of higher data rates and thus in early 2000s came 3G standards capable of supporting up to 2 Mbps (stationary data access) and up to 384 Kbps (used while moving).

    4G standard based deployments started to become a reality in the start of 2010. They were capable of providing peak download speed of 100 Mbps during high mobility and maximum speed of up to 1Gbps.

    Enhanced user data experience

    People were able to use data on the move with good 3G and excellent 4G speeds. Mobile became a preferred mode of any-time any-where data access. It was additionally supported by the smartphones coming into the picture in the late 2000s. At this time, many application developers started to develop their own set of applications that users can download from internet and start using on their mobile.

    Any negative impact on the operator revenue!!

    Yes… At this time that operators started realizing that they are gradually becoming data pipes. So many OTT applications started being supported on smartphones. People started using these OTT apps for different purposes. Some of these applications directly started eating into operator revenue. These applications include but not limited to chat and VOIP calling applications.

    Operators invested huge amounts of money in upgrading their networks from 3G to 4G or deploying 4G networks from scratch but advent of these some really innovative OTT applications have resulted in operators started seeing decline in their conventional SMS, Call and Value Added services revenue.

    …and on subscribers

    These OTT applications are bringing a set of challenges for subscribersalso in addition to impact on operator revenue. Though most of these applications are available for free or at nominal cost to users, users are concerned about their data security and QOS that are made available. Users need to go through the process of download and install different applications for different purpose. Users first need to ensure that does other person also use the same APP and if yes, then only they could use that APP for communication. It is a big challenge in terms of communicating in a frictionless and seamless manner.

    Step in the right direction

    GSMA has also realized the threatbeing faced by operators and challenges being faced by the subscribers. For some time they were working on creating specification that could be used to provided consistent messaging experienceacross the operators, across the territories keeping interoperability in mind.

    The initiative is supported by many of the leading operators, OEM vendors and OS providers across the globe. The Universal profile thus created is expected to enhance operator messaging and calling services. It is expected to help the operators and partners to come up with different innovative services. The idea behind is that user need not be aware if other person he communicating to has particular application or not. The service is expected to be part of all the handsets coming into the market and people can interact seamlessly.

    So the future is here for the operators to build enriched applications, monetizing the investments made in 4G network deployments and upgrade the existing networks by providing services that their subscribers can use and keeping relevance as the preferred communication provider to the subscribers and effectively compete with the OTT players.

    January 3, 2017 0 comment
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