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September 2017

    digital-content

    Urban population has been increasing at a growing pace throughout the world. This new urban generation is different, not just in their preferences but also, how these preferences are defined and fulfilled. A large share of this new urban population is connected to the internet, especially in emerging economies. The proliferation of smartphones or feature-phone is higher than even the television or radio. And this presents a great opportunity for the digital content providers and telecom service providers both.

    Clearly enough, telecom service providers offering engaging and diverse content to their subscribers will have a distinct business advantage. However, there are two challenges you will need to understand before jumping to the solution:

    • The devices accessing the internet (or digital content) are changing globally
    • The traditional big production houses are not the drivers of digital content

    Devices Accessing the Internet are Changing Globally

    In a 2011 report by Cisco, personal computers found mention as the highest internet traffic grossers. In the same report, it was projected that by 2015 this traffic would be down to 87%. Guess what, by the end of 2016, only 45% of global internet traffic came from PCs while mobile phones accounted for about 50% of it (see Figure 2).

    If you see the device trend for internet access, there are only two segments which have a positive growth rate – Mobile and Other Devices. Other devices include gaming consoles, e-book readers, home appliances, Smart TVs, and every other device (remember the urban living).

    As the growth rates suggest, smart devices like TVs, Gaming consoles, vehicles and security systems will have more share of this traffic in future along with mobile phones.

    What does Digital Content Provider Want?

    Multichannel publishing of digital content has been a major challenge for digital content providers. While 10 years ago it had been a manual process requiring hours of rigorous work, now we have content management systems for the same. Some OTT service providers, like YouTube, are already taking advantage of multichannel publishing.

    Multichannel publishing directly meets almost all the demands of content providers and network operators.

    While a digital content provider would like his/her content to be available to a large audience (often on the global stage), a network provider wants the subscribers to spend more time on the network.

    Solution – Digital Services Platform

    The only way to ensure this is through a centralized digital services platform where content providers and network operators can converge. Such platform will lead to:

    • For Network Operator
      • Access to vast amount of content for the network provider
      • Zero infrastructure cost
      • Lower content procurement cost, as content is sourced directly from the creators
    • For Content Provider
      • Single platform to publish all types of content (including apps)
      • Digital asset management (DAM) for cross device optimization
      • Lower Time to Market (TTM) for content
      • Access to global audience

    Evolution of Digital Content Landscape – Future

    The Type of Market

    A January 2016 article published in ‘Strategy&’ “Understanding digital content and services ecosystems,” authors presented an evolution matrix for the digital content ecosystem based on the development stages observed in the most developed countries (Figure 4).


    As you can see in the figure 4 countries will start from Quadrant II (low per capita spending + low advertising spending) and will gradually move to Quadrant IV (high per capita and advertising spending + good e-commerce availability). As a network provider, you can adopt content strategy best suited for the market(s) you operate in, as per these quadrants.

    Changing Content Consumption Patterns

    Additionally, trends in global digital content consumption show that consumers are shifting from content ownership to streaming content (figure 5). Thus, anytime a user looks for a type of content, he/she is skimming the internet for it.

    Right content, at the right moment, can improve the CLV and help reduce the churn telecom operators. This is possible to achieve for operators with the help of a digital services management suite, which is equipped with real time analytics.

    The results of real time customer usage data analysis can help offer an appropriate suggestion to the user or even pre-empt the search itself, leading to customer delight from satisfaction.

    Opportunities for Digital Content Providers & Network Operators

    Digital content space is evolving fast. Especially with increasing proliferation of mobile phones. Today 55% of the world is connected to the internet thanks to mobile phones. More than 100 countries with an estimated population of 3 billion +, currently have internet penetration of less than 50%. The average growth of internet population in these countries had been approximately 15% between 2015 to 2016.

    Much of this is expected to be driven by mobile usage, and data consumption on or through mobile, presenting a huge opportunity for digital content consumption. A major part of this opportunity can be captured by:

    1. Local Content Providers
    2. Cross device content accessibility (mobile, computer & television)

    The integrated content delivery platforms present an opportunity for brands as well, to source and run campaigns through user generated content (another revenue opportunity for telecom operators).

    September 26, 2017 0 comment
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    a2p-messaging

    Mobile operators have been fumbling to pave their way through the dark alleys of grey routes. A whopping amount of $18 billion was lost in 2016 worldwide, by mobile network operators (MNO) due to the unauthorized grey routes. Grey routes account for two-thirds of A2P SMS traffic. This means that only one-third of A2P traffic can be monetized by mobile operators. On the other hand, mobile operators who are using SMS firewalls or white route have a reported massive reduction in unauthorized messaging traffic. White route A2P messaging is the key to success as it provides a legitimate messaging service which makes payments to a mobile operator for each message delivered on its network.

    A2P messaging can be successfully used to drive customer engagement by exploring various possibilities. A2P SMS sector is projected to grow by 36% on an annual basis, thus having vast potential for the telecom operators to monetize and increase their profits. The following ‘use cases’ will throw some light on the uses of a white route as an A2P messaging monetization solution.

    Use cases on white route monetization platform deployment:

    • A leading operator in Norway has about 3.4 million subscribers. Adoption of white routing has shown positive results in the messaging traffic as well as the messaging revenue. The ARPU (average revenue per user) increased from $0.10 to $0.50.
    • Another MNO in Africa with a subscriber base of 20 million saw an increase in SMS price from €0.002 to €0.016 and an uplift in revenue of €17 million per year after the white route deployment.
    • Leading MNOs in the Middle East have augmented their A2P SMS revenues by implementing different pricing models for different A2P use cases for their users. Using a high level of quality control for the traffic they used a spam filter to direct revenue generating traffic into the MNO’s network. Filtered out fraudulent traffic and ensured that the local regulations were followed. As a result of this, the MNO in the Middle East was able to distinguish the nature of the traffic coming into and terminating on its network.

    How grey routes work and possess a threat to MNOs?

    A global SMS system consists of A2P connectivity network, and in most cases the MNO’s have these approved. The A2P network uses separate connectivity from the P2P network. The main reason behind this is to control spam and grey route. A grey route traffic attempts delivery outside of approved A2P connections into the MNOs.

    Such traffic leverages the P2P network to avoid MNO fees or approval processes. These grey routes also leverage the sim farms that are connected to computer servers instead of mobile devices. These sim farms are an attractive option for some messaging businesses as the farms provide a cheaper alternative. Messages from them may be bounced from one service provider to another to avoid legitimate operator connections. MNO’s block such sim farms and take appropriate measures.

    The mobile operators apply a termination fee to SMS traffic entering their network from another network. This is done through standardized agreements. As there are many signals that flow between various operators, the SS7 networks can be left open.

    In the P2P messaging, the traffic between two MNOs is balanced and hence the termination fees effectively cancel each other. Grey routes take advantage of this in case the originator is outside the country. When thousands of “local” or national phone numbers of SIMs in the SIM-farm are levered, they appear as a P2P message bound for subscribers with a local origination number. Hence the A2P traffic suffers as it travels several hops into the destination operator.

    Enterprise customers may pay a lower price, but the traffic has a relatively low chance of delivery. Apart from sim farms, global title scanning also possesses a threat from the grey route. The fraudsters mimic the GT of the operator in order to terminate on the network, and it is made to look like operator’ own traffic.

    Conversion and integration to white route A2P messaging

    The key to any successful white route A2P messaging deployment is considering various levels of protection and monetization opportunities. Telecom operators should not only consider their current needs but also incorporate their future needs as the industry evolves. Having a partner who provides an apt A2P white route solution will lead to optimal setup and performance for the SMS firewall.

    Infrastructure
    Telecom operators who wish to covert from grey routing to white routing should have the required infrastructure in place. Either a local infrastructure or a cloud based system should be present for the conversation to take place. Operators having the proper infrastructure in place, can easily go forward with the conversion process.

    Legal Considerations
    Be aware of the regulations concerning the filtering practices. Various regulations can be placed by the national regulators. Know these legal considerations thoroughly as there can be restrictions even on the location of the implementation and SMS data storage.

    Business Considerations
    Grey routing makes a huge loss to the revenue, and hence white routing is looked upon as the required solution. Before deployment of the white route, the telecom owner should be prepared with a business plan having the forecast of the expected revenue generation after the deployment of the white routing system.

    Commercial Considerations
    Commercial considerations for the operator will include, having a new pricing policy to increase profits and market share. The policy should not hamper or destabilize the market.

    Technical Considerations
    The conversion process from grey routing to white routing can be carried forward for both the solutions like a local (on-premise) solution or a cloud based solution.

    Operational Considerations

    Operational considerations include handling the processes in-house or outsourcing them. Whatever the operational system is present with the operator, the conversion from grey routing to white routing should be easily done.

    Guide to Deploy A2P Messaging Monetization Solution

    Monetizing the A2P revenue by eliminating the grey routes will provide a secure environment to subscribers and a smoother customer experience. Step by step implementation as mentioned below remains the key for successful monetization.

    Network audit: The MNO’s are advised to do a thorough audit or profiling of their network to understand the shortcomings.

    Implement an SMS firewall: MNO’s must ensure that they have the blocking control in place. They can either maintain the filter internally or can find a partner to get it done for them. Manual filters must not be maintained.

    Connect to aggregators: Some things are left best to experts. MNO’s can connect to aggregators to combat the fraud. It can include some local and few international aggregators.

    Key Elements of A2P Monetization

    1. SMS Firewall

    A Firewalls identifies, filters and blocks unwanted and unpaid SMS traffic. Unless detected, such traffic infiltrates the network and affects the subscribers. Operators are advised to install an SMS firewall considering the approach of monetization. Install a firewall that identifies and filters even the disguised A2P messages that pass into the network through domestic P2P channels.

    Signaling based firewalls have basic screening capabilities and can detect some amount of spam and fraud. It is not an efficient option for A2P monetization.

    Gateway-based firewalls are the on-premise hardware-based solutions. Although they can offer better filtering capabilities for A2P detection, it involves high CAPEX and OPEX requirements.

    Integrated solutions are again in-house based systems offering a limited subset of blocking features integrated on an STP or SMSC.

    Reporting based firewalls have powerful analytical tools, but lack in the blocking function. Hence you cannot expect to the fake protection and MO filtering.

    IP based solutions are specially involved for security and signaling analysis than revenue assurance. Again, they lack in identifying the grey routes and providing faking protection.
    Home routing solution works as a network node within the operator’s network, even if hosted as a cloud service. This solution offers the maximum benefit by efficiently protecting from faking. It also helps in protecting customers when in roaming mode.

    A good firewall solution is critical to achieving full monetization of A2P. Again, the MNO’s should make sure that the firewall setup is updated to tackle the constantly evolving fraud and misuse techniques.

    1. Tracking and Reporting System

    Tracking and reporting system involves a combination of hardware and software allowing the mobile operators to monitor and administer SMS traffic in their network. All the reports are then prepared and analyzed based on the real-time monitoring. This tracking system reports:

    • Traffic received
    • Traffic volumes
    • The originating partner
    • Delivery routes
    • Applicable fees

    Types of Infrastructure for Solution Deployment

    The infrastructure for the A2P messaging solution can be either a:

    • Standalone hardware device
    • Managed service hosted on a cloud

    The conversion for grey route A2P messaging to the white route is supported by both the above-mentioned options. However, deploying a cloud based solutions comes with its added advantage of reduced CAPEX and OPEX. Cloud based systems reduce the cost as there is no requirement of upfront investments in infrastructure and Human resource, as opposed to the standalone hardware solutions. As a result, the overall A2P messaging revenue increases due to low service startup costs.

    A2P Messaging Vendor Requirements

    MNO’s looking to integrate white route A2P messaging solutions should look for the following qualities in the service providers/vendors:

    Global Reach: MNO’s should understand their reach requirements and type of connectivity required. Some vendors are local while others focus on global connectivity.

    Availability: Choose a vendor who caters to the availability requirement of the MNO’s through network architecture, service level agreements and service availability.

    Performance: A vendor’s performance or the scalability can be determined based on the number of messages they process in a month. Comparisons done according to the set benchmark can help the operators select the vendor based on the optimum scalability requirements.

    Quality: Quality can be determined by analyzing the delivery rate of the messages and the time of the message to cross the SMS platform. Understand the delivery rates provided by the vendors and compare the same.

    Security: The vendor’s security protocol can be analyzed through their information security program, the privacy of proprietary or personal data, supporting documentation, standards used and the types of controls used to support general data protection.

    Summarizing requirements for A2P messaging monetization solution

    Converting grey route A2P messaging to the white route is a good business strategy as it helps in:

    • Controlling revenue leaks
    • Generating revenues from enterprise engagement
    • Increasing profits from roaming partners
    • Gaining control over the network traffic
    • Providing a secure environment to the network subscribers
    • Increasing customer loyalty
    September 22, 2017 0 comment
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    It’s been a year since Gartner removed ‘big data analytics’ from its Hype Cycle. The reason was simple, as stated by the CEO Betsy Burton of Gartner Research, “Cloud, big data, etc. are few technologies which have moved pretty fast to the Plateau of Productivity. CIOs and CEOs now understand the uses and strategies which work and may not work with these…”

    We now know that infrastructure plays a critical role in the successful integration of big data analytics into the organization’s strategic performance. The data analytics infrastructure, for any organisation, must support the following keys to success in the big data space:

    • Faster Time to Value: Your big data analytics system must offer insights on collected data in minimal time, even real time if possible
    • Capture to the Omni-Channel Data: You need your analytics suite to provide you insights from multiple sources fluently; i.e. Hadoop data, sensor and device data, social media and even transaction data all at one place
    • Real Time Insights/Predictive Analytics Availability: Insights from the big data analytics system should be available across domains within the organisation to the right people, at the right time, for better decisions at every level

    Well, if you are thinking of setting up the data analytics solution on premise, you could be in for a shock. Setup and maintenance of on-premise data analytics infrastructure with all the aforementioned features has prohibitive setup and maintenance cost. For many organizations, security challenges pose a bigger threat than the cost of the setup.

    Figure 1: On Premise vs. Cloud Data Analytics, Break-up of Costs Involved

    Because of these issues, businesses are increasingly choosing cloud over on-premise data analytics infrastructure. At least the revenue trends clearly indicate it, “In 2015, the market for on-premise data analytics grew only 1.2% while the revenues of public cloud services grew 38.5% marking the start of the cloud era.”

    What is driving this change?

    There are many reasons apart from the cost, although most alternatively lead to cost increments:

    “Expectations are now turning to the cloud as an alternative deployment option, because of its flexibility, agility and operational pricing models.”

      • Scalability
      • Collaboration and Agility
      • Reliability
      • Maintenance and Security

    Expectations are now turning to the cloud as an alternative deployment option, because of its flexibility, agility and operational pricing models.”
    Gartner

    Scalability

    When you are planning for a system that can capture multi-channel (or omni-channel) data, scalability should be your major concern. Just to build the perspective, by the end of 2014 Facebook was collecting approximately 600 TB of user data per day. The 5000 sensors installed on one Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbo Fan (GTF) engine generate 10 GB data per second, round it to a 12-hour flight of a twin engine aircraft it will be approximately 844 TB.

    This is just one perspective, for example, Facebook is one social channel, while the sensors are another isolated channel. Imagine collecting data from multiple such channels at one place.

    Will it be possible to continuously scale up the data capacity? You will also need to continuously upgrade computation capability.

    Scalability is something where cloud excels. In fact, the cloud offers the best alternative for organizations with uncertain computing and storage demand pattern for their data.

    Collaboration & Agility

    Collaboration and Multi-tenancy are one of the important features of cloud based solutions. It implies that the even a single deployment caters to multiple geographies, languages, price points, charging mechanisms, time zones, and currencies, etc.

    Implementation of cloud based analytics solution by ABN AMRO bank has channelized an active route for business through big data analytics practices. The multi-tenancy factor has helped in accelerated development for more than 4,000 engineers and IT professionals.

    Matrimony.com which is into the business of matchmaking has cited the true benefits of big data analytics in collaborating the data. By capturing the customer data from multiple channels including emails, SMS’s, banner, telesales and retail centres, the firm uses cloud-based big data analytics solutions for driving personalized marketing campaigns to match potential partners faster and attract more subscribers.

    The insights from big data on collaboration, benefits all levels of the organization. Senior executives gain tremendous insight into the way the organization is working while accessing to data as it changes over time.

    Employees are benefitted by having better access to data insights enabling better time allocation. This has led to a more productive conversation between managers and employees about the struggle to stay focused on priorities. Thus, the cloud offers reduced latency over on-premise systems for offshore users.

    Reliability & Maintenance

    The reliability and maintenance offered by cloud-based big data solutions have led to its tremendous use in the e-commerce world today. Owing to the data analytics solution provided, Flipkart analyzes 25 million rows of inventory data every day. Similarly, Snapdeal and HomeShop18 have claimed to generate about 30-40% of their orders due to the reliability on the big data tools.

    Cloud-based data warehouses are almost always available. For example, two of the world’s largest cloud service providers (Amazon and Google) offer a minimum up-time of more than 99.95%. Amazon for EC2 Servers and Google for Cloud Storage and BigQuery.

    Security

    When Matt Reidy, director of IT operations at Snag­AJob.com, embarked on a goal to move from a 75 percent virtualized environment to a 100 percent virtualized, ‘security’ was a major concern. However, the company successfully achieved a 100 percent virtualized and secure environment, and while doing so, he cited that “Cloud security is a shared responsibility between the provider and the client”.

    SaaS (Software as a Service) providers, who supply analytics and storage software to the cloud vendors, keep the software updated. For them, it is a continuous fight with the hackers, and since their entire business and brand value depends on the safety of the storage, they put a lot of effort on maintaining the security.

    In fact, most of the recent data breaches in U.S., Bankrate reviewed, occurred on the on-site facilities rather than cloud-systems.

    Often it is hard for firms to keep their private data isolated, especially when they are large, and their decision centres located in different geographies. Also, legacy tech which has not been updated for a while is more prone to a successful hack attack.

    Cost

    Implementation of the big data analytics solution by Kerala Water Authority (KWA) has completely changed the way in which water distribution of Thiruvananthapuram was managed. The analytics solution has revolutionized the way of tracking water meters across the city’s consumption, thereby reducing billing anomalies and improving revenue collection by more than 10%.

    The cost factor is perhaps the greatest contributor to the growth of cloud usage for data analytics. There is zero money spent on infrastructure, manpower or the software development.

    Thus, you only pay a subscription fee based on the capacity utilization for storage and processor.

    Customers can spend up to four times the cost of their software license per year to own and manage their applications. – Gartner

    Cloud providers also have multiple pricing models, which you can negotiate along with the SLA. There are many static or dynamic pricing models to choose from:

    • Pay as you Go
    • Subscription Based
    • Pay for Resources
    • Value Based Pricing
    • Cost based Pricing
    • Hybrid Pricing

    Conclusion

    The cloud infrastructure serves the business proactivity better than the physical products and hardware. Best solutions often come in the package. For example, cloud data analytics is not an isolated or ‘one true solution’ for data warehousing and analytics. Instead, the organizations must figure out the ways to maximize value and balance between security, cost, and efficiency of their data analytics systems.

    Every organization is bound to get the different set of benefits from such systems. The solution for you may include a mix of on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud systems. Getting on the right track with respect to a well-planned transition holds the key.

    September 21, 2017 0 comment
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    financial-perfomance-of-telecom-operatorsTelecom network operators have been grappling with the declining profitability trends and margins across the world. Not just that, the ARPUs have also been declining across all markets without prejudice. Even though the internet traffic had been growing throughout the world, including the emerging markets, the net margins have been declining.

    GSMA predicts that mobile data growth may score a CAGR of 47% over 2016-20 period mostly driven by 3G and 4G network availability. For example, LATAM will see 38% 4G connections by 2020 from 16% now in 2017. Similarly, MENA will be at 19% from current 6% in 4G penetration. The reasons for data usage growth is not just the availability of higher speed networks (read CAPEX by Operators), but the availability of digital content. The growth of OTT players in the arena explains a lot (see Figure 3).

    Additional factors like connected TVs, online PC games live streaming etc. are slowly catching up with the data growth rate. This exploding proliferation of digital into telecom arena is both an opportunity as well as a threat to the traditional telecom business.

    The good part is, few players have already started to evolve and take the opportunity head on.

    The Challenges of New Environment

    • Cannibalization traditional revenues by OTT services
    • Decreasing data prices
    • Increased churn or lower CLV (customer lifetime value)

    The combination of demographics, technology and user behavior, all point to the availability of content as the primary driver of this opportunity. Emerging markets like LATAM, Africa, APAC and the Middle East are all bustling with new users of below 25 years of age. These users are spending more time online than any previous generations.

    More than 2/3rd of this user group accesses YouTube daily, even more than 50% of Facebook subscribers access the platform daily on their cell phones.

    It is not that everything should be optimized for cell phone usage, but that modern users are no longer vying for the ownership of the digital content (limited storage space on cell). The paradigm is shifting to streaming content. This trend, with the increasing bandwidth and lower data tariffs, is only set to rise further.

    Content is The Surf Board

    The wave of change can be turned into opportunity using digital content. Since users are increasingly turning to subscriptions, operators with highly diverse digital content will enjoy an edge over others.

    • Higher User engagement
    • Lower churn
    • Higher data revenues
    • Opportunity for subscription revenues
    • Opportunity for On-Demand Content services

    What Type of Content?

    According to a report published in Strategy&, a PWC mouthpiece, the daily pageviews in the media and entertainment category peaked at 282 per internet user, while in Africa this figure went as low as 32 per user, signifying the availability of local language content. Example of Indian local language content growth story points to the similar opportunity (see figure 4).

    Not just the content consumption, but even the success of a brand’s marketing effort depends on the adoption of local languages. The same KPMG report states that more than 80% digital users are more likely to respond to a digital ad if it is in the local language as compared to English.

    Developing local language compatibility is going to be ever important if OEMs, content providers and network operators are to attract and retain more and more customers.

    Sourcing Local Content

    Sourcing content can be a big challenge for telecom operators, especially when they are operating in as linguistically and socially diverse regions as APAC or Africa. The best possible method is to engage with a digital service provider to cut the content procurement and distribution cost and time.

    Digital content provider benefits both the telecom operators and content creators (see figure 5). Digital content providers offer digital asset management service to content providers, while network providers get access to highly diverse and easily distributable content.

    The platform allows users to generate and share content, all the while saving storage and procurement costs for operators.

    On the one hand, the digital services portal allows global access to content providers, and on the other telecom operators also have access to all kinds of content regardless of their regional presence. Also, due to user shift to subscription based content, switching between operators may be difficult as user preferences and usage history are captured by one operator.

    Conclusion

    Today’s digital environment is for a “global network and local content.” As users spend more time on mobile phones and online than ever before, the operators can use this opportunity to turn from network providers to a more holistic service provider (read VAS). Fortunately, there is no dearth of the type of possible service inclusions – content, government, mobile payments, entertainment, etc.

    September 14, 2017 0 comment
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    The global messaging space is undergoing a sea-change. Going forward, chatbots and artificial intelligence are expected to take centre-stage, while pure-play infrastructure will cease to exist. Aditya Dhruva, Vice President and Head, Messaging and Data Solutions, Mahindra Comviva shares his views on the current trends and likely future roadmap of this space.

    1.  What trends are likely to emerge in the messaging space over the next few years? Which of these are most pertinent to our business?

    Texting is one of the most common activities that is performed on a smart phone. Messagingas a medium of communicationhas evolved rapidly from individuals sharing information with each other to organizations running their businesses over it. From customer engagement to fulfilment to support, a plethora of use-cases are now being significantly served using messaging. People can now chat and exchange messages via messaging  applications but also pay their bills online, transfer money, shop online and do many more tasks.

     When messaging is discussed, it is no longer limited to just legacy channels like SMS or USSD, but covers also the digital world. This includes over-the-top (OTT) chat applications, online-portal based chatting, push notifications into mobile applications, and many forms of social media. As Mahindra Comviva looks to continue its leadership in mobile messaging, the portfolio evolution has to cater to these rapidly changing trends in the industry today. Pure-play infrastructure in messaging will cease to exist. Vendors will need to look at ways in which they can add business value to the customers through on-top services or business management services.

     2.  What are the unresolved challenges still (and likely to) facing messaging over the coming years?

    As person-to-person (P2P) chatting has significantly shifted to OTT applications like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc., the application to person (A2P) traffic has increased at a tremendous pace. Enterprises are finding an increasing number of use-cases that rely on sending messages to their customers either in terms of promotions, or order information, etc. Messaging has become a channel of choice to inform the customer, without unduly interrupting them. The problem that the industry faces is that it will become quite difficult to understand where a particular customer is in real-time and contact him on the most relevant channel. How do the businesses manage all of these from a single place? How do I know the best way to maximize the return on investment (ROI)? What are the customers’ preferences?

    All these are questions are yet to be answered in a convincing way and will take a momentous effort over the next couple of years in creating a suitable solution.

     3.  Is the hype surrounding chatbots, AI, chat commerce and payments justified? Why or why not?

    Chatbots are here to stay. Chatbots are a very convenient way to offload frequently asked questions, support requests, etc. It helps bring in high degree of efficiency, as well as is an always-on assistant for customers. Todaywith advances in artificial intelligence (AI), bots are becoming more intelligent and are able to assist customers better and help businesses with a higher return. Chat commerce advances have been pioneered in China with WeChat and SnapChat, and are now percolating to the rest of the world.

    One of the key areas that will determine the rise and fall of chatbots is the user-experience. Humans still have an edge over bots in this context. After all, it’s not so easy to replicate the complexity and intelligence of a human brain into an application.

    4.  In your opinion, what is the outlook for A2P messaging? Is enterprise messaging the way forward for the domain? Why or why not?

    As indicated before, A2P is not just about SMS. An increasing number of businesses will rely on messaging to communicate with customers. This may be executed over SMS or IP or even social media. It is important that any solution in this space is able to evolve and adapt to these diverse channels and enable both the telecom companies and enterprises to seamlessly engage customers over new-age channels as well.

     5.   How can operators and aggregators tap into the A2P market now?

    Telecom companies are in an advantageous position to offer omni-channel mobile engagement capabilities to enterprises. With their captive subscriber base, and data on their behavior and consumption trends, they can provide real-time intelligence to enterprises for better targeting and increasing the ROI. Enterprises should have the option for self-service as well. Aggregators should look to evolve from not just being bulk SMS providers, to providing their enterprise customers with a holistic set of capabilities around customer engagement.

     6.  What do you think of the threat of OTT being a channel for A2P messaging?

    While OTT is a clear and present danger to legacy telecom channels as SMS, from an A2P messaging perspective, I would see OTT as a new-age engagement channel.

    I see A2P as a means for mobile engagement over messaging, not just on SMS.

    September 13, 2017 0 comment
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    ‘’Image analysis capabilities are increasingly becoming advantageous for providing cutting edge landscapes to the applications in the content based product portfolio. The features like discovering specific content in the Ring Back Tone application through artist/singer image, adding moderation capabilities to content management systems, filtering user generated content for any ‘explicit’ content and enhancing Augmented Reality based application are some of the upcoming innovations in the Artificial Intelligence domain.’’

    There’s no doubt about it-Deep Learning-based image analysis has come to the fore. Deep learning is a branch of artificial Intelligence that identifies patterns in data. That data could be images, sounds, the list is endless. What caused this rise? Simply put; the increased and enhanced performance of computers and associated algorithms.

    Take a look around you-multiple organizations are investing heavily on building artificial intelligence capabilities to improve upon algorithms for image analysis capabilities. In fact, it isn’t a secret that several startups are also expanding in the artificial Intelligence domain and are working on building image analysis competencies.

    A few of the organizations have started offering image analysis capabilities in the form of readily available services over open APIs. These organizations are continuously refining the algorithms and upgrading their image catalogue so as to increase the performance and accuracy of the results and avoid any overhead on application developers.

    The convenience of the image analysis capabilities over open interfaces have brought immense opportunities for many organizations to come up with diverse features to their existing content based products and applications. This, naturally, provides an innovative edge to products and enhances the end users experience. The integration of these capabilities through open interfaces into the existing products and applications reduces the development life cycle, speeds the time to market and at the same time enriches the product experiences through innovative features.

    Just to give a glimpse of how the image analysis can provide an edge in existing products or help in building innovative product altogether, some exciting product enhancements are listed over here. I am sure the list may go endless but they should be adequate to give you a prevue of how the applications can be enriched by using the AI capabilities.

    • Applications supporting Image based search

    One of an attention-grabbing use case is to add the image based search to the current set of content based applications. If you see a picture and just desires to do search based on that, no necessity to enter that object description or celebrity name etc. You just need to open the application interface to click at the image search option, point the camera to the object/artist or the famous person that you want to get information for and just click at it.

    • Adding image moderation capability to content management systems

    In the content management system, the content providers can upload the content, associated meta-data and then share the content/metadata to different applications for consumption. Through image moderation capability, it is possible to notice the ‘explicit’ content which may not be appropriate for some applications.

    • Adding more authenticity to the attendance management system

    One way to improve the attendance systems are to let the attendance system pre store the images of employees and compare the image of the person punching the card to the pre-stored data and check if the card punched indeed corresponds to the person punching it.

    • Image detection based surveillance

    The surveillance system can detect the movement, takes images and compares it to the fed information in the system. If it detects some movement that does not compare to the fed images, it raises alarms.

    • Kids’ Education Applications

    In the coming years, image analysis can play a huge factor in education sector and help children learn quickly by using their phone, pointing it to different objects and get to know about them various details.

    Suggestion from my end for the organizations exploring to get the image analysis based functionality into their products, is to gauge the market by quickly integrating the functionality by creating prototypes, demo it to the intended customers and getting their feedback to fine tune and eventually make their products future ready.

    One thing is for sure that the image analysis based experiences are there to stay. Different organization will come up with different innovative ideas to build their product portfolio more robust. Need to wait for some time before it makes inroads into our life like many other innovative things that we are now get used to of.

    September 1, 2017 0 comment
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