Home Asia-Pacific III 2012 The rise of machines

The rise of machines

by david.nunes
David BurksIssue:Asia-Pacific III 2012
Article no.:7
Topic:The rise of machines
Author:David Burks
Title:VP for APAC and MEA
Organisation:Orga Systems
PDF size:282KB

About author

David Burks is Orga Systems vice president (VP) for APAC. David Burks’ 25–year career includes broad experience within the software and services industries, both in the US and Internationally. He has held senior positions at IBM, Lucent and British Telecom, as well as several ISV’s, especially those specialising in BSS and OSS domains, including Kenan, Metasolv, Vallent and Objective Systems Integrators. Having spent the past 20-years living and working in Singapore, David has a keen understanding of the regional markets and enjoys strong relationships with operators, ISV’s and system integrators. As VP APAC and MEA, David is now responsible for Orga Systems’ regional growth strategy.

Article abstract

The evolution of charging and billing in Telecom has enabled operators to move to real-time convergent technology and support machine to machine (M2M) communications. However, ‘Connected Living’ impacts on other industries, like utilities, automotive and transportation, who are also implementing M2M solutions. The best billing solutions for them are those that were developed for the Telecom industry. The big challenge for these industries, which traditionally have not sought new features before, is to find further M2M services and entice customers through attractive offers. These services need to be monetised and add value while personalising the customer engagement. The new real-time billing machine is perfect for that.

Full Article

Living in a connected world has had an enormous impact on the telecom industry. Despite being given a cursory lick of next generation paint every year or so, legacy charging and billing models can no longer support the myriad of increasing complexities required by operators and subscribers. It is not just outmoded technologies fuelling demand for better services from telcos – it’s the way most operators run their businesses. They are still running all-you-can-eat flat-rate tariffs to appease consumer demand for anytime-anyplace services. That has led to huge bandwidth and traffic handling issues for incumbent telcos and it’s driving down profit margins while creating service issues for some of their subscribers.
In the mobile space alone, leading analysts predict an eighteen-fold increase in broadband traffic between 2011 and 2016, reaching 10.8 exabytes per month by 2016. That’s a massive traffic and data management pain point, and many telco operators don’t have the infrastructure to deal with it. Extrapolate that beyond mobile broadband and the figures are even more formidable. So where does this snapshot leave the telecom industry? – It is banking on the evolution of charging and billing, and the rise of machine to machine (M2M) communication to take hold.
Next generation real-time charging and billing
Legacy payment models are being replaced by real-time charging and billing solutions, offering telco operators monetised services and scalable, customer-centric facilities designed to incentivise subscribers through flexible tiered payments, personalised engagement and value added services.
These next generation charging and billing technologies would not be viable without M2M – the invaluable connective solution for telco operators which has exploded on the scene in our connected world. In fact, Cisco reports predict M2M connections will increase from 81.8 million in 2011 to almost 217.5 million in 2015. That makes M2M one of the biggest wireless growth sectors. The trajectory of M2M has left most future gazers polishing their crystal balls in bafflement. That’s because it’s being used in a disparate array of industries as a solution that no analysts had predicted. Why? ‘Connected Living’ doesn’t exist in a hermetically sealed telco vacuum – it has an impact on an eclectic array of industries including utilities, automotive and transportation. Now the worlds of telcos, utilities, automotive and transportation telematics have collided with M2M, creating a cross-industry convergence that’s looking to real-time charging and billing to manage their diverse range of stakeholders.
A convergence of factors has made the rise of M2M possible. We all know a smart mobile connected device is the communications platform du jour with most of us hooked up to smartphones and tablets for work and play. While it’s big now, it’s only going to get bigger. According to Machina Research, the number of devices connected to short range or wide area wireless networks worldwide will almost triple over the next ten years, from 9 billion in 2011 to 24 billion in 2020,
With so many mobile connected devices to service, it’s only logical that the growth of mobile payment models will expand in tandem – and so it is. According to Smith Point Analytics, mobile payments for goods are expected to total over $750 billion worldwide by 2015 and will soon take over credit card sales. Those payment systems include everything from near-field communications (NFC) and QR (Quick Response) codes to mobile point of sale and the humble SMS, offering a payment pipeline to make M2M a viable economic reality. The success of Apple and Google’s apps markets was a compelling catalyst, helping to jumpstart consumer demand for mobile payment models that are now rolling out and being tailored for these very different industries.
M2M challenge
As early adopters of M2M solutions, these collective industries traditionally don’t know how to maximise the impact for their business strategies and their customer needs. Historically, utilities, transportation and automotive industries have never had to engage their stakeholders by developing relationships with their end-users. Aside from a bill through a door at the end of every month for utilities companies, most of these industries simply didn’t have any value added services because their businesses didn’t need any. However, connected world M2M solutions have effectively turned these disparate industries to Communication Service Providers (CSPs) with an entirely new remit bolted on to their existing business models – something most of those industries have to learn from scratch, on the fly.
Like any business with a vested interest in M2M, these industries need to offer monetised services through maximised revenue streams. They need to design solutions that capitalise on M2M to give their customers services they wouldn’t otherwise have. In such a competitive environment, adding real-time charging and billing models that use M2M are vital to keep investors and shareholders happy while keeping customers loyal.
The big challenge then for these industries is how to adopt and manage M2M: How to provide the best use of added value through extra services; how to handle customer data better though real-time convergent charging and billing; and finally, how to incentivise offerings like personalised mobile marketing for connected solutions.
Telcos answering the call
This is where the telco industry steps in. While these industries are different, the business needs are the same as the telcos’. Therefore, different industries have started to integrate real-time M2M charging and billing solutions, which are tried and tested telco technologies. Telcos have had a head start in the connected world. They are using real-time charging and billing with management of information and customer data to create better revenue streams through personalised services. These telco specific technologies also offer better scalability to deal with the vast amount of connected devices. They can deal with tiered tariffs and have a built in flexibility, offering these industries better services.
Out of all telco stakeholders, it’s mobile operators that are uniquely placed to bring about connected life. They own and manage advanced mobile networks, have scalable customer relationship management (CRM) and billing systems, distribute and provision large numbers of devices and are accustomed to partnering with other companies. That’s why utilities, automotive and transportation telematics companies are turning to mobile operators providers to deploy the same M2M charging and billing infrastructure that they have been using as proven and road-tested technologies. Mobile operators also have what it takes to deliver those services efficiently, securely and cost-effectively. That’s because they offer an end-to-end package with network scalability, interoperability, real-time quality of service and the security of both the networks as well as devices attached to it.
If utility industries want to make the most of their M2M services, they need IT-based networking solutions designed to help them overcome these challenges. In the utilities sector, M2M growth will be driven by demand for smart metering to help energy providers meet regulatory requirements by reducing carbon emissions. Using real-time M2M smart energy management systems, providers can regulate energy use for their consumers by helping them make decisions that store energy during peak times for use in off-peak times – at a stroke, creating a more cost-effective model for energy consumption.
These systems break down customer usage information on a granular level, providing vital information for companies to manage users and services. However, utility companies also need to know how best to manage services, maximise revenue, look after huge volumes of data and traffic, and keep customers loyal. That’s why so many are turning to mobile operators to help them install M2M solutions. Real-time charging and billing from mobile operators becomes essential for utilities to handle smart meters and M2M deployment. They provide real-time data processing, dynamic tariff management and close customer interaction.
The automotive industry has seen the rise of M2M though connected smart cars using intelligent transportation systems (ITS). Analysts claim that 90% of new cars in 2020 will have some form of in-vehicle connectivity, adding US$600 billion to the connected life economy. One of the biggest M2M uses will be revenue generation through areas like tracking logistics. Again, automotive organisations are turning to operators to map M2M solutions to their workflows. Some well-known luxury cars manufacturers have already signed up to include real-time billing and customer management information, which will include statistics about your car for driver self-care.
Thanks to the evolution of real-time charging and billing, the automotive industry can now provide a host of M2M solutions, from in-car service innovations with media rich applications and mobility products like smart car rental schemes to on-board infotainment services.
Transportation telematics
Similarly, the transportation industry has been relying on telco providers to offer M2M telematics services, providing telco technology to charge, manage and monetise services. It is set to explode – leading analysts claimed that transportation telematics will have the biggest growth rate for M2M applications, going from 90 million global connections in 2010 to 1.4 billion by the end of 2020. That’s bigger than any of the other nascent M2M industries and will set the benchmark for fully integrated telco provider solutions.
Not only have the solutions been used for real-time tracking and automated monitoring of fleets and value added services like road charging, M2M has also been used in GPS systems to track or charge vehicles by using real-time monitoring. Their customers include anyone from highway authorities and travel information services to government departments. Major global players in logistics, Sat Navs and car manufacturers, have already been trialling these M2M services and other big brands are signing up to roll the technology out.
The evolution of charging and billing has created some exciting new M2M applications and industries in our connected world. We’re seeing technology from telco providers deployed in diverse areas that have been hard for analysts to predict. We can’t wait to see where utility companies, the automotive industry and transportation telematics take the technology in the future. We can’t wait to see how M2M is deployed by other industries looking for connected world solutions.
Whatever applications M2M has in different industries, they will be managed by real-time billing and charging telco technology. Using these converged telco platform is the most cost-efficient, scalable and flexible way to handle M2M communications. They provide monetised and value added services that aren’t possible on other platforms. More importantly, they help the new M2M industries build better services because they get a better understanding of their customers – the most valuable asset any business can have.

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