IBM has announced a slew of innovations aimed at helping telcos derive more value from enhanced customer engagement. The new innovations will enable telcos to make technological, operational and business model transformation so as to effectively transition from being network connectivity providers to enabling a rich digital experience for consumers, laying the foundations of an everyone-to-everyone’ (E2E) economy characterized by new business ecosystems comprising organizations, individuals and others.
“With today’s uber-connected, empowered individuals demanding a 24/7 consumer experience and exerting greater influence by participating in more digital activities as they conduct their daily lives, Telecom operators should turn to the latest technologies and draw on their unique capabilities to capitalize on the emergence of the everyone-to-everyone economy,” says Vikas Sehgal, Director, Telecom Industry, IBM ISA.
According to IBM’s Digital Reinvention Study 2013, 63 percent of 1,100 executives surveyed expect consumers to gain even more power and influence over their businesses. Looking five years out, 58 percent of these business leaders expect new technologies to reduce barriers to entry and 69 percent expect more cross-industry competition.
“Most organizations have not fathomed the full implications of a radically different, digitally-charged future. Digital technologies will ultimately drive drastic changes in the economy: value chains will fragment, industries will converge and new ecosystems will emerge. We feel strongly that telcos will be pivotal in this new economy,” adds Sehgal.
Technologies powered by cloud, analytics, mobile and social technologies are having a transformative impact on business models at an accelerating pace. Interactions between organizations and individuals are also expected to keep changing. IBM’s innovative solutions showcased today extend orchestrated, symbiotic, contextual and cognitive characteristics, typical of the E2E economy, and help telcos adapt to this ongoing transformation:
‘Vibes’ for building a collaborative and seamless ecosystem – With “social” fast becoming a revenue-generating business model, IBM Research introduced Vibes, an enterprise social software solution – enabling telcos to narrow down target audiences from communities to individuals. The software does this by analyzing audience interaction on social networks, as well as by cross-referencing their available purchase history, or information about their interests based on other social networking activity. For example, a retailer could find out past purchases of its Facebook fans to better-determine what special offers to make to them. With the consent of customers, businesses can create a community of like-minded-people and ensure better efficacy of their marketing campaigns.
‘Async’, a mutually interdependent solution – The future of interactivity will be symbiotic, in which virtually everyone and everything are mutually interdependent. IBM researchers realize this. Async, a solution showcased today can help telcos gain operational excellence with an alternate content delivery paradigm for heavy content such as videos. This will facilitate a service provider to control when, and at what price the content is delivered to the users. Async can empower users to select from a multitude of price and expected delivery time (or EDT) choices.
‘C3’ ensuring experience is calibrated and relevant to actions and needs – a micro-cloud based solution – Contextual Content Communication – will help telcos enable contextual communication of content in diverse business scenarios for an enhanced and better targeted user experience. For example, a consumer walking into a stadium to watch a cricket match could be specifically targeted with appropriate content related to the match or players.
The increase in penetration and use of smartphones and tablet devices allows businesses to potentially derive data about how people move in a city. This data can be used by businesses and government organizations to strategically optimize operations and maximize revenues. Telcos can deliver such data and insight to businesses. For example, the C3 solution can analyze call records and provide a wealth of information about where, when and how a city moves. IBM’s solution, an end-to-end system with a library of spatio-temporal algorithms, operates on call record data and enables business users to compute, compare and contrast the importance of spatial regions at different times for different categories of users.
‘Watson Engagement Advisor’, ensuring intelligence becomes Cognitive – IBM also showcased Watson Engagement Advisor (WEA), announced globally last year, that can transform the way companies engage and serve customers. WEA can assist a telco’s customer service agents or sit directly in the hands of consumers through mobile devices, cloud-delivered services and online chat sessions. In one simple click, the solution’s “Ask Watson” feature will quickly address customers’ questions, offer references to guide their purchase decisions, and troubleshoot their problems. The solution demonstrates an uncanny understanding of consumer needs in context; continuously listens to and learns from the consumer and delivers personalized interactions regardless of the channel. WEA is also persistent and understands how consumer/company have already interacted previously empowering consumers to take action in an intuitive, fast, more accurate, and consistent fashion at the point of action.
‘To return to the growth of previous years, telcos need to focus their strategic priorities on innovative solutions that not only extend customer insights but also continuously add value to customers and set them up for the E2E economy,” continues Sehgal.