Comverse Discusses the Digital Lifestyle Revolution and How it Will Impact Service Providers

By Laura Stotler December 22, 2014

When it comes to delivering the next wave of communications services, carriers and service providers need to start thinking differently and begin to change their business models to remain competitive. According to Comverse, a company that has spent decades helping service providers layer value onto 3G networks, the next step will be all about facilitating customers’ digital lifestyles.

TMC CEO Rich Tehrani got a chance to speak to Aashu Virmani, VP of products and go to market at Comverse, at the recent TMC Editors Day Boston 2014. The company is now focusing on educating service providers on the benefits of addressing consumer and end user demand and changing their pricing models to shift the cost burden to the enterprise.

“Comverse is at an interesting point,” said Virmani. “We are helping a lot of our communication service provider customers transform themselves into becoming what we define as digital lifestyle providers.” In fact, the company has a business unit specifically dedicated to promoting digital lifestyle education and development as Comverse moves beyond 3G and into the 4G realm. He added that one of the ways they can do this is to push services to a variety of subscriber endpoints instead of the third or quarter of endpoints typically reached by today’s services.

“A nice way for the service provider to take a greater part of the value chain would be to modernize their offering and reach their subscribers on the screen they are holding at that point.” And that’s just the beginning of meeting the demands of customers’ digital lifestyles. The Internet of Things (IoT) and the M2M communications that go with it bring forth a plethora of opportunities for service providers. Tehrani and Virmani discussed examples like using devices to track the movements of the elderly, and also to help them track their prescriptions and appointments and more to take the place of costly assisted living services.

Another use case is actually already in play, with Mercedes’ partnership with Nest enabling thermostats and appliances to communicate with vehicles and take action based on proximity.

“The idea is for service providers to wake up and realize that if they don’t do it, the subscribers are already beginning to lead digital lifestyles,” added Virmani. “The question is how can they quickly react and take part in our digital lifestyles.”

Comverse aims to guide them as they navigate ways to monetize the digital lifestyle revolution. The company has come up with four steps that it has used with more than 20 customers to help them transform the way the provide services. First, they advise providers to simplify their systems using product and network convergence as well as cloud computing. They also support modernization such as going beyond SIM-based devices to deliver services to IP-based endpoints. Providers must also differentiate their offerings by utilizing rich communications services (RCS), WebRTC, presence and multi-party conferencing.

Finally, Comverse recommends a shift in monetization in which enterprises are charged but services are given to consumers for free. This two-sided monetization ultimately benefits service providers and their enterprise customers, who can offer a free service to end users through their own websites and parameters and take advantage of the associated traffic.

While some of these recommendations may seem dramatic, Comverse stresses that the digital services wave is already happening and will be growing over the next five to 10 years. Service providers can lay the groundwork now to prepare for this growth and be ready to capitalize on it instead of falling behind.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

IoTevolutionworld Contributing Editor

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