Tag Archives: mobile

Red Hot Opportunities for Communications Providers in 2013

As we look back on 2012 and forward to 2013 there are a few key opportunities that are becoming front and center for communications service providers (CSP) in the coming year and beyond. CSPs of course are still struggling with OTP (Over the Top) solutions as well as consolidation and price competition from innovative players like Free in France. But there is also significant opportunity.

 

NaaS (the Network as a Service). First and foremost the most valuable asset that a provider has beside the mountain of customer data (big data anyone?) is the network itself. CSPs should be looking to unlock their network with lightweight services that can be offered easily and simply to a wide customer base. With the proliferation of software ‘app stores’ independent as well as large developers have created a massive demand for mobile, location and network related activities to make their software work better. Companies like AT&T have already begun to do this with their Network API developer network. The untapped revenue opportunity for an already sunk cost for CSPs is huge in this area and the advent of mobile lightweight devices and cloud-based solutions is making NaaS red hot in 2013.

 

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). CSPs are knows as communications and telephone companies. They also have a large amount of experience in managing and deploying mobile devices on a massive scale. I was at MobileCON this past Fall and BYOD was THE topic of choice for companies out there looking to manage a huge influx of devices from their employees. IBM is now managing over 100,000 BYOD devices for its own employees. However, most companies haven’t got a clue as to how to manage their BYOD problem. This is where the CSP can help. CSPs have a great opportunity to provide this level of service to corporations, universities, school systems and governments. BYOD is coming and will be red hot in 2013.

 

Social, Mobile & Personal. For years CSPs have talked about the 360 degree view of the customer and enhanced customer experience but most of them haven’t been able to achieve either one with consistency. CSPs need to start embracing their customers where their customers live – which is increasingly on mobile devices in complex social environments. While social commerce is still struggling to get out of the gate, there is evidence its influence is growing and it will increase throughout the year. Mobile commerce is booming and customer self-service capabilities are becoming table-stakes for CSPs and the ability to support personalized and directed offers for customers is critical for success in the new marketplace. This cannot be accomplished without a focus on customer insight and campaign management capabilities within the organization. Social, Mobile & Personal engagement with customers is going to be red hot in 2013.

 

There are certainly plenty of other opportunities for CSPs in 2013 but addressing any of the three listed here could be a significant impact to the bottom line in 2013.

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Mobile: The Tip of the Spear for Electronic Commerce

I was speaking at MobileCON 2012 in San Diego a week ago and it was amazing how many people were talking about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and how prevalent smartphones have become.

Palm VIIMy first wireless device was the Palm VII in 2001 and while it was very cutting edge for the time, using it to perform more than basic functions like reading e-mail or news updates was arduous. I did it because it was ‘cool’ and I didn’t mind spending three times as long to do something like order movie tickets than it would take through traditional methods. My wife, however, would never think of paying a premium for technology just for the sake of being cool in a nerdy sort of way and that’s what ‘smartphones’ were up until 2007.

When Apple released the original iPhone all that changed. All of the sudden the use of a ‘smartphone’ was so easy and so intuitive that it’s use no longer slowed us but now made us more efficient. The massive adoption of iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices has finally given rise to the possibility of real-time personalized, location-based marketing and commerce experiences because we have become fully committed to our mobile phones.

Today we are so intrinsically tied to our mobile devices and we are loathe to part with them. There are over a billion smartphones in use today and 84% of us say we couldn’t go a single day without our smartphone. 65% of us would rather leave our lunch at home versus our smartphone and half of us would rather leave our (real) wallet at home instead of our smartphone.

Mobiles have truly become a part of us and retailers and marketers needs to take advantage of that in new and innovative ways. New approaches to making the shopping experience easier and providing more suitable offers for the consumer; ways that increase their efficiency and make their lives simpler.

Augmented Reality for In-Store OffersIdeas like geo-fencing like BestBuy to provide real-time contextual offers to customers who are in the proximity of a location at a certain time. Or providing the ability to create shopping lists online at the desktop or mobile and then being directed through in-store mapping to efficiently pick up those items. Or going beyond bar code scanning to ARISTO (augmented reality for in-store offers) like Wal-Mart providing real-time product updates and pricing in a visual manner within the store.

How about gathering sentiment and consumer data directly from your customers, their tendencies and habits as well as their opinions and choices? A plan for big data and real-time  analytics to gather insight about the customer helps deliver more precise offers that have more meaning and are more likely to be accepted.

How is your company using the mobile devices of your customers as the ‘tip of the spear’ for your personalized commerce initiatives?

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Hey Mr. Telco – Apple is Getting Ready to Scoop You Again!

Sometime in early October 2011 Apple is going to release the iPhone 5 and along with it iOS version 5. The concern for communications service providers (CSP) raised most seems to be around a feature called iMessages, which allows instant messaging between all iOS devices and perhaps all MacOS devices. I believe the impact of iMessages to CSPs for this services for a number of reasons will be almost imperceptible in revenue and data traffic.

There is, however, another feature being released with iOS 5 that will have a much more drastic impact on CSPs from both a customer value and a network data standpoint – iCloud.

I speak to a lot of communications service providers (CSP) and most of them are hyped up about the idea of offering services ‘in the cloud’ to their customers to enable quicker time-to-market and more flexible and cost-effective long term benefits. They seek to provide enterprise class hosting, storage, order management, HR services, CRM and other traditional enterprise class applications. All great ideas and they are all hard at work with their heads down – and they are all doing the exact same thing.

To date not a single one has indicated to me that they have any initiatives to offer cloud services to their consumer market customers. Of course consumers are interested in different capabilities and have different needs – but the cloud value is the same, ease of implementation, low startup cost and the ability to disperse the cost over an extended period of time. And ‘stickiness’, the ability to have a customer’s digital lifestyle more tightly tied to them. While the leaders of CSPs continue to list over-the-top providers (OTT) like Google, Hulu and Apple as one of their top concerns they continue to miss opportunities to re-take the value position through innovation and insight.

There are over 200 million iOS devices out there so it is entirely conceivable that Apple is going to enable consumer-class cloud services for up to 50 million users overnight – and every single one of them is going to be able to store and stream digital media from this service. This has the potential to have a significant impact to CSP data traffic with ZERO opportunity for more revenue outside of tiered data plan growth which CSPs are routinely villified for. And that’s just a start, once the customer is connected even more with iTunes via iCloud Apple has the ability to offer cloud services beyond storage and streaming.

Communications retailers must learn to think about game-changing approaches that differentiate themselves from not only their traditional competitors but from the new ones as well.

 

 

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