Category Archives: Customer Experience

The big data trade-off: who’s ready to sign up?

200423841-001Managing big data was so last year. In 2014, the challenge for service providers will be how to extract value from the vast amounts of personal subscriber data that they hold ‒ but without raising concerns about any abuse of their personal information. It won’t be easy. Take AT&T’s launch this week of its ultra-fast, U-verse network with GigaPower (an astonishing speed of 1 Gigabit per second) in Austin, Texas. GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham noted that in return for subscribers signing up to pay a lower price for this all-fiber network service, AT&T was planning to use these customers’ individual web […]  More >>

Can service providers catch a ride in the connected car?

hitchhikingWhen I was a kid, K.I.T.T from Knight Rider was the coolest car on TV. Long before MTV pimped anyone’s ride, K.I.T.T was fully loaded with artificial intelligence, GPS capabilities, multiple screens, and car-to-watch communication capability to help Michael Knight stop the bad guys from carrying out their nefarious plots. Back in the early 80s, K.I.T.T. was pure science fiction. However, today’s connected cars are turning science fiction into reality. Audi recently launched the S3 Sportback, the first car to market that uses 4G LTE technology to connect the car to the Internet. Audi expects it will increase the options […]  More >>

Be prepared for Wi-Fi’s hard hits

Matt at WBAThe first day of the WBA Wi-Fi Global Congress in Beijing featured plenty of optimism about the future, but today, the gloves came off.  Derek Peterson, senior vice president of engineering for Boingo, started off the morning with a summons when discussing Boingo’s launch of the first commercial Next Generation Hotspot (NGH), located at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. “We’ve challenged the operators and the manufacturers and everybody to come, and let’s play!” said Peterson. Mike Roudi, senior VP of commercial development for Time Warner Cable, escalated things another notch when discussing late entrants into the Wi-Fi arena. “Feel free to take […]  More >>

You scratch my back and I’ll… give you free Wi-Fi

Stuck in the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas (there are worse places to be stranded) and you want free Wi-Fi? No problem: just use your Facebook login details to get online over the hotel’s Wi-Fi networks. In a pilot program being run at MGM (and other Cisco enterprise wireless customers), a Facebook-Cisco Systems partnership has developed a Wi-Fi technology called Facebook Wi-Fi Service that lets customers trade their Facebook data for free Wi-Fi access. Chris Spain, a VP in Cisco’s enterprise networking group told GigaOm’s Kevin Fitchard that consumers are increasingly expecting Wi-Fi to be free when they visit restaurants, […]  More >>

Is customer care the dark horse of the tablet race?

video chatWhen everyone talks about the competitiveness of the tablet space, it’s usually around tech specs, price and the app ecosystem. Sure, the iPad doesn’t have the best price or technical specs compared to the competition, but one will argue it has the most diverse App Store in the market. And Google has the Nexus 7 with a great price, but a more fragmented app ecosystem. It didn’t strike me until recently that there is another key differentiator in the race for market share outside of these factors, and that’s customer care.  More >>

When it comes to telco innovation, we all have to start (up) somewhere, but where?

light bulbThough we tend to think of Silicon Valley as the ultimate place to be for any new startup, Saul Singer, co-author of the influential bestseller Start-up Nation, has a different view. At a recent lecture I attended, he advised that: “being located outside of Silicon Valley can be an advantage today.” Singer believes that many of today’s most interesting problems that need solving exist in developing countries, which he refers to as the “Majority World”. That’s because dealing with limited infrastructure – whether it’s access to banking, broadband connectivity, public transportation or other services – can actually drive innovation to […]  More >>

Is it time for a digital detox?

relaxRandi Zuckerberg called it exactly right. In her recent roundup of the top 10 social media trends, the former Facebook chief marketing officer said it was time for a digital detox, arguing that people need to understand that while “the phone is an amazing tool…  we own our devices, they don’t own us.” Picking up on the same theme, Alice G. Walton recently wrote in Forbes that our dependence on mobile technology could be harming our mental health, noting: “It may be time to take the workday back, at least in part, and when it comes to responding to a […]  More >>

The next billion-dollar business

house moneyThe launch of AT&T’s home security and monitoring service last week should set the alarm bells ringing for traditional home security suppliers. Initially the Digital Life service is only being rolled out in 15 US markets, but AT&T has big plans for disrupting the $18 billion US home security market. As Glenn Lurie, head of AT&T’s Emerging Devices team, explained to USA Today’s Edward C. Baig: “We want to make this our next billion dollar business.” AT&T is not the first service provider to enter this market in North America  – Comcast has its Xfinity Home monitoring service and Verizon […]  More >>

And the Golden Globe for Best New TV Show goes to…Amazon!

With Amazon and netflix taking on established content producers, we might see some completely new faces at next year's award ceremonies...Whether you hate Game of Thrones, love Mad Men, get irritated by Suits or were annoyed when Arrested Development was cancelled, don’t you sometimes wish that you could be given the chance to decide which TV shows actually get made? Well, now you can. Not satisfied with being the world’s largest Internet retailer, Amazon has now made a move into broadcasting by creating 14 of its own pilot TV shows and posting them online for users to watch for free and give feedback as to which they like the best.  The Amazon Studios production company will then decide which projects […]  More >>

Would you like some omni convergence with your latte, sir?

coffee moneyJust when you were getting used to “convergence” which was about bundling prepaid and postpaid services together or supporting voice and data on a single system, meet omni convergence. Because if you and I want to enjoy the real-time, intuitive connected experiences of the very near future – regardless of the device (from smartphone to connected car ), technology or service you’re using to access it – omni convergence is behind it.   And the implications it holds for your service provider? They will need to be able to support it and think about launching differentiated data services that focus […]  More >>

Surprise! (OTT life isn’t as great as you might think…)

Is competing against OTTs a thing of the past?Imagine I’m a service provider and that I’m holding a great party at my house, but I end up getting locked out and when people leave, they start to take my stuff with them. That’s a (very) simple analogy of what an OTT (over-the top) player usually means to service providers who, despite investing billions in enabling the connectivity that we take for granted, don’t see a return on the services or the apps that are being used over the top and congesting the network. On top of this (pardon the pun), OTT is also having an negative impact on their […]  More >>

You don’t need Mad Men to promote your business (Try net promoter scores instead)

Personal recommendations are more powerful than advertisingIf you thought the best way to secure brand loyalty these days is smart advertising, think again. According to Fred Reichheld’s  best seller, “The Ultimate Question”, no question better defines how loyal you are than: How likely am I to recommend my service provider to a friend or colleague? This is what carriers like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA are focusing on understanding (and acting upon) by trying to increase their net promoter score – an index premised on the fact that customers’ satisfaction and loyalty can be measured, as well as compared. And there’s definitely room for […]  More >>

The multichannel experience: Did it all start with Amazon?

Amazon changed the way we shopWhat do you think of when you think of “Amazon”: the Kindle? Online shopping? eBooks? Cloud web services? Convenience?  Well, how about their very own brick-and-mortar retail stores, because according to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: “We would love to open Amazon retail stores” While the idea of Amazon setting up an additional sales channel in this form may be surprising, but as Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos explained in an interview with CBS, that’s actually something that Amazon would consider, providing they can “do something that is uniquely Amazon”. And that fits in with what comes to mind when I […]  More >>

Me and my (cool?) BlackBerry

eric_baseball2012 wasn’t an easy year to be a proud BlackBerry owner. Let’s face it: many of us take pride in being associated with cutting-edge communications brands. But lately, it seems like every time I whip out my BlackBerry, I draw a sarcastic dig from a smug iPhone or Samsung owner… (you know who you are!)  More >>

Why service providers probably want to avoid boiling frog syndrome… (Live blogging from TMF’s Management World Americas)

First-day-registration-300x225This year’s Management World Americas is all about change, according to TM Forum CEO Martin Creaner, who opened the conference yesterday morning. It has to be. Otherwise the communications industry is in danger of “boiling frog syndrome” – if we don’t react dramatically to the changes happening slowly around us slowly enough,  it might be late (and by then we’ll be cooked). The communications industry has traditionally been much better at sustaining innovation (i.e. making things better) than disruptive innovation, but now we’re going to have to adopt disruption, (and maybe even cannibalize our own businesses), in order to survive. […]  More >>

“How would you like to pay for that, sir? Cash, credit or phone?”

Wired's Christina Bonnington spent one month using a digital wallet instead of a physical one.There are so many digital wallets out there today that if they were actual physical items, you would be hard-pressed to find a purse, pocketbook, handbag or jacket pocket big enough to safely store them. And last month, yet another one appeared, with the launch of the long-awaited Isis mobile wallet. This joint venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile allows consumers to pay on the go with their phones, using NFC (near field communication) technology. While it’s currently still only available in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah, there are already hundreds of stores in these cities ready to […]  More >>

Star Wars’ top 5 lessons for service providers

saberWith the Star Wars brand once again making big international news, I think it’s the perfect time to reexamine the timeless wisdom it has to offer…so here are my top five lessons that service providers can learn from the Star Wars franchise*: Partner for success – doing battle with The Empire was such a monumental task that even an enthusiastic Jedi Knight like Luke Skywalker had to team up with the free-spirited rebel forces to experience success. There are now promising signs that service providers and over-the-top (OTT) players are also letting go of old grudges to work together for their […]  More >>