Category Archives: Customer Experience

Hello, wearable technology. Nice to meet you. (Or was it?)

When I first heard about smartwatches, I couldn’t envisage myself ever using one. (After all, who needs a watch, when you have a phone?) But when Google I/O 2014 participants were kindly given a smartwatch based on Android Wear – the introduction of which Techcrunch describes as “giving consumers their first maybe-viable smartwatch” – I ended up becoming the owner of a new Samsung Gear Live.  More >>

Why smart homes could be a smart move

Would you pay $65 for a device just so that you could have the convenience of switching off your bedside light using the comfort of a remote rather than stretching over to turn the light off itself? Nope, thought not. And neither did GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham. But apart from that, Higginbotham seems to have connected almost everything else in her house: from her lighting, heating, garage doors, security, to her music speakers. In a fascinating blog post describing the past year in which she’s turned her house into a living lab, Higginbotham reports from the frontlines of the connected home…   More >>

Is Amazon redefining the retail experience (yet again) with “Firefly”?

Last week, Amazon finally announced its long-awaited leap into the mobile phone market with its Fire Phone (to be sold exclusively by AT&T), and the industry is buzzing (for better or for worse) about its potential. And while I don’t think the hardware itself is anything exceptional, the stand-out feature for me is absolutely its Firefly software feature, which uses the Fire Phone’s camera to make shopping incredible easy for consumers.  More >>

How giffgaff reinvented customer support, (blogged from TM Forum live!)

“You do get a few people who are insanely involved”, said an impressed Vincent Boon, Chief Community Officer of Standing on Giants, as he presented at TM Forum Live! last week. Boon, who originally helped set up giffgaff (a UK MVNO now owned by Telefónica), was referring to giffgaff’s unique peer-to-peer model (managed by Standing on Giants) where customer service is almost entirely provided by other customers, some of whom also proactively support the company with its marketing and brand reputation. The idea behind Standing on Giants is about transforming the relationship between brands and customers using online communities – […]  More >>

How to stop personalization from getting “spooky”

The results aren’t in yet of Virgin Atlantic’s Google Glass trial, but being greeted at London Heathrow Airport by concierge staff who already know your travel plans before you even check in has certainly raised a few eyebrows among its Upper-Class passengers. “Spooky” is how passenger Declan Jones described it to the New York Times’ Nicola Clark. As Virgin Atlantic’s own blog explains, through using Google Glass headsets and other wearable technology, Virgin staff greet these top fare-paying passengers by name at the airport (having been alerted by the driver of the complimentary limo of the person’s arrival) and then:  More >>

Help! My Olympic coverage is on steroids

Quick. Somebody get me a drug testing kit. Thousands of hours of coverage? Red-button channels, apps, 4K, second screens and multiple devices? My Olympic coverage is on steroids. Looking back at my colleague Jeff Barak’s blog post from the 2012 Olympics, and the coverage seems positively quaint compared to what we have on tap for the next few weeks. A mere two years ago, Jeff wrote about the ability to watch highlights and clips on a mobile device. Compare that to this week’s Winter Games in Sochi where the Comcast-owned NBC will provide “unprecedented coverage” by broadcasting over 1,000 hours live […]  More >>

V is for Value

“The big data reference model had to be business-value driven” said Dr. Mick Kerrigan at the TMF Big Data in Focus Amsterdam summit yesterday, “otherwise how, and why, would communication service providers use it?” Kerrigan, Big Data Analytics Strategist at Amdocs, was referring to a critical industry TM Forum workgroup initiative that he co-chairs, which was set up over a year ago to demystify big data analytics for service providers once and for all. And after hearing so many different examples of use cases today from other speakers, I’d say Kerrigan is correct – there seems to be confusion surrounding […]  More >>

Who’s going over the top…rope?

The World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) latest announcement may have body-slammed the notion that the pay-TV industry/cable providers will be able to rely on their live sports entertainment programming indefinitely. Beginning in late February, professional wrestling fans will be able to subscribe to the WWE Network, described as “the first 24/7 network delivered directly to fans through over-the-top digital distribution.” For $9.99 per month (with a six-month commitment), subscribers will get access to all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events, reality shows, documentaries, “classic matches” and more than 1,500 hours of video on demand. The WWE has promised to continue offering pay-per-view […]  More >>

Close Encounters of the (4K) Kind

A friend of mine is just recovering from her first encounter with an 85-inch Ultra HD TV. “The resolution quality was just amazing,” she enthused. And since I’ve also seen Ultra HD (commonly known as 4K) with my own eyes, I can understand her excitement, because as Robert Silva of explains, it delivers four times the picture resolution of 1080p full HD (hence the name 4K)  and has “the potential to deliver almost as much depth as 3D – without the need for glasses”. But let’s not forget, with four times the size comes bigger file downloads. Digital Trends’ Ted […]  More >>

Welcome to 2014: The Year of Toll-Free Data?

“Dead and buried?” Facebook? Hardly. In fact, the social media colossus is becoming more creative and proactive than ever in seeking ways to increase subscriber numbers, our data usage, and its revenues. In just the last couple of weeks, it managed to introduce Instagram Direct which enables and encourages users who follow each other to send each other private chat-like messages, which can include photos or videos. (Previously, users have only been able to like or publicly comment on pictures).  And in the week before Christmas, you might also have noticed Facebook starting to trial video ads in your newsfeed […]  More >>

Your retailer is watching you do your Christmas shopping. (But does it matter?)

If you’re not relying on Santa to deliver the presents this year, you’re probably more than aware that there are only two shopping days left until the big day. However what you might not know is that you could be handing over more than just your money. Retailers are increasingly gathering data about in-store shoppers’ behavior and moods, using video surveillance, heatmaps, trackers, and mobile location analytics based on signals from your phone and apps. So while you’re out searching for that final gift, retailers could be searching for information as varied as the amount of time you spent in […]  More >>

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

Managing 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?

When 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

The 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?

When 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?

Though 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 >>