Ericsson is beefing up its managed service offerings this year with three new service launches: device and application verification; key event experience; and experience centric managed services.
The new services were introduced at a briefing in London this week (13 February 2013) by Paolo Colella, VP Consulting & Systems Integration in Ericsson’s Global Services division.
Device and Application Verification
Mobile phone return rates are rising thanks to the increased complexity of smartphones. Colella said research with its operator customers revealed a rate of 1 in every 4 devices being returned in the first two weeks. ‘There is a big cost associated with that,’ he pointed out.
More thorough testing of devices ahead of their launch would cut down the number of returns, but even large operators struggle to conduct a full range of tests in a short time frame.
Ericsson is therefore offering to undertake the device (including M2M devices_ and app testing on behalf of operators using the expertise and resources of its Experience Labs.
The labs can connect to the operator’s live network, so the devices are being tested on the operator’s actual equipment, which is likely to come from a variety of vendors. The labs help vendors verify device and application performance to meet the individual operator’s validation and acceptance tests.
‘We can speed up the testing process, as it is mostly automated, and can mobilise much bigger resources that the networks when it comes to testing,’ said Colella.
The result is that devices get to market sooner, verification costs are reduced, fewer devices are returned and the customer therefore has a better experience. Colella said that Ericsson has already signed a deal in January 2013 with the major US operator AT&T.
Key Event Experience
This is an end-to-end solution designed to ensure that operators deliver a solid network performance during major events such as football matches or festivals. Large numbers of people use the smartphones for mobile broadband services simultaneously can overload the network and given end users a poor experience.
Colella said that at a recent NASCAR stock car racing event in the USA, the spectators and car teams generated 35 times more traffic than normal in that location. ‘It is a challenge [for operators] to provide the right level of service for that kind of event,’ said Colella.
Ericsson’s event experience solution involves is designed to support operators during events. It can tailor the solution according to the size and type of event by taking into account the needs of organisers and spectators. It can then optimise the network performance to proactively monitor demand and allow the network to have enough capacity to handle intense spikes in traffic.
Experience Centric Managed Services
Colello said: ‘The traditional focus for measuring performance is based around KPIs of the network elements – availability and so on. But everything may look fine in the network, but the subscriber may not be having a good experience, because he is suffering from a combination of things. But by the time the operator detects the problems it is usually too late to mitigate it.’
As a result of this, there is a move towards KPIs based on individual customer experience. ‘You need to combine technology in the network and in the software space to do this,’ explained Colello. ‘Carriers want to monitor their high paying customers as they don’t want them to churn.
He added that network centric monitoring was adequate for voice, but no good for complex new services. What is needed is a step by step change to new KPIs probably based on a combination of technical, service and customer experience based.
Colello noted that if tariffs change to charging based on capacity models, for example, with the customer paying according to the capacity available, then that needs to be carefully monitored to ensure the customer is getting what he paid for.
Ericsson said that to ‘achieve success the relationship between the vendor and the operator must be a true partnership that aligns the two parties’ business objectives with a risk/reward type of pricing.
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