It is now a little over two years into the pandemic, and we have already seen disruptions to the status quo. Right from how we work and socialize, to the digital modes of study, play, and entertainment, we have collectively transitioned to a new social paradigm. There has been a rapid uptake of e-health, online grocery shopping, and digital payments in urban centers and Tier 1 cities, and this looks to be the new normal in the foreseeable future.
Accelerated data usage
Businesses have pivoted to keep up with changing consumer needs by launching digital services, mobile-first interfaces, and app-based last mile services for the customer. What has emerged as a result of our changed usage patterns during these extraordinary times, not surprisingly, is the increased usage of data that keeps our devices functional.
According to a report by Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MBiT) 2021, in India, data traffic grew 36% year-on-year— almost 60x between 2015 and 2020— mainly due to an increase of 4G data consumption. The report also stated that the number of 4G-capable devices crossed 607 million, adding 100 million new devices during the year , thanks to extensive usage of apps and services for video calls and online conferences by businesses and people working at home.
In fact, with consumers spending an average of more than five hours every day on their smartphones, India emerged as the highest data consumer, surpassing China.
ISPs adapting to the new normal
Substantial costs and a significant level of commitment are required for services offered by internet service providers (ISPs). However, they also face various infrastructure challenges, such as service and subscriber provisioning, handling large numbers of subscribers, and operating and managing consumer demands and needs. While this would be an evolving investment cycle, retaining existing customers in this sector is even more critical.
While the number of connections in a region usually gets saturated over a period of time, the emerging market for many ISPs is turning toward add-on services in advancement of IPTVs (Internet-based protocol television, delivering TV channels through broadband internet) and video streaming services and platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vimeo, and YouTube.
Integrated insights through experience management
At HCLTech, we have seen the evolution of customer data dashboards that started off by delivering disparate data points to now becoming an integrated intelligence dashboard for the telecom market. We call this Intuitive Experience Management (iXm), a solution that provides inclusive, accessible, real-time, and customizable customer insights and updates to ISP businesses.
In a nutshell, iXm brings together customer information as well as usage and trend analysis, together with proactive problem diagnosis in a cloud-native SaaS pay-per-use model. How does a cloud-first ISP network solution positively impact successful customer service and business development for telecom industry managers? Let’s take a look at the winning iXm software features.
Six unique iXm capabilities
1. Seamless customer information
iXm offers seamless resolution from various sources, such as device management, customer relationship management (CRM), billing, and ticketing systems. This ensures optimal service, which translates to enhanced customer satisfaction and customer retention.
2. Usage and trend analysis
iXm brings near-real-time usage analytics from subscribers and assists operators to supervise and optimize the network performance across different service regions.
3. Problem diagnosis
The product brings system-generated alerts, combines them with customer usage patterns, and assists operators to zero in on the problem remotely. Most issues can be rectified remotely, leading to an improved customer retention and satisfaction index.
4. Enabling subscriber retention
Instead of investing heavily to attract new customers, many ISPs are offering add-on services to their current subscribers as it is far more cost-effective. Value-added services for existing subscribers have resulted in higher profit margins. iXm provides information and relevant correlation with survey responses from subscribers, thereby helping ISPs promote add-on services to existing customers. The end result? Enhanced customer satisfaction and an increase in business revenue.
5. Easy integration with existing infrastructure
Solutions in the telecom industry are usually aligned to a set of supported devices. Any upgrade involves a huge transformation and, in some cases, a replacement of the existing hardware as well. With iXm, existing device management solutions like iCE.X, which typically works with TR69, eliminates the need for substantial changes to the operator.
6. Pay-per-use SaaS model
The iXm solution is offered in a SaaS model with pay-per-use methodology that helps reduce significant initial investment and time-to-market. This ensures that the service provider starts receiving the benefits of using the software in a matter of weeks, if not days.
Competing solutions in the market
iXm is offered as a hassle-free subscription-based SaaS offering, taking out the complexity of installation and maintenance that would have incurred additional time and effort for implementation. The subscription cost already includes recurring cost of maintenance operations. The outcome? Customers can focus on CRM and business process improvement and leave behind the troublesome work of managing IT professionals on monitoring activities.
Transitioning to a 5G ecosystem
This study, released by the FTTH Council Europe at the FTTH Conference 2019, reveals that an optimally converged network for FTTH and 5G could eliminate between 65% and 96% of the cost of a standalone fiber network for 5G. With additional investments of 3-7% the efficiency gains are huge.
India is gearing up for the rollout of 5G in 2022, with Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, and Gandhinagar included in the list of cities that will get first dibs on experiencing superior connectivity. This technology is set to revolutionize ISP facilities of the future. It will also change the way consumers and businesses access services remotely, through real-time control of processes, replacing the need for distributed special-purpose networks.
Exponential increase in demand
What does this mean for the logistics and operations of an ISP manager? In simple terms, an exponential increase in demand! 5G brings with it massive bandwidth and network capacity, ultra-low latency, automated operations, higher security protocols, and flexibility for integration with AI and robotics, virtual reality (think no-lag gaming in a metaverse), live streams, IoT, smart cars, and more.
Companies can leverage the intuitive interface and process capabilities at scale of iXm to keep up with the surge in demand, respond to customer needs in real time, and offer customized solutions that will act as incentives for retention.
The future of consumer insights is fully intuitive and telecom operators must take full advantage of this evolution in ISP solutions.