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October 22, 2008

Next-Generation Services: Opportunities for Boosting Revenues

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor


This is the fourth in a four-part series exploring ways that service providers can survive, and thrive, in a very competitive market. Previous installments looked at the market challenges providers face, how providers can reach consumers today, and how providers can reach and retain tomorrow’s consumers. Here the conclusion is reached by outlining some of the opportunities that now exist for service providers seeking to boost revenues.
 
Seven specific revenue opportunities are outlined below.
 
Internationalization of services. Providers that are targeting customer in only one country are missing out. It’s a global marketplace now, and internationalizing services is a sure way to dramatically increase both customer base and revenue.
 
Integrated communications. Choosing technologies that rely on industry standards, and are modular in nature, makes it possible to integrate different methods of communication. Building integrated services with a variety of options that customers can choose between is a win-win.
 
IP-based conferencing. Online conferencing services, which use IP networks connect participants in “virtual” meetings, have a lot of potential to boost provider revenue. This kind of solution might be especially compelling for a small business owner or employee.
 
Video. There are many, many potential opportunities for building video into services. Some analysts think video will be the “next big thing,” and there is a definite trend toward using this technology in new and creative ways. Providers that hope to survive over the long term should examine ways of building video into services.
 
Fax over IP. Given all the cool things that people can now do with computers and other technology, the fax machine is really kind of a dinosaur. It’s a necessary dinosaur for many people, though, begging the question: isn’t there a better way to send and receive documents? The answer is, yes — it’s called fax over IP. Using Internet Protocol networks, it is now possible to send documents in digital format, either directly from computer to computer, or from a traditional fax machine to a computer. Offering fax over IP service can help providers boost revenue.
 
Presence. This refers to status information connected with users of a system or service, allowing others to see who is available, when, and in what manner. Perhaps the simplest, most familiar form of “presence” is the “available / busy” statuses used with instant messaging services. Building presence capabilities into services can be a selling point, and therefore a revenue opportunity.
 
Convergence (News - Alert). This can take two forms. First, it can refer to combining multiple services into packages, offered to consumers from a single provider. Second, it can refer to services that utilize technologies enabling formerly disparate products of functions to be unified into one solution. Both types of “convergence” can represent revenue opportunities for providers.
 
To fully leverage these revenue opportunities, providers need to take some specific steps to ensure success. A basic set of guidelines for leveraging any one of these opportunities should involve the following steps:
 
  • Invest in the most appropriate technology
  • Deploy innovative, bundled services
  • Conduct effective network management
  • Take steps to manage revenues and costs
  • Treat customers like customers
 
By applying these steps to a particular revenue opportunity, a provider will be well on its way to achieving long-term success.
 
To learn more about the topics covered in this article series, please visit the Billing and SIP Server channels on TMCnet.com, brought to you by IVR Technologies.
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.


Mae Kowalke is senior editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Mae's articles, please visit her columnist page. She also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Mae Kowalke



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