Keeping It Real

By TMCnet Special Guest
Marc Leclerc, Manager of the Global IMS Expert Centre at Ericsson
  |  September 01, 2010

The last 10 years have seen a huge increase in the importance of personal electronic media in people’s lives. Mobile communications, digitized music, user-generated content and social networking have changed the way we behave. As a consequence, our expectations of personal electronic media have evolved.

Consumers want all of their content, applications and services everywhere they go and from any device they choose. Essentially, they want to use communications to enhance their lives all the time. This includes sharing experiences and interacting with family, friends and colleagues across service and platform boundaries. But most importantly, they want to do all this without complications and without budgetary challenges at the end of the month.

It would be very easy to lose track of consumer needs in all this complexity. To help stay focused on driving value for consumers, here is an approach that establishes three main wants, or aspects of the user experience, and how they relate to the key strengths of telecoms:

Living in real-time – Consumers want to be on the grid at all times. Telecoms must focus on the need for users to always be in touch and to be able to share experiences whenever the mood strikes.

Feeling close – Communications is about people and enabling their interactions no matter what technology they use. The global interoperability of telecommunications allows consumers to take part in a community of more than 4 billion.

Convenience and control – Consumers want communications to be easy and controllable. To enable this, telecoms must focus on the relationship between operators and subscribers, how people can project their own brand image and how they can better manage, secure and protect their investments in media and personal data.

Living in Real Time

Mobile communications has been such a great success because it lets people communicate when they need to. Anyone is accessible anywhere and whenever they choose. They can receive messages and status updates without delay and without needing to boot up, log in or find a hotspot. People can share their experiences when the moment strikes and not have to wait until later. People live in real time and want to share their lives in real time. Location, presence and status enable people to coordinate daily interactions, discover who is in the neighborhood and available for contact.

Here’s an example: Abby, Fred, John and Linda are friends who have hectic jobs, but they keep each other aware of what each is doing all day long by sending status updates and sharing pictures many times a day. They keep an eye on each other’s location and try to get together when they are in proximity to each other and have the time to meet up. They enjoy sharing their lives in real time. Waiting until they can connect to a personal computer just wouldn’t be the same.

Feeling Close

When you know where your family and friends are, what they are doing, and how they are feeling, you feel closer to them. The combination of mobile communications with social networking makes it possible for people to feel closer, even when they are far apart. This interaction crosses media barriers, including voice, text, photos, video, music, and any other element of an experience that can be shared. More than 4 billion people have access to telecoms with no barriers across social communities, unlike most social networking services, which don’t interact with each other or require specialized clients in order to support devices other than personal computers.

Here’s an example: Laura and Jim are a couple that lives in town, but work in jobs that require them to visit customers. They text each other all day, and frequently have lunch “together” by sending each other pictures. They also like to plan their evening throughout the day.

Convenience and Control

Finally, people want this to be easy without having to re-enter the same information multiple times. An update to a contact should be automatically forwarded to all the user’s address books. It also should be easy to manage multiple identities, contacts and groups across devices and social media services. People want to keep both media and contacts secure and assure easy backup in case of device breakdown or loss.

Here’s an example: Bill uses an active address book solution to keep all his contacts across mobile and fixed devices up to date. He also uses a social media portal site to update automatically status lines, photos and other media across different social networking sites according to rules he has established toward various groups.

Of course, using this approach does not guarantee that a service will be successful, but it may help clearly express the value of the service to the consumer while linking that value to operator assets, both of which are key in the marketing of a successful service. It also can help bring out the competitive advantage of a mobile/convergent service as opposed to a purely over-the-top based service. In essence, it places the competition for the consumer’s choice on telecom’s playing field, where mobility, real-time access, interoperability and a global community of more than 4 billion make the difference for consumers and service providers alike. NGN

Marc Leclerc is manager of the Global IMS Expert Centre at Ericsson (News - Alert) (

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