Consumers and service providers currently have a common goal: delivering customers relevant, tailored service. Traditional service providers are in a perfect position to supply bundles that are personalized to fit their customersï¿½ needs, which, in turn, will help them increase their profitability.
Today, being well connected doesnï¿½t just mean having more ways to reach the consumer; it means empowering the consumer to manage up time and down time and TV viewing experiences on their own terms. Because television, Internet, mobile, and landline services are being bundled, providers are obligated to do even more to personalize the customer experience.
In the age of convergence, with cable operators and search engines moving into bundled service offerings, it is not a surprise that traditional telecommunications players are choosing to focus on the customer in their business strategies ï¿½ this is called adopting an integrated customer management strategy (ICM).
Creating Personalized Customer Solutions
Accounting management practices are one way in which service providers can monitor, and in turn, respond to their customersï¿½ personalized needs. The adoption of a single IPDR streaming protocol (IPDR/SP) is one way in which providers can lead in the race for convergence, while continuing to provide customers with top-of-the-line wireline services.
IPDR/SP, a lightweight, real-time protocol that quickly and reliably relays usage information from network to mediation center and to billing domain is the answer to enhancing ICM through accounting practices. It offers support for real-time access to accounting and usage information, which also facilitates highly reliable delivery of service consumption events.
One example of how IPDR/SP can benefit the customer and service provider is IPTV (News - Alert). Many households currently have access to hundreds of television stations, but they watch perhaps ten or fifteen regularly and ten more on occasion. Perhaps they have HBO and, therefore, have been given On Demand HBO, but never use that feature. So, how do service providers personalize packages to meet the individual usersï¿½ needs? IPDR/SP.
IPDR/SP allows service providers to collect customer usage events, including channels and programs viewed and advertisements watched. The provider can then assess the userï¿½s needs and provide its customers with personalized, more convenient service bundles. Tailoring channels and advertising to create more relevant packages is a large stride in enhancing ICM.
Specialized Advertising and IPDR
While IPDR/SP gives service providers the advantage of meeting customer-specific needs, it also helps providers in their advertising account management by collecting when and how customers use their services. Currently, approximately 60% of providersï¿½ content costs are covered by advertising. Maintaining and developing relationships with advertisers is essential to surviving as a service provider today. IPDR/SP records viewing patterns and, in turn, facilitates accurate, specialized advertising, which leads to greater profitability from advertising.
IPDR Back Office Benefits
Most of todayï¿½s accounting systems are simple, file-based models, but IPDR collects events in a continuous event-based manner. IPDR/SP is a more efficient, reliable, and robust accounting tool. This means that IPDR collections are more up-to-date and accurate. The real-time element of IPDR helps monitor fraud, abuse, and similar security issues.
IPDR/SP is also flexible in that is can support any service, including emerging and future upgrades, while reducing proliferation of accounting protocols. This flexibility allows service providers room for future service growth and expansion. IPDR/SP is also flexible in that it can support almost all billing models, from post-paid to pay-per-click to pay-per-view and even pay-per-time, which makes it a great protocol for the large multi-vendor deployments in the global telecommunications market.
IPDR was specifically designed for high performance in high volume contexts. For example, IPDR uses one-on-one encoding to translate from XML to XDR. This means that field names, types, and lengths are not included in encoding; instead each encoding is referred to and transmitted using a session-specific code.
IPDR in the ITU-T
Currently, an IPDR/SP recommendation from ATIS/TMOC is being considered by a group of the International Telecommunications Union Telecommunication Sector (ITU-T) standards body organization. This recommendation is a part of the work associated with the specification of standards for the evolving converged networks, also known as next generation networks (NGN)
As the ITU-T reviews these IPDR recommendations, the connection between the current customer oriented market and efficient accounting practices becomes more apparent. It is no longer enough to bundle services together and present a common bill. Account management needs to be accurate, reliable, and fast.
Service providers have begun to realize that, in order to achieve market leadership, they must undergo a significant business transformation from legacy voice platforms and network-focused business models to agile, customer-centric business models. Providers have recognized that they need to facilitate selling and buying in the supermarket of multi-play services, including account management, to ensure an intentional customer experience at all touch points. IPDR/SP is one way to ensure customer-centric service. IT
Tal Givoly is Chief Scientist at Amdocs (News - Alert) and Director of IPDR.org (News - Alert). He has extensive experience in networking technologies and software development and has several patents to his credit. He also conceived, defined, and developed the CRANE protocol. Tal is actively involved with the IETF, particularly in the IPFIX working group. For more information about IPDR be sure to visit www.ipdr.org.