When next generation IP services first debuted years ago they unleashed tremendous excitement – right up to the point where cable service providers and other service providers had to figure out how to bill for them. At the time, because legacy systems weren’t built to handle connectionless services, providers were forced to bill for IP services at flat rates.
Today, following the development of the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) standard and its incorporation into DOCSIS, the door has opened to usage-based billing for next generation services. In large part, the rapid advance toward IP profits has been led by the evolution of mediation systems with the capability to leverage the IPDR standard and retrieve data from large IP environments. In this new world, mediation is the strategic enabler for data integration between the network and OSS/BSS systems – and the tap that can open the floodgates on IP service profitability.
However, not all mediation systems are the same. Many in the industry believe that mediation does not always live up to the expectations set by the framers of IPDR. Too often, for example, the job of mediation for IPDR is parsed between different software solutions. Other times, a cable service provider may find itself managing multiple mediation solutions for IP and traditional services. Both scenarios lead to needless complexity, greater inefficiency, higher operating costs and lost profit opportunities. Cable service providers need a standard means of gathering data tied to consumer and commercial bandwidth consumption to support new Internet billing models and to eventually monetize their networks based on type and amount of traffic carried. They should demand a better approach to IPDR mediation that optimizes their investment in next generation networks and services. The hallmarks of such a solution
- Scalability to handle a greater volume of records as data grows exponentially.
- Flexibility to support billing and all other BSS functions, and to integrate with other vital disciplines such as business intelligence/predictive analytics, operations management and marketing.
- Real-time actionable intelligence providing the ability to see into the network, optimize bandwidth management, and monetize every opportunity to drive new revenue streams from convergent IP services.
How Convergys and DigitalRoute are helping cable service providers to manage and monetize bandwidth
Cable service providers need a more advanced approach to BSS that improves bandwidth management and monetization. Together with partners DigitalRoute, Convergys is intensely focused on helping cable service providers leverage advanced BSS to meet these core business objectives and pursue new revenue opportunities.
Jan Karlsson, CEO at DigitalRoute, comments on the rapidly expanding uses for mediation:
“In addition to its familiar role of integrating data across multiple platforms to ensure timely, accurate billing, mediation plays an important part in ensuring efficient bandwidth management. Convergys Active Mediation powered by DigitalRoute, for example, keeps track of bandwidth and how it is used in a specific time period, essentially connecting bandwidth with a specific product and determining the financial value contributed.”
If the solution finds that bandwidth is not being used during a specific time of day, it identifies this “blank spot” and uses the information to help the cable service provider develop special offers and discounts that can increase usage. By providing real-time connectivity between all back office systems, Convergys Active Mediation Manager can positively impact capex and revenue management, ensuring that the cable service provider invests in solutions that best control network utilization and reduce or eliminate revenue leakage.
IPDR mediation made simple
As part of the Convergys Smart Suite, Active Mediation Manager is the industry’s first complete unified mediation solution designed to simultaneously handle both IP and traditional services. Unique in the industry, the solution is the only mediation offer that serves as a single platform for the collection, guidance, aggregation, enrichment and storage of IPDR data.
The ability to support multiple services in one convergent mediation environment, which is modular and adaptable in design, provides a significantly faster ROI model than legacy mediation solutions that are constrained by conventional “line of service” specifications. Highly configurable without customization and with unparalleled flexibility, unlike other mediation solutions, it can process traditional telephony usage records in batch mode while simultaneously processing real-time IPDR records to mediate video or high-speed Internet usage.
Part of the job of protecting that investment is vigilance on network usage. In this capacity, Convergys Active Mediation Manager lets cable service providers identify third party traffic generated by overthe-top players, to inform and improve their competitive strategy.
Securing cable’s future
After investing hundreds of billions on advanced infrastructures, cable service providers have every incentive to maximize their value. The tools are at hand to better manage and monetize bandwidth. Cable service providers recognize the need to take action. Those that adopt advanced “Smart BSS” solutions will be tomorrow’s leaders, able to quickly capitalize on whatever new market opportunity the future may hold.