Ericsson develops a cunning plan for generating IoT revenue

Networking vendor Ericsson has been having a think about how service providers can make a few quid out of IoT.

That thinking has been distilled into a report entitled Exploring IoT strategies – Insights on IoT value chain positioning from leading telecom service providers. Ericsson spoke to a 20 service providers and found that 70% of them don’t have a well-defined IoT strategy and that 80% of them “aim to create value beyond connectivity either by providing differentiating services or by becoming IoT service enablers or service creators.”

The latter finding seems to be a lead up to the bulk of the report, which aims to segment a number of different approaches service providers can take to monetising the IoT opportunity. “The report confirms the importance of IoT to the current and future business of leading service providers, no matter where they operate in the world,” said Jeff Travers, Head of IoT at Ericsson.

“Regarding IoT as a new type of business, service providers are investing in new technologies and establishing new business models for revenue sharing and increased use of indirect channels. They are also creating new delivery models for as-a-service and online services and driving innovation with partners and customers.”

The tables below show the four roles service providers see for themselves in this context. The first two are the foundational roles for CSPs, which they still expect to drive the majority of their revenues. The opportunities beyond connectivity are split into Service enabler and Service Creator and further differentiation can be achieved by following one or more of the sub-roles too.

Ericsson IoT framework 1

Ericsson IoT framework 2

Ericsson IoT framework 3

Turning small interactions into big revenue

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Dan Faulkner, SVP & GM at Nuance Communications argues that maybe it is time to start sweating the small stuff when it comes to CSP revenue streams.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. While perhaps a good mantra for life, for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) looking to differentiate themselves in the increasingly competitive market – the small things matter a lot.

CSPs are facing a wealth of new challenges: traditional revenue sources are dwindling, stagnant regulations continue to threaten market nimbleness, while new OTT (Over-The-Top) providers – whether a smaller player or a tech giant like Google and Amazon – are dividing subscribers and, revenues.

Competition is tough, but thankfully CSPs have a secret weapon up their sleeve. In the ever-more competitive market for users’ attention and business, the relationship that CSPs have with their subscribers means that they know their customers better than anyone.

As customers increasingly expect personalised services, understanding how they like to receive information, what services they use the most, and how to drive more value for them each day is a treasure trove of insight waiting to be exploited. CSPs must leverage this knowledge to deliver the best experience for subscribers – cutting out their competitors by consistently delivering what they want, when they want it and on the right channel.

With a wealth of subscriber information at their fingertips, CSPs need to tap into this opportunity and dedicate more resources to creating those small customer experiences that can add up to big revenues.

Data puts CSPs at the heart of the connected-revolution

CSPs are arguably in a unique position at the heart of today’s connected ecosystem. Powering the data that gives life to mobile devices, services and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as providing access to content and services within the smart home. But when there’s so many different ways to slice and dice the data, it’s hard to know what to focus on, resulting in potential for lost revenue.

If harnessed in an intelligent way, this data can be incredibly valuable. A report from Analysys Mason recently found that robust analytics can help CSPs to reduce churn, increase existing subscriber sales, drive new customer acquisition, as well as reduce costs.

Personalise your offers

Once they are accessing the right data, CSPs then need to make sure it’s being used to effectively engage subscribers. One way to do this is by analysing subscriber profiles, offer conversion rates, content usage, and network activity to create and place offers that are personalised for each subscriber.

The Analysys Mason report also found that less a third of CSPs are currently offering truly personalised services to their subscribers, with 71 per cent of the service offerings based upon group segmentation.

But personalisation is key to effective upselling. Offering a prepaid subscriber, who is running out of data, the opportunity to purchase just enough data that will get them through until their next bill is a great example of a relevant and valuable offer to the customer.

Making sure that the offer is right for the individual is key to avoiding spamming customers. This is also the case for post-paid subscribers, who are likely to appreciate being sent a personalised data package that is tailored to their personal usage when running low. Or a user that frequently downloads fitness apps may be interested in a subscription that the CSP could offer to health and wellness articles – such as, “just 99p a week, and the first week is free if you sign up today”.

Time it right

A good offer comes at a time when it will increase both customer satisfaction and revenue. It’s unlikely that a subscriber will sign up for a new value-added service when they don’t have enough balance, or when it will use up the precious last bit of data that they need for everyday activities until the end of the month. This kind of offer needs to be at the beginning of the payment cycle, if subscribers are to be encouraged to splurge.

Get on the right channel

When it comes to personalisation, it’s not just ensuring the ‘what’ is tailored to the subscriber, but also the ‘how’. Some subscribers prefer to be called by a human agent, while others may prefer to receive push-notifications.

And it’s important to ensure that the offer is displayed appropriately for the channel. If it’s coming across a mobile phone, it needs to be presented as a clear “yes or no” option so that users can easily understand and accept, such as “would you like to top-up for £10?”.

Big rewards from small opportunities

While it is daunting to manage all these components – the offer, channel, data, and timing – artificial intelligence can now take on a great deal of the heavy lifting for targeted subscriber engagement, massively supporting CSPs in monetising the small opportunities.

New intelligent platforms and solutions are making it easier than ever to analyse subscriber data to deliver the most valuable and relevant services. These small upsells across an entire subscriber base can translate into millions in extra revenue, as well as driving brand differentiation and increased loyalty among customers.

Ultimately, for CSPs wanting to get the most out of their data, it’s time to sweat the small stuff.

 

Dan Faulkner headshotDan oversees the Communications Service Provider line of business at Nuance and has been an important part of Nuance’s business development and strategy since joining the company over a decade ago. Dan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Manchester, and two Master’s degrees in Marketing and Speech & Language Processing.