FTS (LSE: FTS), a global provider of Billing and CRM solutions for Communications Service Providers (CSPs), has created a radical new sector of telecom OSS/BSS â€“ the Business Control Layer. Business Control Layer technology has far-reaching implications upon service providers’ ability to increase revenue and improve customer service.
The Business Control Layer is a software layer in a service providerâ€™s infrastructure residing between the network/OSS and the BSS. The Business Control Layer simultaneously connects to any network infrastructure and includes service management elements from the billing system coupled with real-time charging and network management elements. The technology can dynamically adapt network or service behaviour, at the customer level, in order to increase service providersâ€™ revenue and improve customer experience. This works by capturing customer interaction events in real-time and responding in real-time based on a pre-configured set of business policies or actions, such as sending the subscriber a message, provisioning a network element, balance management or rating.
Business Control Layer based products are targeted at CSPs looking to complement their OSS/BSS with business policies and control as well as CSPs looking to inject a business policy layer on top of their network infrastructure enabling better visibility and control of network equipment and services.
Paul Hughes, VP Billing & Payment Strategies, Yankee Group commented: â€œAs communication services become commoditized, the service providers that can reduce churn by giving customers an improved experience, whilst maximizing ARPU are the ones that will prosper. Business Control Layer is an important new technology that can give service providers the means to achieve that, and therefore realize an important competitive advantage.â€
Implications of Business Control Layer technology Business Control Layer technology creates a number of valuable opportunities for Service Providers out-of-the-box:
– Allows service providers to enable ‘Bandwidth-on-Demand’ meaning that customers can adapt and re-provision their service package whenever they want in real-time e.g. to increase their bandwidth or improve the serviceâ€™s QoS at an additional cost, therefore increasing customer satisfaction by giving the customer control whilst increasing revenue. This is a critical capability required to deliver differentiated services to different classes of customers.
– Creation of true multi-play (triple-play, quad-play etc), cross-network service plans in a pre-IMS environment. Without throwing out existing billing systems or investing in additional network infrastructure the Business Control Layer â€˜harmonizesâ€™ information from any network technology in real-time and acts upon that information in real-time for true, converged services in a pre-IMS market, as well as being IMS compliant.
– Creation of automated marketing, loyalty and up-sell/cross-sell programmes e.g. when a customer downloads their second mobile game, a business rule can enable and action loyalty points for the customer or send a text message with a link to another game in the same gaming genre, offering a 10% discount if they respond immediately.
– Enables providers to put business value on events rather than just billing them e.g. when a premium customer enters an internet game, the Business Control Layer will reconfigure network behaviour to guarantee game traffic is not impeded by other simultaneous customer transactions and that the customer plays the game in the SLA and the response time they expect.
â€œIn the past, service providers have dictated to their customers what types of services they can have, based largely on the capabilities of the network,â€ states Karl Whitelock, Senior Consulting Analyst for Stratecast. â€œThe Business Control Layer is what the industry needs right now; it allows service providers to recognize business events – not just billable transactions – thus allowing them to offer services that customers truly want.â€
Pioneering Service Provider using Business Control Layer Telenet is Belgiumâ€™s largest provider of Internet access and CATV and one of the pioneering Service Providers to use Business Control Layer technology in their network. By adding a Business Control Layer from FTS to its OSS/BSS infrastructure, Telenet improved upon its legacy flat-rate broadband charging model, and was able to simultaneously improve subscriber satisfaction and increase revenues.
The Telenet broadband access offering includes a number of services, all characterized by access speed, traffic quota (separate for upload and download), price quota and price per additional megabyte above the quota. Once a quota is reached, subscribers are redirected to a web page offering them three options:
– Buy additional quota
– Move to a service plan that charges by the megabyte until the end of the month
– Have access speed reduced from broadband to narrowband until the end of the month without incurring additional charges (the default option).
These options can also be pre-configured offering different level of services to for customers ranging from basic to premium.
Patrick Vincent, Vice President Customer Care & Delivery for Telenet commented: â€œThe implications on our business have been quite visible. Since implementing a Business Control system from FTS, calls relating to this service (Telemeter) have been reduced by 40 percent. In addition, 15 percent of customers who reach self-defined quotas have been electing to pay for additional bandwidth, thus increasing Telenet revenues.â€
Launch of first Business Control Layer based solution The first product to include Business Control Layer technology is FTSâ€™ LeapTM BCE (Business Control Engine). Leap BCE can connect simultaneously to multiple networks (POTS, Cellular, cable, etc.) looking at all events regardless of origin, whether user, network, calendar, financial, or BCE-generated, and executes the operator predefined business rules for each event in real-time. The solution enables operators to dynamically adapt network or services behaviour in response to subscribersâ€™ needs such as changed network bandwidth, changed service QoS, rewarding customers etc.
Leap BCE can be used by Service Providers in mobile, wireless, wireline, cable, content and broadband markets including cross-network implementations. Leap BCE is available immediately and can be purchased from FTS directly.
Yair Sakov, VP Marketing & Business Development said â€œWe created the Business Control Layer sector because we saw that existing systems are incapable of addressing growing customer expectations. The Business Control Layer decouples the real-time business management of customer interactions from the off-line billing solution. At the same time, it delivers tight integration to the OSS and network layer enabling real-time value creation by dynamically adapting network and service behaviour in response to customer interaction. Service Providers who embrace the Business Control Layer will be able to dynamically manage customer experience, improve customer retention and see substantial revenue growth opportunities.â€
FTS (LSE: FTS) is a provider of Business Control, Billing and CRM solutions for Communications Service Providers. FTS pioneered the Business Control Layer market and is the leading player in the space. By analyzing events from a business standpoint rather than just billing them, FTS allows Providers to better understand their customer base and leverage business value from every event and interaction. FTS deploys its full range of end-to-end, stand-alone and add-on solutions to customers in over 40 countries and has implemented solutions in wireless, wireline, cable, content and broadband markets including multiple cross-network installations. Serving the evolving needs of both traditional and next generation service providers, the companyâ€™s operations comprise four international R&D locations and strategically-located sales support offices worldwide.
In January 2006, FTS was ranked as the 54th fastest growing technology company on the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast-500 EMEA.
For more information please visit www.fts-soft.com.