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Network Function Virtualization or NFV technology is a virtual network architecture concept. It was developed in response to the need for virtualization of the network services currently being performed by expensive hardware. A very new technology, NFV aims to transform the way network service providers deploy and deliver network services.

Why NFV?

Currently network service providers need to install expensive dedicated hardware including routers, firewalls and load balancers to be able to provide reliable network services. Dedicated hardware requires space and power for running efficiently which in turn demands further investment. NFV technology aims to virtualize the entire network service over the cloud by using virtual machines that dynamically install software across network locations eliminating the need for any kind of hardware altogether.

NFV addresses various trends shaping the growth and future of telecom service provider networks:

Flexibility –Seamlessly deploying new services is a priority for telecom operators. The need of the hour today is a relatively more adaptable network, which can be easily installed and provisioned.

Cost – Ensuring optimal pricing is at the top of any telecom operator’s to-do list. To achieve this, several bigwigs, such as Google are deploying data centers with the help of off-the-shelf merchants.

Scalability –To adapt rapidly to the changing user demands and providing suitable services to address them, operators must be capable of scaling their network architecture across servers.

Security – Security has always been a major challenge. Service providers need to manage their network, while at the same time allowing their consumers to run their own virtual space along with firewalls within the network.

Virtualization in another operator network – In order to meet consumer demands in an optimal fashion, operators require to substantiate their services worldwide using virtualization.

Benefits of NFV to the trends shaping operators’ growth

In a nutshell, NFV makes service provisioning and network more flexible. This allows operators to address changing demands, while scaling services rapidly, as per the requirement. These services are delivered on an industry-standard server hardware via software applications, the most significant one of which is security gateways.  Instead of buying an asset, operators can single out the function associated with the asset and use it as a virtual machine on the server.

Owing to the fact that network functions are integrated in software, they are easily movable to multiple network locations. This eliminates the need of installing new equipment as hard assets. The cost saving factor comes in with the possibility of deploying inexpensive, high-volume server infrastructure with virtual machines on top making it scalable at the same time.

NFV also eliminates the dependency of network function on its hardware, allowing service providers to have a local presence without any supporting infrastructure.

How NFV unleashes its power?

Network Functions Virtualization or NFV came into existence in direct response to operator needs to make operations more efficient by:

  • Reducing the number and variety of hardware equipment required
  • Achieve greater CAPEX efficiency
  • Simplify network operations
  • Leverage new technology for greater OPEX efficiency
  • Greater scalability and up gradation
  • Reduced cost of maintenance
  • Longer hardware network cycles

In other words, NFV technology is based on offloading the network functions into a software program that can be managed remotely from any location within the network area of the operator and is compatible with standard industry hardware. For instance, with the NFV technology, rather than investing in deploying new hardware equipment across the network for managing a network encryption, it is possible to deploy encryption software on an already existing standardized switch or server in the network.

The NFV potential

By reducing dependency on dedicated hardware, NFV allows for increased customization and scalability across the operator network, making it possible to earn additional revenue without the need of significant investment in hardware. Unlike a virtualized network, which virtualizes the entire operator network, NFV only virtualizes the network functions, enabling the operator to still retain control over the network.

NFV has yet to be come into full practical use, however potentially NVF technology has the capability to abstract any network function present in standardized dedicated network hardware and manage the network function as a software module deployed on any standardized networking platform. What’s more, NFV has the potential to replicate the software module on to any other hardware platform as well making it extremely easy to scale up network operations. With the NFV technology, network operators can simplify operations and make them much more cost efficient by integrating multiple isolated hardware equipments into a single network that is easy to manage and expand.

While the full value of NFV is yet to be explored, potential benefits of using NFV can be summed up in the following

  • Reduced hardware cost
  • Reduced OPEX with fewer equipment to install and maintain
  • Increased revenue with faster deployment of services to market as hardware dependence is reduced
  • Reduced investment in space and power
  • Greater efficiency of capital investment
  • Enable greater innovation in service offering

NFV will truly bring in a new wave in network functions as operators realize do away with stand- alone equipment to make use of integrated software applications to run increasingly complex network operations.

January 14, 2016 0 comment
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The banking industry is undergoing a sea-change. The gradual shift towards digital and especially mobile technologies, alongside changing customer demographics- particularly the heightened importance of millennials- offer significant opportunities for innovators.

Advancements in the device ecosystem, along with the rise of the internet have clearly implied that everything- from TVs to cars to wristwatches- have the potential to become banking tools. The expanding arena of technologies has increased customer expectations and demands. The movements in the digital world and the various mobile devices became seemingly ubiquitous and are rapidly being seen less as a part of technology but more as an indispensable part of modern life. Studies suggest that an average smartphone user checks it 150 times a day.

To further illustrate, mobile banking is being embraced much more whole-heartedly than any other service; all that is demanded is complete transparency, control ease and above all data security.

These changes are sufficient to imply that banking has a digital future. Retail banking services are used by almost 1 billion people. The landscape of banking completely changed with the introduction of mobile banking for retail customers and a similar kind of innovation is awaited for corporate customers.

Digital-future-of-Banking

Potential risks

Technologies have undoubtedly contributed to changing the face of banking but several issues remain. Today, consumers have innumerable banking options and are free to switch banks anytime. Factors such as a lack of security can lead to significant customer churn. There are a number of customer expectations from banks and some facts based on studies suggest that:

  • Any lucrative offer from another bank can make 1 in every 3 customer switch their existing banker.
  • 54 per cent customers want their bank to offer discount of transactional fees
  • 53 per cent customers demand proactive bill payment services.
  • 52 per cent customers desire proactive product recommendations
  • 79 per cent customers limit their banking relationship to just being transactional.

A major percentage of consumers (86 per cent) trust their bank to securely manage sensitive data. Thus, security becomes a priority for every bank. Therefore, the more a bank invests in technology, the higher the chances of it fostering its customer relationships, managing churn and increasing loyalty and customer acquisition.

So, what should the banks do to become more relevant?

In a nutshell, high transactional fees and poor loyalty programs are coined as the top reasons why a customer is dissatisfied. Consumers today require convenient banking services, which can be supported by the latest technologies.

December 1, 2015 0 comment
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Over the past decade, mobile money– defined as the revolutionizing technology enabling payments made for a wide range of products or services through a mobile device- has witnessed ubiquitous acceptance. Mobile money does not require the user to carry along anything but just their smart device and thus, it has completely revolutionized financial access globally, especially for the unbanked.  Also, it has cut down the number of belongings one needs to carry along everywhere.

The mobile money revolution

Mobile money has showcased a very isolated progress till date, but the innovation rates to improve the scenario are quickening. As per the industry experts, mobile money had initiated very low, particularly during the years 2000 and 2005 as then, the scope and in turn, the acceptance of mobile payments was significantly limited. Since the year 2005, there has been manifold increase in the number of mobile wallet subscriptions, mobile money usage as well as mobile banking. Mobile money has come a long way ahead and now a significant fraction of people have used mobile money at least once and an increasing number of those users have accepted mobile money for their day to day transactions and money transfers. Behind this major uptake, relies the paced proliferation of the mobile devices.

Over all, while we can unhesitatingly state that mobile money has become a norm now. However, certain concerns, especially around security, still linger. Undoubtedly, security has always been the priority for the consumers executing any transaction and it will continue to remain the same ever-after. Similarly, for the mobile payment service providers, the secure execution of transactions carried out by its consumers and the security of stored user data, avoiding spam or phishing is always a priority as it is a significant decisive factor for its ROI.

Technologies improve safety

The robust security of mobile money transactions and user data is followed by a wide acceptance of mobile money applications. The boundaries of mobile payment security are being made stronger day after day in this regards and the deployment of an intangible, robust security framework for mobile financial solutions and their security is awaited to completely eliminate frauds and help the consumers gain trust over the convenience provided.

Accessing information like bank details from the mobile devices has become quite a common practice now as mobile money progressed well during the past years. This has become more secure, but primarily this takes place as a result of enhanced security measures on the bank’s side, which continue to increase their security level owing to the fact that they continue being targeted by the hackers. Applications for mobile money have also increased their protocols.

Basics of mobile money security

Approaches to mobile money security

Typically, the mobile money service providers embrace a multi-dimensional approach to mobile money. They initially focus on the system, the access platforms following which they target the transactions and the application. The initial and most important aspect-system security- includes various measures such as 3DES encryption and access abstraction. For access security, while some of them require fingerprint scanning to gain access to one’s user account; the others demand input a preset PIN code each time using the application. OTP-based authorizations, MSISDN and PKI have also become popular for security of mobile money transactions. Lastly, application security is ensured with configurable KYC, adherence to AML requirements, masking the critical data and anti-phishing measures.

The worldwide acceptance of mobile money entirely depends on the advancement of security measures. The service providers have no other means than robustly securing mobile money applications to shell out revenue with the offering. The consumers need to be assured that their money and financial details are in safe hands. There is no alternate route through which the mobile money service providers can gain the confidence of the consumers in order to increase its uptake.

October 19, 2015 0 comment
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Mobile messaging solutions to connect with the customers

Mobile messaging has maintained its status as the most effective and economical way of reaching, engaging and interacting with customers. However, integrating the mobile messaging feature into the existing platforms, accurately tracking the response rates, handling bulk SMS and mapping the same with meaningful CRM data may prove to be challenging.

Leading mobile messaging service providers process more than 120 million P2P and A2P messages every month. Bulk services help them integrate mobile messaging platform into their core business system and thus enable them to fully automate their customer contact programs. The P2P and A2P messaging solutions are cost effective and also they ensure a high ROI along with significantly reduced operational costs.

The most effective mobile messaging solutions include:

Enterprise Communication Platform

In order to keep with the requirement of being recognized as a trusted network and protect subscribers from any kind of spam or fraudulent messaging, mobile service operators need to deploy a solution that will reduce the amount of malicious content on the network and in turn contribute to enhanced revenues. The key benefits include applicability across industries, simplified service experience, optimized cost and an enhanced consumer experience.

Integrated Messaging Platform

Deploying the integrated messaging platform enables mobile service operators to trim overheads, at the same time efficiently planning and managing the messaging infrastructure. All these benefits are achieved by consolidating disparate infrastructures and services across the various messaging channels such as SMS, MMS, IP messaging, USSD and voicemail into a single platform.

The benefits of an integrated messaging platform includes significant CAPEX and OPEX savings, multi-channel messaging experience, simplified service experience, robust system architecture, accelerated time to market and improved customer satisfaction.

IP Messaging

IP Messaging is paving the path to change the landscape of digital communications for new age customers. Mobile operators are rapidly scaling up their services, and thus they require managing a cost effective ecosystem to generate new revenue streams at the same time. IP messaging enables seamless messaging through mobile devices across all available networks and social communities. It allows the operators to provide an unmatched messaging experience in order to remain relevant, increase retention, boost loyalty and revenue.

The benefits of IP messaging include enriched user experience, availability of advanced messaging services and seamless messaging experience.

SMS Hub

In order to accommodate the inevitable growth in the text messaging traffic worldwide, without any kind of interconnectivity or interoperability issues, the mobile service operators are readily inking various roaming and interworking agreements. In order to collectively overcome these challenges, the SMS Hub offers a straight-forward and efficient method of establishing, extending and managing interoperability with various global connections. This ensures a better coverage of the SMS facility.

The benefits of SMS hub include increased global reach, reduced capital expenditure and an enhanced customer service.

SMS Firewall

Mobile technologies are becoming more sophisticated. Now, a connection is established between the wallet and the mobile devices, increased data consumption and content. Simultaneously, security threats have also become a greater than ever concern for the mobile service operators. In order to be considered as a trusted network and protect the service subscribers from fraudulent messaging and spam, the service providers need deploying a solution targeted as the reduction of malicious message contents on the network and increase the revenue. SMS Firewall enables the operator as well as the subscriber to detect, filter and block the unwanted SMS messages from the network.

The benefits of SMS Firewall include detection of spam/phishing in the network and detection of social engineering scams.

What is mobile messaging solution

Key features to evaluate an enterprise mobile messaging solution

  • Strong Security
  • Enhanced control
  • Cloud-based storage
  • Dependable message transmission

Summary

Mobile messaging solutions ensure high quality connections and network reliability. These can serve in multiple ways including text reminders, marketing messages, service messages, appointment reminders, receipts, alerts, surveys, vouchers and coupons.

You can also learn about our various messaging platforms  on offer.

October 13, 2015 0 comment
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Today’s enterprises are concentrating on offering real-time mobile-based content. However, plain text or web-based content no longer suffice for this purpose. In this context, previously untapped avenues are now being leveraged.

A messaging and communication platform allows mobile service operators to enhance the monetization of services, primarily by improving the time to market. Moreover, it also enables operators to avail a scalable and customizable solution that can be easily integrated with the existing messaging infrastructure and also provides end-to-end accommodation of the messaging requirements.

The most effective SMS platform deployments follow a transformative approach, evaluating the current architecture, assessing the characteristics and the flow of messaging traffic, anticipating the growth trends and then collectively bring to the fore a set of techniques capable of optimizing the SMS infrastructure.

Attaining a modular design, new-age SMS platforms include five components, namely:

SMSC– It segregatesthe A2P and P2P SMS traffic streams, alongside freeing resources for expensive P2P message delivery. It also it effectively ensures the smooth delivery of A2P and P2P messages.

AppSMSC– It offers a simple and easy plug-in interface; extending support to swift content uploads, allowing the content partners to upload and configure applications through multiple interfaces and at the same time ensures the smooth delivery of messages relying on load distribution.

SMS Router– An SMS Router ensures the network attains message –related intelligence, alongside improving the handling of high throughput requirements. It enables load sharing, optimizing delivery and integrating the SMSCs for better performance.

Rich SMS Suite– A rich SMS Suite offers a host of features, allowing operators to transform their SMS services, driving user adoption, and increasing SMS revenues on the mobile network. The capabilities of Rich SMS include:

  • SMS backup, storage, and upload assuring greater subscriber ease.
  • Advertising, opening new revenue streams though SMSs.
  • Auto-reply and email notifications simplifying subscriber interactions.

SMS FirewallSMS firewall offers a signaling filter along with a content-based filter, enabling operators to deploy an even stronger network protection system capable of detecting and controlling spam.

What are the benefits of an integrated messaging platform?

Significant CAPEX and OPEX savings- The messaging platform enables mobile operators to pull their business forward, backed up by the consolidation of various VAS nodes into a common multipurpose messaging engine.

Multi-channel messaging– By consolidating all the key delivery channels, the integrated messaging platform enables the mobile service operators to efficiently and cost-effectively manage a host of messaging-related services. By adopting a unified approach to the provisioning of messaging services, it eases the management of multiple services and channels, and offers a single point of control and management for the mobile operator’s messaging infrastructure.

Simplified service– The messaging platform arrives with a single floating license, usable across multiple delivery channels based on the traffic requirements. For ensuring a minimum capacity, all the channels are allocated some dedicated minimum amount.

Robust architecture– The messaging platform is a cloud-ready, VAS messaging infrastructure platform enabling different capabilities to be provisioned and de-provisioned on demand, in order to meet evolving requirements. It leverages the common components in order to attain the desired operational efficiency.

Accelerated time-to-market- The messaging platform offers an intelligent, robust, modular design with efficient architecture and scalability as its core, changes the way the operators monetize their offerings, igniting a shift from a disparate architecture into a cohesive targeted solution.

Improved customer satisfaction– The assured service availability, along with the paced launch of new services, creates a positive service experience for the end customers. Consumers can renew their service subscriptions through the platform in order to ensure continued availability of different services. These services are accessible in a common way across all the available delivery channels, simplifying the service access and usage. The integration with social networking platforms offers greater convenience to the end user.

October 8, 2015 0 comment
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Value added services (VAS) refer to the non-core services offered in the telecom sector. All services apart from standard voice calls and fax transmissions are considered a VAS. These services can be used to promote an operator’s primary business.

VAS spurs mobile subscribers to increasingly use their mobile device in order to allow operator to pull up their average revenue per user.

Cost

While the value added services are something extra offered to the customer either at a nominal extra charge or at no additional charge. Most of the times, the ancillary service is extended at an additional charge. The actual pricing structure for value added services generally depend on whether the service provider considers it as an amenity intended to create a stronger rapport with the customers or as a potential source of additional revenue generation.

Optimizing consumer experience with VAS

Globally, VAS denotes a sizeable revenue opportunity for the service providers owing to the fact that it pulls more and more users to access the utility, entertainment and transactional services on the go. However, the important factor pushing the value added services is their high variability, which makes the mobile operators capable of directing 30-40% VAS annuity budgets towards the management of operational overheads. In order to include the diversified mobile VAS services effectively in the portfolio as well as enhance the customer experience, it become significant for the operators to bring in some control mechanism for service variability into the framework.

The managed value added service models replace the separate, vendor-specific delivery models with a standardized, comprehensive approach targeted at end-to-end service management. This enables the implementation of the best industry practices, specification of service levels along with definition of processes guaranteeing an optimal service experience for the customers.

Managed VAS bridges the disparate islands of service management by the way of unifying operations under a single service. It enables the automated probes to measure proactively the service performance, which ensures an optimal service quality for end users at the same time maximizing the revenue window of the service provider.

Benefits of VAS

Benefits of VAS

For the consumer:

  • Superior service experience
  • Improved pricing proposition

For the Service Provider

  • Increased service availability
  • CAPEX and OPEX reduction
  • No leakage of revenue
  • Enhanced Customer experience
  • Optimized investment/cost
  • Enhanced growth of revenue
  • Faster time to market
  • Bring in a healthy bottom line
  • Loyalty Offerings
  • Customer insights enabling relevant

Summary

Offering various types of value added services enables the service operators to stand out of the competition. They provide advantages not only to the service providers but also to the customers. While the customers get something above and beyond their basic requirements; the service providers enjoy an increased rapport with the client, capable of translating into more revenue. Even if these customer services cost some extra bucks to both the sides; they have the potential of significantly enhancing the growth and practicability.

October 6, 2015 0 comment
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Mobile karaoke offers customers an audio-visual module that allows them to share content with their contacts. An all-new feature also allows the users to sell or promote their own creations alongside creating a fan network. The users can also sing along with an original soundtrack, inter-mixing their voice with that of the artist and that too with all studio effects like reverb, echo etc.

Almost two decades ago, the cassettes reigned supreme in the global music space. Back then, we used to play cassettes containing a total of 12 songs on its both sides through our tape recorders. Also, the music experience was not personalized and neither skipping a track was easy; nor was the discoverability.

What-is-mobile-karaoke

The Digitization of Music

When CDs came, they were considered as a revolution in this space but they soon gave way to pen drives which were able to store hundreds of songs. Accessing songs of different genres, moods and occasions became simpler.

Music is very versatile and thus there stays a rich repository of trillion songs. Today, we are in an era of 3G and 4G, where having a catalogue of a billion songs in a common occurrence- the availability of a track has become as instant as its desire. Now, data connectivity and speed is available on the go. People love to stream their favorite songs rather than downloading or storing them. With the digitization of music, the availability of tracks everywhere all the time has changed things significantly.

The rise of digital music along with multiple digital technologies, the internet and mobile applications has become a very strong medium of accessing music. Together we are entering into the fourth phase of digital music. The different phases may be defined as:

  • The rise of piracy in late nineties
  • Rise of download stores in the early 2000s
  • Rise of streaming services in the late 2000s
  • Rise of curated service in 2013-14

The discoverability of music has become really easy today. Services like Mobile Karaoke allow users to search and access music anywhere. The audio-visual module has again created a never before experience for customers looking to remain updated with the latest music access trends. Moreover, the Karaoke app has been designed to bring in change the way people see to music, creating an impact on them and transforming how content and technology can be used.

There has been a sea change in and around music and a lot still needs to be done around it. In this context, karaoke is a step taken towards creating that impact by its latest features- selling or promoting one’s own creation, creating a fan network, singing along an original sound track along with inter-mixing one’s voice with that of the artist.

September 25, 2015 0 comment
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Mobile commerce or M-commerce is the use of handheld mobile devices for completing online transactions. It refers to the buying and selling of goods and services through devices such as mobile phones, laptops and PDAs (personal digital assistants). Mobile commerce leverages the explosion of services and applications that are readily being made accessible from internet-enabled cellular devices.

M-commerce gained popularity being called as the next-generation e-commerce as it enabled the consumers to access the internet without requiring finding a place to plug-in. WAP- the technology behind emerging m-commerce is making greater strides in countries where mobile devices having web-ready micro browsers are commonly available. Mobile money is said to be yet another boon for mobile commerce.

Some stats for Mcommerce growth:

  • The growth of m-commerce is anticipated to exceed $500 billion by the year 2017. This will solely be driven by Europe, Asia and America.
  • The m-commerce transactions conducted via mobiles and tablets will sum up to $3.2 trillion by the year 2017.
  • A global growth of 35% is expected for mobile payment transactions between 2012 and 2017.

Why M-Commerce is trending?

  • The increasing uptake of handheld devices and mobile apps, which in turn, increases the demand for new and convenient applications to avail goods and services.
  • The fast adoption of e-commerce backed by the quick resolution of the associated security issues.
  • Technological advancements that have given advanced capabilities and substantial computing power to the wireless handheld devices.

In order to leverage the potential of the m commerce market, various device manufacturers are working with different carriers to develop WAP-enabled smart gadgets. Using Bluetooth technology, smart devices offer converged phone, e-mail and fax capabilities on a single device. This paves the way for M-commerce to be readily accepted by an everyday increasing mobile workforce.

Mobile Commerce Technologies

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Beacon- BLE Beacon is a wireless technology for personal area network. It transmits the static, same message to all the recipients lying in its range. It is most beneficial for location-based advertising, payment data retrieval and loyalty rewards management.

Near Field Communication (NFC)- NFC is a set of protocols allowing for radio communication between multiple devices brought into contact or close proximity to a distance of 10 cm with each other. It tags store static information available to be retrieved by a reader device. It is most beneficial for interactive advertising.

Quick Response (QR) Code- QR codes are machine readable barcodes with outstanding data storage capability and extremely high data-fault tolerance. QR codes consist of an array of black and white squares used for storing information, readable by a built-in smartphone camera. These can be placed virtually anywhere and are useful for payment data retrieval and ticketing.

Summary

The range of mobile commerce enabled devices is rapidly growing and has expanded its reach to smartphones and tables in the recent years. The increasing adoption of e-commerce with new technological innovations has provided a strong foundation for m-commerce, which is going to continue on a very strong growth trajectory for the years to come.

As the content delivery over wireless devices has become more secure, faster and scalable over the past few years, there is a wide anticipation that m-commerce will surpass e-commerce as a method of choice for digital transactions in the times to come.

September 11, 2015 0 comment
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