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Experience is Paramount at the 2017 ANGA COM

Andrew Thong

Right as May turned into June, we joined thousands of attendees at the latest edition of ANGA COM in Cologne, Germany. Over the course of three days, I had the opportunity to listen and gain insights on the challenges faced today in the industry.

As we're already aware, data consumption and demand continue to march upwards. This is further evident by the sheer amount of FTTx-related vendors and solutions present at the show. Cable service providers can look at DOCSIS 3.1 or tilt their HFC towards FTTx.

Regardless of what access network technology is in place, the bandwidth throughput will be ample for today's demands. However, due to the widespread adoption of disruptive services such as HDR OTT video, advanced gaming platforms, virtual reality consoles, and the Internet of things (IoT), the requirements and expectations for quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) will continue to inch upwards.

There is certainly an imperative to maintain subscriber satisfaction and mitigate churn rates. I noticed more attention being driven towards the customer network experience. Communication service providers (CSPs) need to perform to subscriber expectations to bridge content providers with their audiences (the subscribers).

Many years ago, subscribers may have tolerated the occasional outage — Internet connectivity wasn't considered as vital as it is now. Today, a short interruption or quality downgrade will lead to subscribers scrambling to find their provider's toll-free number. High-fidelity media like 4K streaming is more vulnerable to interruptions on the network. Buffering can only achieve so much, especially when premium subscribers won't accept a lengthy "buffer" from the start.

Allocating more funds and time into call centers and maintenance crews is not the ideal answer, it's a bandaid solution at the cost of revenue.

Deploying systems that can actively monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) and provide the notifications necessary to proactively keep tabs on network performance puts CSPs one step closers. Many service providers already have such solutions in place — but it is also important to ensure that the right KPIs are being tracked and acted upon.

Furthermore, a network analytics suite can help service providers understand subscriber usage patterns and network resource utilization, paving the way to congestion minimization and traffic management policy development. Properly implemented, service providers can also see CAPEX and OPEX benefits through well-informed decisions on the network.

Device management has been the go-to, a standard answer for years — especially when it comes to WiFi quality in the premises. Devices that support diagnostic tests and return mission critical parameters can also give service reps better insight on the state of the network beyond the demarcation line.

These solutions are just fundamentals towards an excellent customer network experience. The data and analytics produced can be used to feed an existing support or ticketing system, providing additional context that can assist customer service representatives. Whether it's knowing the ideal next steps to resolve issues or having better empathy of the situation, customer service representatives (CSRs) can be empowered to drive better support. On top of that, the combined effort of multiple analytics, reporting, and diagnostics will enable better prioritization of network maintenance and repair efforts.

With DOCSIS 3.1 and FTTx, service providers already have good throughput options to address increased demand for data. For customer experiences, there are several subjective factors that make the answer not so clear cut. "Where Broadband Meets Content" was the slogan/motto for the ANGA COM exhibition and congress. Something needs to slot in the middle to facilitate this meeting — "without interruptions or delays".

By Andrew Thong, Product Marketing & Management at Incognito Software Systems

Related topics: Access Providers, Broadband, Telecom

 
   

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