One 'converged' view of customer data

In order to deliver converged services, operators must have real-time access to their customers' data, say industry players.

SINGAPORE--Operators need to consolidate subscriber data in order to deliver converged services, say industry players, who add that there are now more revenue opportunities for running applications than before.

Speaking at the CommunicAsia conference Wednesday, Adam Bryant, CTO of telco equipment maker Apertio Asia-Pacific, said that a converged network encompasses data layers running over various platforms such as CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and wireless local area networks, and supporting numerous applications and different user profiles. And at the top of this mash, Bryant said that operators and service providers need to have a common view of their customers' data.

Having real-time access to subscriber data is especially critical in a "self-care, multiple access service landscape with a massively scalable platform", he added. This would allow subscribers to easily configure their service settings, while service providers can support customer requirements without missing a beat, he said.

Bryant noted that to keep the processes lean and manageable, service providers "only need to know certain attributes of the customer data" and be able to extract relevant information amid this complex intertwining network environment.

More revenue opportunities
According to Eric Burger, deputy CTO of BEA Systems, there are now more revenue-generating opportunities for businesses running applications over the network, compared to the past when operators raked in the bulk of the money.

The industry previously concentrated on how users connect to the network, but that focus has now shifted to improving the user experience, explained Burger, who was also a speaker at the conference.

"You no longer need to be a carrier to offer these services," said Burger, referring to mashup services such as navigation tool Google Maps and social networking site Facebook.

It is also easy for new services to be created and added when businesses leverage Web 2.0 infrastructure such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), a framework for delivering multimedia services, Burger said.

Applications now take an average of 12 weeks to develop, unlike previously when development work would require two years to complete, he noted. For example, to create a service that allows mobile users to search the nearest Starbucks currently takes only 100 lines of code and a single day. Previously, it would take 18 engineers over 13 months to develop a similar location-based search service, said Burger.

Georgina Tang is a freelance IT writer based in Singapore.