Business cases for IBNs in Fixed-line, Mobile and Wi-Fi networks are clearly different. There are operators that work in just one type of network and there are operators that work in several networks – failure to address these different engagement and monetization opportunities will certainly have a negative effect on operators’ growth and development plans.
Regardless of network type, the most obvious examples of business cases for IBNs include: churn reduction, quota depletion messages, reminders and notifications for subscribers, operator and 3rd party marketing research (polling) and advertising, direct link to subscriber’s account to provide one-click cross-selling and upselling opportunities for operators… Fixed-line networks also give operators a chance to communicate directly with corporate users (those who use Internet from their office and are behind NAT) and Wi-Fi networks offer great opportunities for location-based notifications and ads, as well as engagement with subscribers not only in http but also https traffic, thereby significantly broadening the reach of IBNs. Additionally, Wi-Fi networks are goldmine for targeting tourists, monetization of sports events, airports etc. In fact, there are lots of opportunities and it’s up to operators to identify them.
For a more complicated (and yet real-life) example, consider a big telco that has own FTTH, Mobile and Wi-Fi networks. It is obvious that their subscribers and users in different networks overlap. Being a mobile and FTTH subscriber, I can log into Wi-Fi network using my mobile phone number details – this allows operator to identify me and use the information that operator knows about me to communicate with me, target me with relevant (hopefully!) messages and engage with me in a way that makes me want to continue using the services.
As discussed in the previous post, IBNs must be used to perform real-time analysis of subscriber actions and apply this information for segmented and personalized approach. IBN can put me in specific subscriber groups according to sites that I visit regularly – e.g. “Sports” (because I follow hockey scores) and “Pets” (because I have a dog that destroys toys way too often and I order new toys online). Real-time analysis derived by IBN from my behavior and real-time update of subscriber groups allow IBN to do this seamlessly. And it does not matter whether I visit these sites when I am on Mobile, FTTH or Wi-Fi traffic – operator identifies me as me and allocates me to these groups regardless.
Operators need to be at pace with the digital lifestyle of its subscribers and deliver sustainable and meaningful value to them. Without cross-network subscriber engagement tools this will be a near-impossible task to accomplish.
Putting me in these groups gives operator the opportunity to target me accordingly. For example, when I log into Wi-Fi network and there is a Pet store nearby, operator will notify me of that and show me the relevant ad. If I am in town and there is a hockey game tonight, operator can recommend a sports bar nearby where I can watch this game. And the more IBN knows about me, the more relevant and less annoying and distracting these ads and notifications will be.
It is not about creation of “Skynet” that controls our actions, behavior and watches our every move, and there should be no fear of that. IBNs are not hostile – rather, they are tools for operators to grow their business and they are also one of the key components for Smart Cities.
Some may argue that online ads are annoying, distracting, intrusive and simply arrogant. Others say that it would be great if ads could become more creative, deliver interesting, useful and relevant information without blatantly trying to sell something. Many voice concerns about abuse of personal information by operators… Whatever opinions may be, ads and notifications are here to stay and this is exactly why all these concerns and opinions shall motivate operators to implement IBNs that will improve subscriber experience, thereby increasing QoE and QoS. Loyal subscribers are willing to explore and try new services and products that operator has to offer.
Powerful and intelligent IBNs allow operators to advertise and upsell their own new products and services to their subscribers, as well as 3rd party offerings, thereby monetizing the internal (subscribers) and external (advertisers) revenue opportunities. This will be the focus of the next post…
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