The Wired Operator in a Wireless World, Part 1: Subscriber-Aware Network Intelligence

Subscriber-Aware Network Intelligence

Converged access networks are becoming the norm for today’s communication service provider (CSP), as the traditional wireline and fiber operators look to support the changing needs of their customers in an increasingly wireless world. What does a converged network look like for the subscriber when it includes a transparent layer offering seamless handoff between wireless and wired access? How does the CSP provide that seamless world between the wireless access within the home and abroad?

In this series, we will cover how this new industry landscape impacts customer service issues and how this challenge is an opportunity for CSPs to launch new services.

Subscriber-Aware Network Intelligence

Analysts currently project there are over 7.9 billion wireless devices connected to the Internet today. Without having visibility within the home, it is almost impossible to determine the root cause of the customer’s issue.

The Broadband Forum TR-069 protocol provides a wealth of data and a more holistic overview of the subscriber network than piecing together metrics from diverse streams of information, such as statistics from the CMTS, bandwidth consumption records, or the subscriber provisioning stack. However, augmenting this edge intelligence with network level visibility can provide sophisticated insights, enabling for example a customer service representative (CSR) to determine if issues are caused by WiFi congestion, a localized outage, or low negotiated speeds between the access point and the mobile device. In many cases, these root causes can even be resolved remotely without affecting the user experience or requiring a truck roll.

Creating a Better CSR Dashboard with Subscriber-Aware Network Intelligence

In a typical service provider’s organizational structure there are multiple tiers of support representatives. Much like network operations, these different tiers have differing needs and security requirements. A CSR dashboard not only needs to adapt to support various subscriber device capabilities, but it also should be configured to provide different dashboards for different user groups. In reality, even if a CSR had all the device statistics and settings, a support call — be it troubleshooting or otherwise — could be significantly expedited if the CSR had access to a full set of data.

What is needed is a dashboard framework that can easily import data from third-party systems in the OSS/BSS stack. Data monitored from network operations tools, such as whether or not the subscriber is over quota and being rate shaped from a policy enforcement service or whether they are affected by a localized outage, is invaluable to a CSR rep and greatly improves their performance if everything they need is on one screen. Imagine if a customer called the call center on a Friday night exasperated that their favorite OTT service was unable to deliver HD quality feeds; unaware that they were rate shaped during peak hours due to being over quota. If the CSR did not have access to this information, the resolution of the call could be a truck roll which might take days to complete due to resource constrictions or weekend delays. Not only will this result in a frustrated customer, but in addition it will result in an inconclusive and costly diagnosis from the on-site technician the following Monday.

The picture changes dramatically when the CSR is able to inform the customer that the reason for poor quality is due to being over quota. The customer is satisfied with the reason and is able to make an informed decision on what to do next. In fact, this is an upsell opportunity for a peak hours high bandwidth package. One internal customer study showed that regardless of a satisfactory conclusion to a customer call, there is a 37% probability that the customer will leave the service provider within three months.

This example highlights the need for proactive care and expedited issue resolution.

Subscriber-aware network intelligence is only one facet of enriching the customer experience. In my next article I’ll discuss self-driving networks; the concept of taking automation to the next level using context aware event-based scripting to provide automated device settings using complex heuristics. Stay tuned next week.

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