Hidden in a relatively obscure software release is a sign from Ericsson that it thinks the future is multiplay and it fancies its chances if that’s the case.
The somewhat unglamorously named Ericsson Expert Analytics Release 16.1 is the latest iteration of its CEM (customer experience management) platform, featuring all the customary buzzwords and clichés including leading, award-winning, end-to-end, holistic and even the promise of a 360-degree view. So far so standard, but the difference this time is a focus on managing the customer experience across the whole multiplay spectrum – i.e. mobile, fixed, broadband, TV and content.
While it’s not our job to regurgitate the many bold claims Ericsson is making on behalf of this new release – there are doubtless acres of sales collateral you can download from the Ericsson site if that’s what you’re into – we were intrigued by this new emphasis on multiplay operators, so we spoke to Neil Lilley from the Ericsson CEM and analytics team to get his company’s thinking on this.
“It is challenging to compare the customer experience across different service types – for example, between fixed and mobile networks,” Lilley told Telecoms.com. “Drivers are different for each of the services that ride on those networks. Measuring those services is different. How do you associate what is traditionally viewed as separate accounts although really the same person?
“Customers are consuming services where they can move from device to device – starting on a journey and finishing at home. So now you have services that are hoping for the same service experience. You need to be able to measure the quality of each part as a whole.
“Ericsson’s service provider customers are starting to see how subscribers develop their perception of experience across this range of disparate services, so they need to have a complete and consistent view of customer satisfaction and customer behaviour.”
Whether or not this release provides that is for Ericsson customers to decide, but the company is in a novel position to service the multiplay market in general as a big part of its diversification strategy has focused on providing services to the TV industry. We asked if that will help with this sort of thing.
“Yes, very much so,” said Lilley, unsurprisingly. “Our experience in the TV space helps us understand both the technology and the drivers of quality in video and we use the same Ericsson expert analytics platform for measuring both telephony, mobile data, fixed data and broadcast TV to measure quality in all those areas.
“We see fixed and mobile convergence continuing at pace, both as a technology and as a customer expectation and as a competitive advantage…There is strong customer demand and operators want to see that happen, we see that trend continuing as customers like and expect it in how they consume the service and in how their account relationships are managed and understood by the operator.”
Ericsson is looking to play to its strengths here. Competitors Nokia and Huawei have a more conspicuous presence in the fixed-line market but neither have made such a thing out of TV. In trying to move the service provider discussion towards multiplay Ericsson is probably hoping to bring its TV strengths more into play.