Can CEM systems and processes transfer from retail voice services to M2M?
SysMech’s René Tonon discusses Customer Experience Management in the fast moving and increasingly competitive M2M landscape.
M2M technology has hit the telco world by storm. Customers are experiencing a new level of efficiency via M2M services, but as more and more new services are introduced, the question on our minds is this: Will customer experience keep up?
In the M2M world, carriers are now being ranked on their M2M customer experience management activities, and CEM success is now a key KPI for measuring and understanding M2M customers’ experience.
With 50 billion devices expected to be ‘the norm’ by 2020, customer experience management (CEM) solutions have their work cut out for themselves.
Who takes ownership of CEM with M2M? The manufacturer or the network operator?
One of the first questions we have to ask is ‘who’s responsibility is it anyway?’ If a telco sells SIM cards to an energy company for their smart meters, and they then experience problems with the devices, is it the device itself, the SIM card, the wi-fi connection or the mobile network? There must be a strong partnership between the CSP and the energy company, along with resource and budget to address any arising issues.
Service level agreements for CSPs will be dependent of the services provided. For example, the European eCall service for cars involved in crashes, or Remote patient monitoring solutions will require more stringent SLAs than a smart meter service, and these must be clear from the off.
The Quality of Experience
The quality of experience related to M2M services is twofold: There is the quality of service (availability) to the end user consuming the M2M service, and then there are the agreements between the CSP and the company providing the M2M service itself. The first one is the responsibility of the company providing the service, while the latter is the responsibility of the CSPs.
CSPs are responsible for communication service with SLAs, back to companies providing the end service to the customer. These SLAs are different to the SLAs applied in data services over LTE and in VoLTE QoS monitoring for example.
How does CEM differ from voice retail and M2M?
M2M has smaller data sets, but these exist in massive volumes. Many M2M applications produce hundreds of bits of measurement data, so we need to reduce the M2M system cost by simplifying the chipset.
The industry is forging ahead to evolve existing technologies to make them more suitable for M2M applications. For example, current modems in LTE networks have aimed at tens of megabits to enable high resolution imaging and video content.
LTE was originally designed for high data-rate broadband services, but the 3GPP Release 12 has defined LTE-M for machine type communication, with a different set of KPIs, while still complying with the LTE system. These KPIs include reduced bandwidth, lower maximum transmit power and reduced support for downlink transmission.
Optimisations such as these significantly reduce cost. To enable LTE to be a competitive solution for low ARPU M2M communication, further cost reductions are required and are being addressed in Release 13 and beyond.
The new requirements: Adaptable Systems
There is a definite need for an end-to-end service management tool that can cover traditional voice services as well as M2M services. M2M requires completely different KPI’s to voice, therefore a system that can respond to this is important.
All in all, traditional systems can incorporate M2M, but it’s important to have an understanding of what is needed, to have good partnerships and adaptable, responsive processes.
In the new M2M world, operators will need to be proactive, quick to adapt to new standards, and to be continually monitoring the customer experience.
The author is René Tonon, business consultant at SysMech Ltd.