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eu no 2/2009 (10)
Comarch Telecommunications Business Unit
Comarch Technology Review is a publication created
by Comarch experts and specialists. It aims at assist-
ing our customers and partners in obtaining in-depth
information about market trends and developments, and
the technological possibilities of addressing the most
important issues.

in focus

Mobile Technologies

>> Behind the Scene of Mobile Products – Smartphone Operating Systems


>> Loyalty Card Killer!
>> Location-Based Services: New Opportunities for Innovation
>> Smartphone – the Best Tool for Cutting Field Service Costs and Increasing
Productivity
Change the way you plan and operate your
network with Comarch Next Generation
Network Planning!
If you want to discover how to simplify network planning and optimization,
automate network operation and reduce OSS system complexity
visit ngnp.comarch.com!
Preface < 3

In today’s times, we’re all aware that


the world is mobile. And
it’s not only because people carry mobile handsets and
Editor-in-Chief: Katarzyna Gajewska
DTP&Graphics: Jakub Malicki
Proofreading: Martin Jones
Publisher: Comarch SA, Al. Jana Pawła II 39a,
laptops religiously, but mainly due to the outstanding
31-864 Kraków
possibilities offered by existing services, systems, Tel. +48 12 64 61 000, Fax: +48 12 64 61 100,
environments, resources and communities when mobilized. e-mail: marketing@comarch.pl
Mobile devices are just enablers, the real secret behind it www.comarch.eu
relates to how each and every solution should be tailored Print: Skleniarz Printing House, ul. J. Lea 118,
to mobiles in order to enrich the end user experience and 31-033 Kraków
Circulation: 1 000
provide the right content at the right time: “Here and Now”,
on demand and limitlessly. Business models for mobility Technology Review is a free publication
will be driven by QoS and AoS of services as well as by available by subscription. The articles
the interoperability of voice, data, multimedia and payment published here can be copied and reproduced
services. Telco “dumb pipes” or “smart pipes” network only with the knowledge and consent
services will support users’ communication, interactions of the editors. The names of products and
Paweł Bieryt companies mentioned are trade marks and
and mobility, entertainment and professional activities.
trade names of their producers.
In this issue of Technology Review we present various Comarch SA
Position: EVP Professional Services
aspects of mobility as it opens new markets and To receive your subscription to the electronic
Department: Telecommunications
opportunities emerging from already existing legacy Business Unit
version or see the previous issues, please
solutions in telecommunications, as well as NGN and 4G, visit technologyreview.comarch.com.
which have vast potential for converging and evolving
and both of which are enriched by mobile access Since 1993, Comarch’s Telecommunications
channels. Starting from Smartphone technologies, through Business Unit has been specializing in
applications in LBS, Loyalty and Digital Homes, towards designing, implementing and integrating
solutions and services for telecommunication
the solutions in telecommunications providing a third
operators.
dimension to Service Assurance and Networking, the Experience gained during this time, along with
excellence of intelligent networks with mobile assets is its knowledge of the latest industry trends,
presented step-by-step. allows the company to flexibly adapt itself to
At Comarch, we strongly believe that when the right the needs and expectations of every client.
approach to mobility is adopted, services can evolve
Worldwide Offices:
rapidly, systems be enriched with network intelligence,
Poland
self-tuning and self-adaptation, environments can be
Belgium
simplified to service delivery platforms, resources can be Germany
managed more easily by All-IP technologies, and unified France
processes and communities can grow dynamically. All Lithuania
these factors will enable positive market segmentation Austria
and lead to highly lucrative business openings in the near Panama
Russia
future. Join us in our vision and enjoy reading! <<<
Piotr Madej Switzerland
Slovakia
Comarch SA Czech Republic
Position: Mobile R&D Department Director Ukraine
Department: Telecommunications
The United States of America
Business Unit
The United Arab Emirates
Complete integration with operator’s existing order
management, billing and even legacy CRM systems
Business process automation helping to optimize
and standardize the processes
Coverage of the full acquire-grow-retain customer lifecycle
with integrated functional modules

Learn more at:


crm-for-telecoms.comarch.com

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Table of Contents < 5

in focus 22. Digital Home – a Dream or 35. Telco on Demand? Can


4. Behind the Scene of Mobile
a Fact?
UPnP is the technology of tomorrow that started
a telecom provider
outsource everything
Products – Smartphone the day before yesterday. The main goal of UPnP
Operating Systems technology is to enable seamless connectivity of
besides the marketing
Despite the global recession, Smartphone sales
various devices, forming networks in home or cor- department?
porate environments and enabling Digital Home
surpassed 40 million units in the second quarter Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a model of soft-
experience. By its design, adding new devices or
of 2009, according to Gartner. It is a 27 per cent ware deployment whereby a provider licenses an
programs to the network should be as easy as
increase from the same period last year, while over- application to customers for use as a service on
plugging a piece of hardware into a PC. The devices
all mobile phone sales declined 6 per cent. What demand. The SaaS model has become one of the
and programs connected familiarize themselves
kind of factors should you take into account when most popular trends in today’s IT environment.
with the current network setup thanks to service
planning a mobile product? Is the mobile devel- Software vendors are starting to offer their soft-
discovery and advertisement, and configure them-
opment process for mobiles the same as it is for ware in the SaaS model for many industries. But
selves accordingly on the fly, with regard to devices
desktops? Is it really possible to write one appli- is SaaS already mainstream in telecommunica-
already connected. In short: UPnP is a framework
cation that serves all, or at least the majority of all, tions? How far can a telecom provider go into SaaS?
for building networked applications.
devices available on the market? Are there any IT or network areas that cannot be

10. Loyalty Card Killer!


outsourced?
Operational Excellence
Nowadays, there are loyalty programs for almost
27. Towards Self-Organizing 40. Self Tuning OSS
every business on the market: in retail, finance, An economic slowdown always pushes market play-
airline, and also telecommunications. But this final Networks ers to reduce costs and peruse new revenue sources.
example probably benefits from running loyalty Current mobile market landscape with dropping rev- A more effective strategy than a simple one off effort
programs the least. Frequent Flyer Programs offer enues per bit and increasing demand for diversified is to employ the tenet of efficiency improvements as
tickets as a highly lucrative reward and retail com- service portfolio forces operators to reduce OPEX a continuous cycle. The article describes the concept
panies facilitate quicker points collection. Is today’s while investing in new technologies and solutions. of the OSS system which should not only promise to
technology able to change the situation, reap more Constantly growing multi-technology and multi- add value to CSP but also contain self-assessment
profits for mobile operators and grant them tools vendor networks become more complex than ever and self-tuning mechanisms which can measure
which are also desired by loyalty programs in other before and significant network planning and man- the system performance in business oriented KPIs
industries? agement effort is needed to ensure satisfactory end and improve its performance. See how the concept

13. Location-Based Services: New user experience. This effort can be minimized with of a continuous improvement cycle implemented
implementation of Self-Organizing Networks (SON) in the Next Generation Service Management solu-
which will enable operators to simplify network tion can help CSPs to maintain profitability whilst
Opportunities for Innovation under pressure to reduce time-to-market for new
operation and extend their network in plug & play
Localization technologies are increasingly becom- manner. Comarch considers network management services. Find out about customer service compo-
ing an integral part of our lives and help improve the automation as key requirement as well as a crucial sition optimization which aligns with the notion of
quality of services we use. It is claimed by some factor for investments in next-generation wireless Self-Organizing Networks.
that it is a technology powerful enough to become technologies such as LTE and supports SON use
a leading component of the information technol- cases with its product portfolio.

32. Service Assurance: Bridging


ogy world in the near future. According to Gartner,
the LBS market is set to grow from $41 million in
2008 to $95.7 million in 2009. This is likely to be
a slightly optimistic forecast, but nonetheless it is
the Gap between the
quite apparent in today’s world that the number Traditional Management Silos
of services using location-based technology will Each service provider has its own business model.
increase. This article gives a broad outline of LBS One may focus on being the technological leader deliv-
technology, present and possible future applica- ering the highest possible quality to customers, while
tions of it, and also discusses the innovation trends others may find their niche in simple and inexpensive
in the area of LBS. services that are available for a flat rate. Yet all of them

17. Smartphone – the Best Tool face the same problem, the customer will leave if the
services do not work. Throughout the years they have
been mitigating this potential threat with a number
for Cutting Field Service Costs
of different fault management tools which keep the
and Increasing Productivity network in a good state of operation. Nowadays this
Does your field service use up more and more seems to be no longer possible as business mod-
money? Do your customers seem to be dissatis- els have changed. Today, even simple services have
fied, and are the number of “Where is my tech?” become dependent on several different platforms,
escalations refusing to decrease? There is a sim- which are often delivered by business partners. Ser-
ple solution: buy gadgets, go with trends and be vice providers must bridge the gap between old tools
green. Your company will not only save money but and new models. They must shift their operations to
will also be able to increase revenue. the next level: Service Assurance.

nr 2/2009 (10)
6 > In Focus

Behind the scene


of mobile products
Smartphone Operating Systems

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 7

Abstract cent for one OS), or even choosing a web browser (two bian Foundation was founded by Nokia, Sony Ericsson,
main browsers with around a 90 per cent user share). NTT DoCoMo, Texas Instruments, Vodafone, Samsung,
Despite the global recession, Smartphone sales sur- This is healthy as competition drives quality and inno- ST Ericsson and AT&T with the aim to “provide royalty-
passed 40 million units in the second quarter of 2009, vation, and you can select what best suits your needs. free software and accelerate innovation”. Comarch also
according to Gartner. It is a 27 per cent increase from On the other hand, however, you have to research every contributes to the development of Symbian through
the same period last year, while overall mobile phone possibility, and it is far more difficult to make your prod- its membership of the Symbian Foundation, sharing
sales declined 6 per cent. If you also take into account uct accessible to the majority of users. the vision of creating an open and compelling mobile
the rapidly growing functionality of these devices (fast software platform.
CPU, GPS, accelerometer etc.), and the mobile applica-
tion stores boom it comes as no surprise that more Symbian
and more companies decide to build their products
for the market, or add mobile functionality to those In 1998 Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, and Psion founded
already existing. Because of the number of Operating a company called Symbian Ltd. “to exploit the conver-
Systems that can be found in smartphones, the deci- gence between PDAs and mobile phones”. Psion had The Symbian Foundation is going to publish the
sion regarding which to choose can be crucial. What created the EPOC16 operating system for its pocket Symbian platform under the open source Eclipse Pub-
kind of factors should you take into account when computers, Psion Organisers, in the late 1980s. Partner- lic License by 2010. This is a fantastic opportunity not
planning a mobile product? Is the mobile development ship between the leading phone manufacturers was only for all developers interested in writing applica-
process for mobiles the same as it is for desktops? Is most likely to have been driven by fear of losing the tions for Symbian, and looking to explore the source
it really possible to write one application that serves smartphone market to PDA companies. Psion’s EPOC32 code and uncover Symbian OS secrets, but also for
all, or at least the majority of all, devices available on operating system, developed since the mid 90s, was device manufacturers, who can now equip their own
the market? These are questions that service provid- primarily used in the Ericsson R380 (November 2000). devices with Symbian OS free of charge. The likely con-
ers new to the mobile world may not have answers for. Later, EPOC32 was renamed Symbian OS, and was uti- sequence of this is that creating Symbian applications
In this article we try to answer them and give a broad lized in the Nokia 9210 and Nokia 7650 (2001). will be easier, faster and more cost-effective.
outline of today’s mobile software landscape. Symbian Ltd’s shareholders have changed over Currently, Symbian is the leading smartphone
time (e.g. Siemens, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony Eric- OS, and with the support of nearly 150 members of
sson), and the company also licensed the Symbian the foundation, including mobile network operators,
Key Players OS to even more manufacturers (e.g. LG, Arima, Fujitsu, semiconductor vendors, software companies, and
Lenovo, BenQ, Sharp). On Symbian Ltd’s 10th anniver- phone manufacturers it probably will be for some time
Choosing a Smartphone Operating System is much more sary Nokia announced that they intended to acquire to come. Admittedly, its market share has recently
difficult than choosing an OS for a PC (around 90 per and transform it into a non-profit foundation. The Sym- declined in favor of RIM, iPhone and Android, but its
position remains very strong.
Figure 1. The market share in Q2, 2009 according to Gartner Even though Symbian is the leading global smart-
phone OS, in North America it is a very different story,
Symbian 51% this probably due to (smaller) Nokia’s market share.
RIM BlackBerry 19% When it comes to application development on the
iPhoneOS 13% Symbian platform it is important to note that it enables
Windows Mobile 9% developers to implement almost anything imaginable.
Linux 5% The only limitation originates from the capability model,
Android 2% which restricts some APIs crucial for maintaining the
Other 1%
platform’s integrity. However, before you start imple-
menting your solution you should be aware that devel-
oping for Symbian is fairly time-consuming. Symbian’s
dialect of the C++ programming language is not par-
ticularly straightforward and you need experienced
developers in order to meet the deadlines and obtain
software of a good quality. Nevertheless, when com-
pleted the application is fast, smooth, user friendly and
satisfies even the most fastidious customers.

RIM BlackBerry

The BlackBerry Operating System is produced by


Please note that these results are based on the number of units sold in Q2, and is not a true representation of Research In Motion Limited. The first BlackBerry device
the number of smartphones currently operated by users (a larger share for Symbian OS and Windows Mobile was released in 2002 and since then has gained pop-
at the expense of iPhone and Android). ularity mainly in North America. From its very incep-

nr 2/2009 (10)
8 > In Focus

tion the key feature of BlackBerry was push email (the only methods for shipping are through Apple. However, Linux
possibility to receive email directly), which attracted as the phone itself is in high demand in the United
real interest from various companies. States and is gaining in popularity in other parts of No royalties or licensing fees and the ability to freely
the world it is wise to also provide an iPhone version change virtually anything were most probably the
of your application, if possible of course. main motives behind why many smartphone manu-
facturers decided to use Linux kernel as a base to its
own platforms. Platforms produced by Motorola and
Recently BlackBerry has increased its market share, Windows Mobile DoCoMo gained the most popularity on the Asian mar-
but what may bring a halt to this growth is the alliance ket. Nokia and Google also invested in Linux-based
between Nokia and Microsoft announced in August. Windows Mobile is the operating system from Micro- platforms – Maemo and Android respectively.
The purpose of the agreement is to bring business soft for smartphones, PDA, and other devices. The first With the variety of different vendors’ Linux-based
software to smartphones and (officially) pose height- version was released in 2000, and because of Micro- platforms, it highlights the fact that many sides are
ened competition to the likes of BlackBerry. Nokia soft’s dominant position on the market for operating interested in its growth, yet the lack of compatibil-
smartphones containing both Microsoft Office and systems for PC, office suites and web browsers many ity between them currently makes it impossible to
email programs is likely to be the key development believed that the impending success of Windows treat “Mobile Linux” as competition to the platforms
born from this collaboration. Mobile is just a matter of time. Indeed, the option to described above. Industry standards or de-facto stan-
The usage of Java language makes development for easily exchange and use documents and emails with dards can alter the situation. An additional opportunity
BlackBerry relatively easy, when compared to Symbian a PC is still a major selling point of the OS. for Linux on smartphones is the scope for single plat-
for instance. It is also easier to find developers who form success. These days Android and Maemo look
can start developing for the platform without problems the most promising. In fact, almost every six months
arising. The range of APIs available is another advan- there is news in the media that “undisclosed Nokia
tage of the BlackBerry platform, though maybe it is not sources” reveal that the company will in fact abandon
as comprehensive when compared to the Symbian Symbian in favor of Linux.
case. However, with popularity limited to North America
this renders it suitable for only certain solutions.
Android

iPhone OS Following the release of Apple’s iPhone in 2007, many


The most probable reason for the less sizeable expected that internet giant Google would release its
The first iPhone was released by Apple Inc. in June 2007. success of the Mobile version in comparison to desk- own gPhone. Eventually, this turned out not to be the
Taking this into account, its popularity is huge, and it is top Windows is most likely related to the unwilling- case, but in November 2007 Google did announce the
still dynamically growing. Even though there is contro- ness of leading smartphone manufacturers to inte- early version of the smartphone operating system
versy regarding how great the contribution of market- grate it into the majority of their devices – Windows ‘Android’. The congregation of companies officially
ing was to this success, the iPhone undoubtedly has Mobile is present mainly in HTC phones. In 2009 interested in Androids’ success is the Open Handset
vast influence on all the other platforms. Microsoft signed an agreement with LG Electronic to Alliance which consists of mobile operators, software
Similar to BlackBerry, iPhone’s popularity is far license Windows Mobile, although with the attention companies, semiconductor companies and handset
greater in North America than in other regions. of HTC focused primarily on other platforms (mainly manufacturers (e.g. HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung Elec-
Android) it may not halt the trend of a decreasing tronics, Sony Ericsson). The OS is developed as open
market share. source on the Apache License, and is based on the
Following a common theme, the Windows Mobile Linux kernel on the GPL license.
market share is also more extensive in North America
in comparison to other regions.
Development for Windows Mobile-based devices
is similar to development for standard Windows. Third
party developers have several options available to
them when deploying a mobile application, includ-
Currently, there are only 3 iPhone devices - Origi- ing writing a native code with Visual C++, which pro-
nal, 3G and 3GS – and this can be a potential problem vides more comprehensive APIs, or writing a managed
with regard to wider adoption of the OS. code that works with the .NET Compact Framework,
Developing for iPhone is unfortunately not as which is actually a subset of the .NET Framework and
smooth as its usage. The language “Objective C” is hence shares numerous components with software
not widely known, and is generally limited to Apple- development on desktop clients. The resemblance
related developers. The number of APIs available is to desktop Windows and the .NET Compact Frame-
also underwhelming, and there are numerous features work make Windows Mobile particularly suitable for The first Android phone hit the market in October
which cannot be implemented by a third party. Appli- business application implementation, although other 2008. It was made by HTC, and was sold as HTC Dream
cation distribution is also far from satisfactory – the applications can also be created. but was also branded as T-Mobile G1, Era G1 and Rog-

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 9

ers Dream. Android phones did not sell as rapidly when Palm webOS GPS and information from the GSM network can be
compared to the iPhone’s release, but this may change used to retrieve information regarding where a phone
with the arrival of additional phones from alternative Another Linux-based platform that could become is and enables creating location-based products, such
manufacturers - Google expects 18 Android phones by a  major player in the future is the Palm webOS. as Google Latitude or Comarch Mobiloc.
the end of the year from 8 manufacturers. Currently, Palm Inc., a company with vast experience in the In addition, user interface hardware varies with
the main selling point of the OS is the possibility for PDA market, holds the aspiration to be the “iPhone different smartphones, although following recent
integration with Google services such as GMail and killer” and repeat its success. There were long queues developments (since iPhone’s success) it appears
GoogleMaps. to the first stores selling the device with the OS (Palm that touchscreen may now be the standard. For
Google provides developers with Java API powerful Pre), and favorable reviews in the press highlights its some products miniature QWERTY keyboards may
enough to satisfy most needs and implement various potential, although only time will tell. be especially useful and for certain additional but-
types of solutions. Moreover, advanced developers tons wheels can be used to improve user interac-
may implement the native C application and deploy tion with a product.
it within the phone, making it possible to use virtu- On the Asian market there are now smartphones
ally all the telephone’s functions. The development for with rather unusual hardware that allows a phone to
Android is not very difficult and it shouldn’t be prob- change its smell or even check how drunk you are...
lematic finding developers. Although there aren’t many Another area where smartphones differ is the size
devices on the market yet, the popularity of Android is There is an SKD for WebOS and developers can of their screens. It can vary from fairly small mono-
growing and you should certainly consider this plat- consider writing code for the device. However, due to chromatic versions found in the older devices to those
form when planning a new product. its current small market share this makes the device which are (surprisingly) quite sizeable: 16 million col-
less attractive as a target for mobile applications ors and even 800 x 480 pixels, such as on the Nokia
unless you decide to ship the device to your custom- N900. Handling such a variety of screen resolutions is
Maemo ers together with the software. not always an easy task from the programmer’s point
of view. What worsens the situation further is the ori-
Maemo is a Linux-based OS for mobile devices devel- entation, which in some models changes on the fly
oped by Nokia. The first device – Nokia 770 – was Hardware depending on the physical position of the device or
released in November 2005, and was classified as the location of the keyboard slider, in combination with
an “Internet Tablet”. Due to the lack of GSM telephony Smartphones commonly tend to utilize the most the fact that some telephones, such as the Nokia E90
hardware and a fairly large touchscreen, it was far advanced hardware currently available on the mobile Communicator, have more than one display.
more effective as a tool for web browsing compared phone market, although they do often differ from one
to the majority of alternative phone screens. Various another. Even within the genre of devices based on
voices claimed that the device was not intended to a single operating system, significant differences in Restrictions
challenge Symbian OS Nokia devices. Finally, how- hardware may still remain. As a result, the product
ever, in August of this year Nokia announced the first developer should know which hardware is essential What is likely to be one of the biggest traps waiting for
Maemo phone – N900, proceeded by rumors that for the product, and which particular smartphones those with a lack of experience in developing mobile
Maemo will be the chosen preference of Nokia for have it. products is the various restrictions. Many think that
For some products a key might be CPU speed (e.g. the smartphone OS will grant them access to every-
for encryption), and others may require advanced ani- thing, similar to that of an OS on a regular PC.
mation effects and hardware graphics acceleration. Symbian includes the Symbian Signed program,
The majority of smartphones have a built in camera, and a particular product must go through this in order
with differences in their resolution and the time the to attain access to certain phone capabilities. To pass
device requires for saving a picture. Many smartphone the program one has to guarantee that the product
their smartphones. products use a camera to attain information from the passes some tests and must also pay for the sign-
The major advantage of the Maemo platform is the environment or for scanning barcodes. ing process. There are also capabilities that require
fact that development is similar to that on standard Today, one can find smartphones with various types the device manufacturer’s approval, which might be
Linuxes. This renders it fairly attractive to Linux geeks of hardware which can be used to connect to other both problematic and extremely time consuming to
who want to extend their product range to mobile devices, devices. Thanks to this, smartphone can remotely con- achieve. The official reason for Symbian Signed’s exis-
and due to the enormous capability of the platform it is trol other devices and can also exchange data. tence is for prevention of malicious software being
hard to imagine an application which cannot be imple- Wifi Internet connection enables access to fast, installed on the phone.
mented to Maemo. Currently, there is only one smart- cheap, and unlimited Internet, and facilitates the oper- In order to develop applications for the BlackBerry
phone available on the market as the previous Maemo- ation of more mobile web scenarios. device and use certain features termed as ‘sensitive’
based devices released by Nokia were not equipped with An accelerometer and magnetometer are used you must pay 20$ for signing keys and register on the
telephony features. However, the platform is extremely to trace the actual motion of the phone, and allows RIM website. This process is used to track the usage
powerful and it is likely that it will become more popular users to interact with the application in a far more of these sensitive APIs, and does not require any test-
in the future. Therefore, you should take it into account natural way. ing or RIM’s approval.
when planning a long-term project.

nr 2/2009 (10)
10 > In Focus

Development for the iPhone was originally Symbian’s native development is carried out in C++. enable users to write a single program (single code)
restricted to Apple Inc. and several other companies This is a popular language. However, Symbian uses for more than one operating system. Typically, non-na-
they selected. Now, however, there is public SDK (Soft- its own dialect on top of C++ that must be under- tive language can be useful for relatively simple prod-
ware Development Kit), as well as the option to cre- stood in order to write the most advanced and effi- ucts that should work on as many types of devices
ate an application for the iPhone after purchasing cient programs. as possible.
a Macintosh computer and paying for iPhone Devel- BlackBerry uses two versions of Java – Java Micro The language designed to operate on all low
opment Program membership (99$). It is worth noting Edition and its own Java API. resource devices is Java Micro Edition (JME). In fact,
that even this public SDK lacks API for certain features Apple decided to create a language entitled Objec- it works on most phones (not only smartphones).
that are only available to Apple. tive C, and also took the decision to use it for the However, the more recently created platforms (iPhone,
One of Android’s design bases is that “All Apps are iPhone. Generally speaking, this language is only pop- Android) lack its native support. What is more, there
Created Equal”. The notion is that there should be no ular within Apple’s own ecosystem, and there are few are different bugs within different implementations
difference in the possibilities available for applications developers with expertise in its field, although it is of JME on different phones, and the advantage of
preinstalled on the phone by the manufacturer, and worth noting that popularity grows with the iPhone’s writing one code for several platforms is lessened by
all 3rd party applications. success. the requirement to deal with bugs specific to each
Android development can be conducted using its phone model.
own version of Java language. Following Nokia’s acquisition of Trolltech (the com-
Programming Languages pany that developed Qt Framework) in 2008 work has
been ongoing in order to provide Qt on Symbian and
It is definitely worth knowing which programming lan- One to Rule them All Maemo phones. When this is completed there should
guage is native to a particular platform, as this is the be the option to use QT for writing a single code for
key determinant of product development cost and Excluding those that are native, some smartphone Symbian, Maemo, desktop Windows, Linux, and Mac.
its maintenance. The more popular a language is the OSs’ enable writing programs in alternative languages. The Internet is also a common environment for
easier one can find developers, the less complicated Such programming languages are less efficient, grant all mobile operating systems. There is no access to
it is the more optimum the speed at which the prod- more restricted phone access, but are more straight- smartphone capabilities from a web browser, but for
uct can be developed. forward and if supported on more than one platform certain products, for which most logic can be shifted

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 11

to the server side, mobile web is also a possibility. For Framework. iPhone is a completely different story as
advanced products there are also web-related technol- the platform is reasonably closed and the first ques-
ogies such as Flash Lite and Mobile Web Widgets. tion should always be whether the functionality can
be implemented there. Following this, if you are cer-
tain of the feasibility and have experienced develop-
Application Development ers, the implementation should not take longer than
it does for Android or BlackBerry.
When comparing to desktop, mobile applications are
far less portable and must usually be written for all
required platforms separately, as there is no univer- Summary
sal programming language for all mobile devices. Java
Micro edition is sometimes viewed as a universal Without a doubt choosing a mobile operating system
language (although not supported on certain plat- is case specific – there is no single platform ideal for
forms), but it usually turns out that using Java leads every product, and you can make the most informed
to more problems than solutions. For most devices decision simply by choosing a platform that best fits Piotr Janas
it is not a native language, meaning that the appli- your particular situation. Comarch SA
cation almost never appears to be native. Moreover, Usually, the most important factor is popularity of Position: Senior Software Developer
compared to native, usually lower level programming the platform – the larger the number of devices, the Department: Telecommunications
Business Unit
language, Java applications offer inferior performance larger the market for the product. It is important to take
Info: Piotr has been developing for Mobile
and are less user friendly, which may result in cus- into account the fact that popularity varies by region platforms (mostly Symbian) for 4 years.
tomer reluctance to use them. An additional disadvan- (especially North America), and can change drasti- Currently located in Helsinki, he supports
tage of Java is the lack of APIs, which means that only cally over the product development period (such as one of Comarch’s key clients, and closely
certain features can be implemented – inexperienced in the recent case of iPhone). Rarely can one ignore follows changes in the mobile world from
an expert perspective.
developers may not even realize that a feature they popularity if the product can work on devices bought
plan to acquire is not actually feasible in Java prior especially to run it.
to starting the development, which leads to bitter Most products have hardware without which they
disappointment and, what is more important, finan- simply cannot function, and some can operate sig-
cial losses. However, it should be said that some, not nificantly better using specific types of these. Access
very complex applications can be successfully imple- to a phone’s hardware is enabled for programmers
mented by means of Java ME. in programming languages that have a major impact
Another issue one should be aware of when deal- on the cost of product development and its mainte-
ing with mobile software is that there are also differ- nance. It is also important to remember that there are
ences between devices based on the same platform. restrictions that can make some products impossible,
Due to the binary breaks between different versions or even unprofitable to create for a particular oper-
of the same platform, APIs availability, screen reso- ating system.
lutions and hardware configurations, it is impossible Finally, creating a comprehensive mobile applica-
to write a one-for-all application even on a particular tion is not an easy task and some might think they
platform, unless it is a fairly simplistic piece of soft- should try to avoid it. The mobile market, however,
ware. Going into specific details of such issues is grows rapidly and it is unwise to ignore this fact. There-
outside the scope of this article, and so if you come fore, if you lack experience you should find a company
across such problems and do not have people expe- who can help you to represent yourself in the mobile
rienced enough to solve them it is advisable to use world with your products, smoothly. It is important to
the services of an experienced company to help you note that creating a multiplatform mobile service of
complete your project. a high quality is not impossible and there are people Grzegorz Wąchocki
The effort is not the same for all platforms, and who can do it for you. <<<
Comarch SA
strongly depends upon the type of application you are Position: Senior Software Analyst /
going to implement. Some features may also be impos- R&D Manager
sible to implement for certain devices as described Department: Telecommunications
above. There is a general rule that states the lower the Professional Services
Info: Grzegorz leads the R&D unit, which
level of programming language the longer the devel-
has the main aim of exploring new
opment. Therefore, creating a native Symbian or Linux mobile-related technologies in addition
Maemo application will usually be more time-consum- to searching for new opportunities on the
ing than implementing one for Android, BlackBerry or mobile market.
Windows, providing that you can use the .NET Compact

nr 2/2009 (10)
12 > In Focus

Loyalty Card Killer!

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 13

Nowadays there are


loyalty
programs for almost every business on the market:
spending power, habits, hobbies, as well as periodic
and one-off activities, will be more comprehensively
equipped to target their promotions, select better sell-
in retail, finance, airline, and also telecommunica- ing products and will have the capacity to more pre-
tions. But this final example probably benefits from cisely adjust their discounts and prices.
running loyalty programs the least. Frequent Flyer Even though in this example customer identifica-
Programs offer tickets as a highly lucrative reward tion is possible without loyalty program membership,
and retail companies facilitate quicker points collec- there are two main factors guaranteeing that loyalty
tion. Is today’s technology able to change the situa- programs will be prominent on the market for a while
tion, reap more profits for mobile operators and grant to come. The first is the use of the NFC device itself.
them tools which are also desired by loyalty programs Not every transaction will be paid using a mobile, as
in other industries? in today’s world not every customer uses his credit
card. The percentage of people willing to use such
new solutions varies between different countries as
Evolving Analytics it depends on numerous circumstances, some of
which can even be cultural. The second factor is the
One of major benefits experienced by retailers from appeal of the loyalty program to customers’ and its
loyalty program operations is the possibility for track- impact on sales. For companies operating on very
ing customer purchases, something otherwise almost competitive markets it is paramount that they search
impossible to achieve. Without the loyalty program, and utilize every option for gaining customer atten-
knowledge about customer behavior is very limited. tion that is available.
In the telecommunications arena this problem doesn’t
exists, as every customer is identified by his SIM card
and all his data is open for analysis. What’s more, a loy- Evolving CRM Activities
alty card could be easily lost or forgotten, while most
people usually keep their mobile phone in their pocket. Customized offer presentation directed at the cus-
Usage of the mobile phone as a loyalty identifier there- tomer itself could also evolve with NFC use. Commonly
fore seems to be the perfect solution, the only prob- used channels such as emails, direct mailing and SMS
lem that needs to be resolved relates to recognition don’t provide the required flexibility, meaning the offer
of the phone by the retailers POS system. To accom- could be presented and forgotten. NFC allows for more
plish such a feature, NFC (Near Field Communication) sophisticated activities – uploaded during a visit at
technology can be employed. Based on well-known the point of sale, the offer could reveal its content at
RFID technology, it can be used for activities includ- a certain point in time, or could even offer a reminder
ing payments, ticketing, loyalty program operations, for a certain promotion periodically. Transferred data
lotteries, entertainment and marketing. can contain virtual coupons, lists of the promoted
The use of mobile phones as a program member products with points and discounts, or links to media
identifier as well as payment device could flip the content. Calendar entries can automatically inform of
situation with customer recognition completely on its company events, commencement of any promotions,
head. Every transaction made using an NFC-equipped or offer notifications of any points/coupons expiry
mobile will contain the customer ID in the form of an dates. NFC can be also used for collecting customer
NFC tag, so theoretically there won’t even be a need feedback. Uploaded questionnaires can be completed
for the loyalty program as a means for analyzing cus- by the customers at a time most convenient for them,
tomer behavior. Because the NFC tag will be homoge- and promoted with additional points or discounts.
nous for all customer transactions regardless of where Coupon promotions are particularly popular on
they are conducted, the companies will be able to certain more fully developed markets, but generally
exchange this data. The legal regulations as they cur- speaking, companies are using coupons in paper for-
rently stand are most likely to be irrelevant to this type mat and utilize channels such as newspaper or direct
of situation: transferred data does not have to contain mailing for coupons spread among consumers. This
personal information. Companies will be able to iden- limits the efficiency of such promotions as custom-
tify a customer by his tag, analyze his activities, and ers often lose their coupons or simply forget about
direct a fully customized offer to him during his next them. NFC can also improve such activities with the
visit and ensuing use of his mobile phone. No personal usage of coupons being easier than ever before. The
data collection is required here for any of the coali- coupon tag will be automatically loaded during the
tion partners. NFC and mobile phone payments can transaction to the phone and the appropriate loyalty
influence promotions as well as offer selection; com- application will take over displaying the coupon offer
panies with heightened knowledge of a customer’s to the customer. To use the coupon you only need to

nr 2/2009 (10)
14 > In Focus

fulfill the coupon conditions, and optionally select the numerous cases where the necessary device at the Dictionary
coupon from the phone menu prior to the transaction. POS (which would inform the customer of the lottery
Following NFC customer identification, all coupon-re- and the win) are lacking. Here, a mobile phone can NFC Near Field Communication: a short-range
lated operations can be performed automatically by act as an additional marketing canvas. high frequency wireless communication
the POS, and loyalty systems, discounts or additional There are also various potential benefits for telco technology which enables the exchange
points can be granted. For a fully interactive solution companies. The first of these is not even a direct advan- of data between devices over a very short
additional customer-facing displays of the POS sys- tage, but is based on human nature. With the increasing distance.
tems can also be used, and these are able to present role of mobile phones and the number of services they
all coupons and offers that the customer is entitled to. provide, people are less eager to switch the phone and RFID Radio-frequency identification: the use of an
The coupons will also be transferable between phones; the operator. This could have an impact on the loyalty object (typically referred to as an RFID tag)
for the seller it’s not so important who will use the aspect of mobile companies, without even having to applied to or incorporated into a product,
coupon the important thing is that some additional operate a single loyalty program. But there are numer- animal, or person for the purpose of identi-
profit will be generated. ous other possibilities. One of them is usage of NFC- fication and tracking using radio waves.
But of course NFC also has some limitations. With enabled phones as top up collectors. During cash trans-
the bandwidth limited to 424 kbit/s it’s impossible to actions there could be an option for taking mobile top
send large volumes of marketing information over a up in exchange for relinquishing the change. * from the “NFC Mobile Payments & Marketing Opportuni-
short connection period. NFC should then be used as ties: Forecasts & Analysis 2009 – 2014” report by Juniper
Research
the first point of offer presentation, with customers
receiving more detailed information and audio-video Summary
content via an Internet connection.
As it appears, Near Field Communication technology
can evolve into a highly potent marketing tool for loy-
Evolving Market alty program operators. With the use of NFC, compa-
nies could reap double the rewards. Directing expertly
The revolution could also take place in our wallets, as targeted offers to the relevant customers will increase
mobile phones containing built-in NFC technology can sales, and will also bring about a reduction in costs
be recognized by numerous different loyalty programs. due to the now extinct requirement for producing
This should eliminate loyalty cards from the market, advertising and promotional materials in paper format.
with their only remaining presence being on the opera- In addition, customers can appreciate additional ser-
tor’s company logo on the phone display background. vices, faster payments and simplified usage. Further-
Joining a new loyalty program will also be a very simple more, telecommunication companies can still claim
process, requiring only minimal application installa- their share, even if their loyalty programs do not benefit
tion, which can also be sent by a NFC device or down- directly from NFC solutions. Besides, they own a tool
loaded from the Internet. The installed application will which would most likely bring about a radical change
primarily collect registration data and then take care in loyalty operations in other industries.
of appropriate presentation of the marketing offer as An obstacle to the common use of this solution is
well as coupon management. the currently limited number of NFC-ready phones, and
Like any other type of technology NFC can also the even smaller availability of NFC receivers at the
be used for entertainment, and that which generates POS. But the situation is changing, and the prices of
profit. An example of this potential usage is the POS the devices are decreasing successively. According to
lotteries. During the transaction, the loyalty system a report produced by the UK-based company Juniper
is able to select a prize for the customer. This could Research, NFC mobile payments will exceed $30 bil-
be a gift, additional points or even a discount. If the lion in 2012, whilst the forecast for 2009 is currently at
customer wins, the relevant notification is displayed $8 billion*. Also, the first loyalty programs utilizing NFC
on his phone. This lottery concept is already present technology are already on the market. A good example
in some loyalty systems (a good example would be is Italian fashion house Miroglio, which commenced
Comarch Loyalty Management - CLM), but there are operations this year. <<<

Tomasz Dudek
Comarch SA
Position: Product Manager
Department: Business Development Center
Info: Tomasz is responsible for selection,
development and promotion of applications
from the CRM and customer loyalty domain.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 15

Location-Based Services
New Opportunities for Innovation

Localization
technologies are increasingly becoming an integral
forecast, but nonetheless it is quite apparent in to-
day’s world that the number of services using loca-
tion-based technology will increase. However, it is
What is a Location-Based
Service?

part of our lives and help improve the quality of ser- tricky to say what form future LBS applications will The Global Positioning System consists of satellites
vices we use. It is claimed by some that it is a tech- take and what directions should be followed in or- orbiting the Earth, control and monitoring stations
nology powerful enough to become a leading com- der to create a user-friendly, fully localize-enabled positioned on Earth itself, and GPS receivers owned
ponent of the information technology world in the and comprehensive functionality. This article gives by users. GPS satellites broadcast signals from space
near future. According to Gartner, the LBS market is a broad outline of LBS technology, present and pos- that are used by GPS receivers to provide a three-di-
set to grow from $41 million in 2008 to $95.7 million sible future applications of it, and also discusses the mensional location.
in 2009 [2]. This is likely to be a slightly optimistic innovation trends in the area of LBS.

nr 2/2009 (10)
16 > In Focus

A location-based service (LBS) is defined by the device is located. The accuracy of the location may ries, including yellow pages listings and business
Open Geospatial Consortium as a service which deliv- then be improved by combining the cell-id with a tim- descriptions in a given geographical area. All types
ers information about location to people who are using ing advance value, which is an estimation of the RTT of activities where location is of importance are also
wireless, position-aware devices such as cell phones (Round-trip delay time) between base stations and the popular e.g. detailed maps and directions, traffic con-
and PDAs [8]. The LBS can also utilize alternative infor- terminal. The estimation is then used to determine the dition alerts and information regarding services such
mation related to users and their devices such as distance between both parties. GPS on the other hand, as gas or food. Sports-related applications, such as
account context information, user location history or is a satellite-based system, with 24 satellites broadcast- running distance or calorie counters by means of
even their personal preferences in order to improve the ing location data. A GPS receiver processes the signals which one can track the path traveled or calculate
quality of the application and user experience. received from several satellites and calculates its loca- overall distance, speed etc, are also popular among
Location-based services have a long history. Since tion basing on the time differences between those sig- mass-market consumers. Another group is IM appli-
the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Defense has been nals. The main disadvantages of GPS location are the cations for mobile phones that enable locating and
operating the global positioning system (GPS), a sat- extended time to first fix (TTFF) and poor indoor cover- chatting with friends who are nearby. Today, count-
ellite-based infrastructure which is used to determine age. Thus, in order to improve the efficiency of the sys- less standard IM systems add this feature to their offer.
the position of any object on Earth. Initially, GPS was tem a new technology entitled “Assisted GPS” was intro- Location-based games in which players must visit
intended to be used for military purposes but in the duced. This approach combines GPS technology with different parts of the city in order to retrieve informa-
1980s the government decided to make it freely avail- various methods of determining position using cellular tion about other users or further game directions are
able to other industries on a worldwide basis. Many network information. In addition to the mentioned out- also a good example.
applications have since been using location data in door positioning systems, there are also indoor types. Certain multimedia data can also improve location-
order to enhance their products and services. However, The main difference between them is the target area. aware services. A user prefers listening to audio direc-
the boost of LBS in the 1990s was not driven by GPS The indoor positioning systems focus on closed areas. tions than to reading static maps with his current posi-
technology but by another type of location technol- Such systems are mostly based on monitoring the sig- tion marked, although not only data-related directions
ogy coming to prominence around this time. Mobile nal strengths characteristics. alone may be of interest here. Let us imagine that some-
network operators started using their radio stations one is riding a bicycle and using a navigation application.
infrastructure to obtain a device’s location. This tech- Not only does he appreciate the directions, but he may
nology played an essential role in creating the market Current Applications also like to listen to the sounds of his surrounding envi-
for location-based services. ronment, such as the trickle of rushing water when he
Today there are even more ways of obtaining loca- Nowadays, LBS products are employed within numer- approaches a mountain stream. There is also the possibil-
tion data (Table 1) using a mobile device. All of these ous domains, ranging from mass-market consumers, ity for adding three dimensional data, such as models of
have pros and cons, and are suitable for different customers in specialties applications, business clients buildings to the flat map, or including touch user interface
types of applications. as well as being used in industrial and corporate envi- support in order to increase user experience [1].
In cellular networks, location is carried out by means ronments, where a vast number of objects and inven- Niche consumer applications are targeted at lim-
of proximity sensing, where the position of a device tory must be identified and tracked on the map. ited areas of the market. These generally tend to be
is determined using the coordinates of the base sta- The most of all LBS-related demands originates slightly more sophisticated services and devices tai-
tions. Generally speaking, the mobile network pos- from mass-market consumers. The majority of their lored for the most financially able people e.g. golf cars
sesses the area number - called a cell - in which the requests are related to location and navigation que- equipped with computers providing information such

Table 1. Mobile network platforms for identification [3]


Type Methodology Pros Cons Industry application
Cell Identifier (Cell ID) Base station uses radio Relatively widespread Hard to pin down user’s Wireless network providers, police force,
frequency signals to infrastructure exact location to within a few banking government, security, welfare
track mobile device meters
Global Positioning System 24-satellite network Outdoor precision within Expensive. Military applications, commercial applications
(GPS) five-meter range User device must be in direct such as real estate security, police force (not
line of sight. as successful in consumer settings)
Device needs special embed-
ded chips.
Assisted Global Position- Enhancement over GPS. No “cold starts” Expensive. Military applications, commercial applications
ing System (AGPS) Perpetually locates Faster fix on location User device must be in direct such as real estate security, police force (not
device and coordinates sight. as successful in consumer settings)
data flow, unlike GPS. Device needs special embed-
ded chips.
WLAN-based Location Depends on signal No additional hardware Suitable mainly for indoor Indoor commercial applications
Services strength utilization infrastructure is needed positioning

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 17

Table 2. Business opportunities in LBS [3]


Demand Level Typical Services Typical Business Models
Consumer Demand Location and Navigation Person- Maps, driving directions, yellow pages Subscription-based services, pay-per-view, syndi-
alized Content cation, micropayments
Niche Consumer and Business Maps, shopping locator service, coupon discounts, Subscription-based services, advertising, revenue-
alerting services sharing, micropayments
Industrial/Corporate Supply chain management, inventory management, Application service provider, consultation services,
customer relationship management, intelligent infrastructure provider
transportations and system infrastructure

as golf course maps or playing tips, or fishing boats When it comes to LBS the situation is quite dif- is essential to give up looking for an application that
equipped with shoal finders. ferent. Introducing new features to existing solutions may benefit from knowing our friends’ or our own loca-
Another category is alert services, which are is not always possible, and what‘s more it generally tion. We should rather start thinking about what sort of
used during natural disasters or accidents. During tends to fail to utilize the intrinsic nature of location. services users may need at their location at that very
the SARS outbreak in 2003, for instance, Hong Kong As a result, we are offered certain sophisticated loca- moment. It is “here and now” that really matters. Unfor-
mobile phone operator Sunday launched a service tion-based features which are added to a recognized tunately, at the same time such services are somewhat
that warned subscribers via SMS (Short Message Ser- application or service and sometimes we may end risky investments. It is impossible to predict whether it
vice) messages about buildings where SARS cases up wondering “what on earth do I need it for”. Have will succeed or end up in utter failure until we present
where suspected or confirmed. Such messages were you ever set an alarm notifying you of when a friend it to the customers. Sometimes, such as in the case of
sent to all people who were within approximately a one is within 100 meters using your Instant Messenger the WWW (World Wide Web), it is vital that people be
kilometer radius of the case location. (IM) client? Companies try to convince us that loca- taught how and what the service can be used for. Only
Business and corporate customers may also ben- tion within your IM contact list is a crucial component, then does it start to generate revenue.
efit from LBS concepts, for example, using it to track but not everyone sees such a need. Another area that still requires some progress being
goods, people or even entire projects. There are sev- The appearance of location capability within mobile made is in middle-layer support for LBS solutions within
eral technologies that facilitate enhancing such activi- phones, unlike many other features, such as multime- the mobile platform. As it stands, there is no recognized,
ties; devices that are designed to monitor and control dia support, local connectivity, etc. not only adds some platform-independent and commonly acceptable stan-
the supply chain, the amount of materials and their extra features to the device and makes it more attrac- dard or API. Moreover, a particular platform does not even
positions. Another example is the concept of ambient tive but also, and most importantly, opens up new and tend to have generic middle-layer LBS support. There are
intelligence or pervasive computing, whereby almost so far unknown areas of applications. What kind of ser- APIs by means of which GPS coordination or cell-id may
all materials and devices contain sensors and form a vices can be implemented basing on location is a hard be accessed, but if one wants to use a more sophisti-
large network of intelligent, location-aware devices. question to answer. But it is of paramount importance cated method for finding the device’s coordinates, using
that these novel services are not to be viewed solely all possible data sources such us GPS, cell-id, IP (Inter-
as an answer to the customers’ needs. They are used net Protocol) address, etc., to always obtain at least
Innovation to create new markets, revealing to people services rough coordinates and guarantee they are of the high-
that are as of yet unknown to them and giving them a est accuracy given the circumstances, one must usu-
Be different – to be successful you must invent a service chance to see that these products may come in handy. ally implement these calculations by himself. There are
which is distinctive, and which can be recognized by GPS navigation is a good example. No one expected to countless techniques for calculating the coordinates of
users amongst the millions of other similar products. have a small box saying “turn left in approximately 50 a mobile device, yet it is fairly difficult to find a ready-
Innovation is a colossal word but just what exactly meters” stuck to the windscreen of their car a dozen made tool which can combine different location data
is innovation in the LBS-related segment of the market? or so years ago. There was no voiced need for it in the sources and provide final values and also guarantee
The natural method of creating new products is to incor- market as people were not even aware that such a their accuracy. Nor is there a consistent specification
porate new technologies into existing software as new contraption could be created. Location-based services of what sort of data is to be provided to developers – it
features complementing their previous functionality, as should be viewed in the same light, which when first is not only position that matters here, also properties
opposed to creating completely new products. This is seen, make us think “how could I have lived without it”. such as speed or direction of movement may come in
a common and simplistic approach to introducing new This is real innovation. useful e.g. a petrol station advert on a highway should
technologies onto the market in addition to stimulating Here and now – the need is always context specific, only be displayed to those drivers who are able to pull
growth of current services simultaneously as they are the user wants something at that very moment and at over – i.e. move in the specific direction. The ideal situa-
enhanced with increasing new functionality in line with that very location. We should be able to forecast this tion would be to provide developers with reliable APIs for
technological development. This is also a fairly safe way and supply him with it. The user and his need takes accessing location data, to specify what type of data it
of conducting business since customers are already precedence, everything else is irrelevant. should be and possibly a uniform way for handling dif-
accustomed to the service and do not require being So, in order to create an innovative location-based ferent location data sources on different platforms and
taught how to use the new services or even informed service it is crucial to stop thinking about how to improve programming languages in order to facilitate the imple-
of why they actually need them. our current products with geographical coordinates. It mentation and migration of LBS applications.

nr 2/2009 (10)
18 > In Focus

Making Money References


New revenue streams – services are great when they 1 Magnusson, C., Tollmar, K., Brewster, S., Sarjakoski, T., Sarjakoski, T., and Roselier, S. 2009. Exploring
are making money. But can you predict the earning future challenges for haptic, audio and visual interfaces for mobile maps and location based services.
potential of these same services in 10 years time? In Proceedings of the 2nd international Workshop on Location and the Web (Boston, Massachusetts,
Maybe advertising doesn’t answers this question. April 04 – 04, 2009). LOCWEB ‘09, vol. 370. ACM, New York, NY, 1-4.
Taking profitability into consideration, there are numer- 2 Dataquest Insight: Consumer Location-Based Services, Subscribers and Revenue Forecast, 2007-2013,
ous ways of making money on a mobile service. How- http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=1035015&subref=simplesearch
ever, since users do not want to pay directly for the ser- 3 Rao, B. and Minakakis, L. 2003. Evolution of mobile location-based services. Commun. ACM 46, 12 (Dec.
vices they use, it seems that advertising is starting to 2003), 61-65.
take the lead. The key to success in the field of mobile
advertising is rendering the advert truly context depen-
dent and, even better, not explicitly visible to the user. An among customers and, therefore, the LBS applications Conclusions
advertising model based on texts and banner ads used should also be free in order to generate popularity
by popular web browsers may serve as a good example and guarantee that their designers achieve success Localization-based services combine vast numbers
here – users are not given adverts but additional links in the market. To date, however, no one has been able of, formerly separated, technologies into one location-
to sites they are in fact searching for. Mobile advertising to provide a truly free, comprehensive Location-Based aware platform. LBS have been treated as an addition
should and really can be heightened so that it contains Service, which in addition has not been decorated to what is already available within the device, but we
similar features. The point is that it is vital that mobile with ads – why? The answer may be as simple as believe it is powerful enough to evolve into the heart
applications and services are highly context dependent. this – we do not know how to generate a profit from of mobile platforms and mobility itself in the future. It
What does this mean? The system must be able to pre- a service without either retailing the service itself to is highly likely that future mobile applications and ser-
dict what kind of services the user might need at that the customers or selling advertising space. Thus, we vices will be driven by knowledge of where the device
very moment and the device should be ready to offer believe the monetizing of mobile services is a good currently is and what is the most desperately required
those services to the user. How to predict what a user place for innovation. If one can come up with a novel, service at that moment. It is the handset that should
wants and when technology is capable of doing it is not efficient way of making money from a service, which deduce what may be needed “here and now” and it
an easy question. However, we can be sure that the loca- is free for its user and which does not involve display- should in turn make it available to the user. This con-
tion of the device will play a crucial role in the process of ing adverts which customers are already tiring from, stitutes the road to providing a reliable service, fulfilling
rendering the application context-aware. This is because it would be a groundbreaking invention. customers’ needs and guaranteeing revenues. <<<
we believe the location to be the most important and
powerful context-related factor imaginable.
Today, users are fed up with the amount of services,
applications, information and adverts presented to them
in the virtual world and look for some selectivity. No one
wants to hear about a new tariff promotion when sitting
in a restaurant, and the software should be able to pre-
dict this. Numerous things can be inferred from knowl-
edge of the device position, speed, direction, average
movement or the area where he spends the majority of
working hours. When at work, users are likely to be more
interested in services such as a new option for dinner or a
new parking service. Whereas, during a first visit to a city
a person may like to be made aware of the three most
important historical monuments to see during a single
day trip. Then, a few days later a shopping center avail-
able nearby serves as a new point of interest.
Apart from advertising, there are not many effec-
tive ways (we are aware of), of making money out of Grzegorz Wąchocki Marek Konieczny
a service’s popularity. And so here the question arises
Comarch SA Comarch SA
relating to the domination of adverts over alternate Position: Senior Software Analyst / Position: Team Leader
methods for creating income out of LBS in the future; R&D Manager Department: Mobile Software R&D
Are there any other possibilities? What will constitute Department: Telecommunications Info: Marek is currently responsible for
the main source of funds for LBS creators in 10 years Professional Services leading and coordinating test teams in Pro-
Info: Grzegorz leads the R&D unit, which duct Testing projects for portable devices..
time? We do not know the answer, but what we are
has the main aim of exploring new
currently certain of is that everybody expects the mobile-related technologies in addition
mobile services being provided to be free. The free- to searching for new opportunities on the
of-charge model fosters interest in the application mobile market.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Smartphone
– the best tool for cutting field
service costs and
increasing productivity

Does your field service use up more and more money? Do your customers seem to be dissatisfied, and are the
number of “Where is my tech?” escalations refusing to decrease? There is a simple solution: buy gadgets, go
with trends and be green. Your company will not only save money but will also be able to increase revenue.

nr 2/2009 (10)
20 > In Focus

An attractive offering, high quality of prod-


ucts and satisfied customers constitute
factors that may contribute to a telecom operator’s
To give a positive answer to this question, vendors of
FSM systems extend their product portfolio with solutions
based on mobile technologies. Mobile software and hard-
optimization have been used for many years. They
allow optimizing staff and equipment use, dispatch-
ing cost and efficiency, as well as all additional costs
success on the market. Two of them are surely related ware available on the market nowadays ensure: related to services, such as phone calls, drive costs,
to the work of field staff. First of all, field employees > Possibility of building ergonomic and high-usability- paper usage etc. The most popular methods of field
are responsible for the high quality of services, as focused mobile systems workforce optimization are:
they maintain the operator’s network infrastructure to > Hardware parameters enabling advanced, elaborate > Scheduling with intelligent mechanisms of optimi-
ensure access to all services adhering to contracted mobile application functionalities zation
service level agreements (SLA). For customers, field > Moderate costs > Dedicated task lists for field employees
forces are also company representatives. If a com- > Dispatching based on a wide range of criteria, taking
pany uses self service solutions, they may even be The elements of operator strategy that can be sup- into consideration: availability of employees, loca-
the only representatives who are in contact with the ported by mobile technologies include high quality of tions and competences
customers. It proves that the well performed work of field service, higher level of field staff control, as well as
field service staff is the key element for an opera- simplified fulfillment of work orders. This article will con- These mechanisms, which in theory bring many oppor-
tor’s success. sider how mobile technology support in the field ser- tunities for productivity increase and rationalization
In current times of economic slowdown prices of vice management domain enables rationalizing costs of service costs, are blocked or limited because of
telecom services become the main focal point for and productivity. Is investment in mobile software general organizational problems, namely:
providers. Obviously, operator’s business costs have and hardware cost-effective? If the answer is yes, as > Minimal possibility for real-time dispatching
great impact on product prices. Telecoms have used advocated by research conducted by Aberdeen Group > Schedules based only on estimation of task dura-
methods of improving productivity and rationalizing for instance, then what functionalities and features tion without determination of actual task duration
customer field service costs for a long time. Because of of mobiles can help in reducing costs and increasing > Limited possibilities for rapid task reassigning
that, field service management (FSM) and optimization productivity in field service departments? (employees often spend their mornings on mak-
systems should be planned by the majority of service ing to-do lists)
providers. Not only do FSM systems allow automated > Limited possibilities for real-time task completion
scheduling and effective resource management, but Optimization in Practice reporting, and updating of business processes (usu-
they can also support work orders dispatching and ally task reports are filled in after all daily field tasks
fulfillment of field work orders. This brings real bene- Due to the fact that customer service and network are completed)
fits to of the network maintenance and customer ser- maintenance are usually the main components of > Absence of exact knowledge regarding current pend-
vice departments. But you can still ask yourself – can a service provider’s operational costs, methods and ing works in field and no possibilities for assigning
operators do more? technologies responsible for their improvement and the best resources to urgent tasks

Cost Drivers Increase Focus On Mobility Average Performance Improvements | From Mobile Field Service

Increasing service-related costs


(workforce, fuel,parts,fleet, vehi-
61% Performance Category Average 
Improvement
cles, etc.)
Mean time to repair - 21%
Customer demand for faster and
improved service issue resolution
44%
Overtime costs - 13%
Need for improved data capture
and information form management
40%
insight Service profitability + 17%

Shrinking product margins placing


20%
more pressure on service revenue
contribution
Workforce productivity + 22%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

% Of All Respondents

Source: Aberdeen Group, 2008 Source: Aberdeen Group, 2008

Figure 1. The main cost drivers in field service and average improvements from mobile support.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 21

Comarch FSM Mobile, all information regarding field work on the handset screen.

In a nutshell, the problem can be summarized as the > Real-time schedule changes – this is done automati- Fuel and Drive Time
lack of current knowledge and shortage of tools for cally by sending information to the field employee
rapid operational activities. handset, without the necessity of looking for the When discussing cutting costs and increasing pro-
Mobile technologies may in fact help, as they allow employee telephone number in the database and ductivity, what should be taken into account is the
putting the right strategy (for example optimization) on without the need for calling the employee back to the cost of a particular field intervention and the average
the front line of field service. Thanks to mobile features, office for new printouts with the updated task list. time of intervention. Fuel consumption and vehicle uti-
front line staff are drawn closer to the dispatcher/ > Fast and accurate documentation – smartphones lization are easy to calculate and important for every
scheduler. Mobile solution functionalities which resolve come with multimedia tools such as camera and intervention cost. Both of them are simple functions
this basic problem of optimization include: dictaphone as standard. It allows for quick and full of driving distance. In this area mobile technologies
> Current statuses of planned work – employees don’t document intervention and for adding file attach- and applications can support the service provider in
have to complete a report at the end of the day, ments in real-time. This is of paramount importance several ways.
instead they fill in task completion reports online, in emergencies and is useful for sequence tasks on One of them is the aforementioned synergy between
straight after having finished it. Optimization mecha- the same site where complete documentation is optimization mechanisms and mobile solutions. The
nisms are able to update schedules in real-time and immediately accessible for consecutive activities. field work optimization system, which is responsible
better fit plans for real field staff work. Another ben- for calculating the shortest and easiest route between
efit is that business processes related to field staff Mobile applications in the hands of field staff become work order locations, is able to send this optimal work
work may be updated automatically in real-time. For a tool similar to a remote control in real-time, leading orders list in the right order to the right technician in
example, installation of new services can be reported to increased productivity and efficiency of any optimi- field, provided they use a mobile application. Follow-
as finished on-line, and service time of activation is zation mechanisms. It shows synergy between field ing this, the field technician knows exactly how the
shortened so customer satisfaction grows. service management modules (mobility and optimi- work should be organized in order to optimize driving
> Real locations – GPS tracking is a common element zation) which really pays off. time and distance.
of mobile equipment nowadays. It sends location There are numerous areas that can be optimized Distance-effective field service management may
data from the field and allows planning next steps using mobile technologies, and in this paper we will be achieved by integration with mobile navigation
of the field service department by a dispatcher. For focus on several of them: systems. Customers and network elements may be
example, in urgent cases (emergency orders), it > Fuel and drive time placed in various locations. Being on time and using
allows sending out the employee who is able to > Papers, calls and resulting mistakes the easiest and shortest route is certainly very impor-
reach the location in the shortest time. > First-time fix rate tant. Field service management systems with mobile
> Optimizing usage of up-sell opportunities applications support field staff by sending locations of

nr 2/2009 (10)
22 > In Focus

Figure 2. Field order fulfillment – both with and without mobile application support

Technician calls
dispatcher to change
Field order fulfillment (without

order status Technician


advanced mobile support)

Technician takes goes back to Back office


Technician the office to
printouts with list Technician copies data
drives to order leave protocols,
of tasks from his fulfills an order from paper to
site paper
office electronic forms
agreements
Technician calls
Dispatcher for order
details
optimization
Costs for

Technician time, Fuel, Vehicle Phone calls, Back office


Technician 
time
Printing costs utilization Dispatcher time employees time
Field order fulfillment
(mobile support)

Technician drives Technician


to order site fulfills an order
Field order fulfillment
(mobile support)

Real time schedule, On-line access to order data,


Optimal route On-line completion reports,
Navigation e-documents and e-signatures

work orders to navigation systems, as a ‘Point of Inter- more time. One of the many possibilities is that an technology for business purposes more and more fre-
est’ on the planned route. This way the field employee employee doesn’t have to go to the office to print all quently. Another significant benefit of electronic tech-
is not only relaxed and does not waste time and fuel of his daily tasks. Because he has a detailed task list nologies is that knowledge, documents, agreements
because his route is optimal, but additionally he knows on his mobile, he may go to complete the first order and pictures do not have to be printed on paper. It not
exactly where to go and he goes there directly. in the field directly from his house. If he has to print only saves money (costs of paper) but most impor-
Another important aspect that should be consid- something, he can do it with his smartphone. The tantly it helps to protect the environment. With mobile
ered when talking about cutting driving costs is imme- employee may not only start his work at his house technologies it is possible to have your entire office
diate handling of emergency orders. This type of order, but also finish it at the same place. Field staff aren’t on a single handset and truly ‘be green’.
thanks to real-time monitoring of employee locations required to go to the office to complete reports about Paper printouts in field service management unsup-
(GPS data from mobile devices), may be fulfilled by executed tasks; it may be done online using the tech- ported by mobile technologies are used as basic doc-
employees who are in the nearest physical proxim- nicians’ handsets. uments with information regarding schedules, task
ity. As a result, not only is the intervention as fast as details and execution reports. All of this data may be
possible, but it also enhances cost cutting, due to accessible via a mobile application, and the company
reduced distance. Papers, Calls and Mistakes doesn’t have to invest in and waste tons of paper to
Time is money – this common saying proves to be perform field service department tasks. At the same
very true when it comes to field service. Faster order The evolution of IT technology has created more pos- time back office employees don’t have to waste their
fulfillment lowers costs of order execution and can sibilities for performing various activities on a com- time copying data from paper to electronic forms
help increase the number of completed work orders puter screen - reading books, contacting other peo- because all important information is instantly placed
per day. Using mobile applications by technicians, ple, watching movies, drawing pictures etc. With the in the right database.
effective route planning and mobile navigation all lead evolution of mobile technology and devices, more and The situation is quite similar when it comes to
to the aforementioned cost-effectiveness. Due to the more people tend to use IT technology functionalities phone calls. In field service departments without
usage mobile applications it is also possible to save wherever they are. Similarly, people are using mobile any support of mobile technology, the dispatch-

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 23

er’s job is mainly to talk on the phone. He not only easily finish his work without having to go back to the Summary
notifies field employees about schedule changes office, because he forgot something or lacks some
over the phone, but also uses it to report task com- important information regarding the task. Field work In the competitive telecommunications market any
pletion or status changes and enquire about task is supported by the mobile application which, accord- activities carried out by a telecommunication company
details. Costs of calls and the dispatcher’s work ing to particular purposes, stores and presents the within the area of cost cutting and improvements in
are quite apparent, but there is also an additional field employee with data about the customer, work employee productivity are extremely important. Mobile
cost – mistakes and their consequences. Mistakes order, tasks, required activities and equipment. It pro- technology, by supporting field service work effec-
are caused mainly by providing imprecise informa- vides access to network data and enables its update. tively, meets the challenges and opportunities of the
tion over the phone. Mobile solutions - an applica- What’s more, it also serves for printing documents telecom market. Operators should start looking for ven-
tion for field staff – enable access to detailed data and capturing customers’ signatures. A technician’s dors who are able to offer vast support in this domain,
concerning tasks and current schedules in real-time, smartphone can present a very wide scope of data have experience on the market and provide elaborate
without making any phone calls. They make it possi- and have numerous supporting tools. In field work, the solutions, which in turn will help revolutionized field
ble to fill the task completion data online with memo- more information about the task is provided to the filed services grant highly valuable benefits that are very
rized facts, without any misunderstandings or prob- staff, the more probable it is that the intervention will hard to achieve by other means. What’s important is
lems. What’s very important is that it also decreases bring a positive resolution. to take into consideration vendors who are experi-
the dispatcher’s workload, enabling him to perform enced not only in the field service management area,
more orders and cooperate with more technicians. but also in mobile technology. Mobile solutions have
Because the range of dispatchers’ responsibilities Technician as a Salesman different features when compared to those of other
will be lower, people working in this position wouldn’t IT systems. Mobile equipment for large field service
be expected to have such extensive qualifications, Mobile handset as a solution which improves first time departments creates significant cost (each technician
further lowering HR costs. fix rate is a fascinating concept, but is there the pos- must be equipped with a smartphone which in many
sibility to make this indicator exceed 100%? cases is highly professional and fitted precisely to the
If a service provider equips a technician with accu- technician’s needs). If the service provider deploys
First-time Fix Rate rate data and tools, he may become a kind of a sales- a safe, easily adoptable and stable solution that has
man himself. An appointment with a customer is a  ood an additional range of functionality, he is sure to see
First-time fix rate serves as an indicator and its opportunity to increase the value of the contract and changes in monthly reports regarding costs, produc-
increase is always a key for the telecommunication convince that person to buy other products or services tivity and revenues. <<<
operator. The higher its value the higher the produc- from the operator. Customers don’t usually appreciate
tivity and the greater the customer satisfaction (there telemarketing, but they may be more willing to listen to
is nothing worse for a customer than not having his the technician, who has just activated some services
problem solved at the first attempt). This indicator is or quickly solved some technical problem. To play that
also important in the context of cost-effective manage- role, the technician must have tools which will “sell
ment. Every field intervention creates costs. If there are the products for him”. If a telecom operator wants
more field interventions associated with a given work to benefit from this appointment opportunity, they
order, its cost becomes much higher. There are also should provide the technician with mobile tools that
other expenses related to multi-intervention orders, will work as an extension of the ones he already uses.
for instance those related to lower indicators of task Applications supporting order fulfillment can have an
realization per day. additional module for up-selling. Immediately after the
There are a lot of possibilities for improvement of technician has finished his task, he would report that
field work in this area, such as increasing field staff he has the opportunity to present the customer with
competences, assigning tasks to accurate, skilled the company’s offer or fulfill the customer’s request
employees etc. Mobile access to field service manage- for additional services. This information would be pre-
ment tools for workforces is a solution that may help sented on his handset screen. If a customer is inter-
to obtain a higher first-time fix rate. The main elements ested in a service or better yet - he wants it now, the
available as mobile tools that are used to improve the technician would have all the tools needed to prepare
quality of field service as well as to decrease unsuc- a contract, capture a signature on the touch screen
cessful interventions are: and install additional services. All this may occur dur-
> Access to important data related to the task and to ing just one field intervention.
the Trouble Tickets’ knowledge database Effective changes in technical service department
Szymon Uczciwek
> Access to network elements/inventory data organization and mobile tools which would guide tech- Comarch SA
> Possibility of conducting additional activities related nicians through selling, may not only bring productivity Position: Telco Consultant
Department: Telecommunications
to work order, such as printing completion protocols, increases and decrease general costs of the company,
Business Unit
capturing customer signature, etc. but may also have a highly positive impact on sales. It
Info: Szymon is currently responsible for
is an idea worth considering as it may lead to opening the Comarch Field Service Management
If a technician has online access from his mobile an extra sales channel and ultimately – improving the solution for telecom service providers.
device to all tools required for the given task, he can business performance.

nr 2/2009 (10)
24 > In Focus

Digital Home
a Dream or a Fact?
UPnP is the technology of tomorrow that started the day before yesterday. This year the UPnP Forum initia-
tive is going to celebrate its 10th anniversary, incorporating almost 900 international leading companies
in computing, printing, networking, consumer electronics, home appliances, automation, control, secu-
rity and mobile products. The main goal of UPnP technology is to enable seamless connectivity of vari-
ous devices, forming networks in home or corporate environments and enabling Digital Home experience.
By its design, adding new devices or programs to the network should be as easy as plugging a piece of
hardware into a PC. The devices and programs connected familiarize themselves with the current network
setup thanks to service discovery and advertisement, and configure themselves accordingly on the fly,
with regard to devices already connected. In short: UPnP is a framework for building networked applications.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


In Focus < 25

The Dark Side of Living Digitally which was rapidly responded to with Microsoft’s UPnP
model. In October 1999 the UPnP Forum was formed as
At the beginning there were only zeros and ones. All an industry initiative designed to enable simple and
could use it, but soon it was discovered that each robust connectivity among consumer electronics, intel-
carried it out it in their own unique way. Many wanted ligent appliances and mobile devices from different
to be the first to establish a standardized method of vendors. UPnP technology is a key standard required
playing with bits. As a consequence, the darkness of for an interoperable network in a digital home, but it
misunderstanding fell, and people could no longer does not specify all aspects of interactions between
communicate with each other. devices, defining rather the frame protocol of com-
Electronic devices have generally tended to only munication.
be compatible with the same manufacturer’s devices, As in today’s world consumers are acquiring a huge
with the absence of a common language that would amount and variety of digital content on their devices,
enable communication with numerous complemen- at the same time they want to be able to easily and
tary machines from other vendors. To extend a home conveniently manage, use and enjoy this content,
entertainment system for instance, one has been lim- wherever they are and whatever devices they have
ited to the vendor of the appliances they had already at hand. In order to address this need, the Digital Liv-
purchased. But the real troubles were still to come… ing Network Alliance (DLNA) was established in 2003,
Let’s think about a very simple, everyday case. with the aim of creating a generic, interoperable net-
Imagine you want to share your pictures taken dur- work of compatible devices from various vendors.
ing your last summer vacation, showing you standing DLNA guidelines were created and published to pro-
proudly by the erupting Strokkur geyser in Iceland. Your vide manufacturers with the opportunity to innovate
friends have just popped in, the pictures (zeros and and differentiate their products, and to simultaneously
ones, just to remind) are still sitting snuggly in your satisfy the consumers’ desire for trouble free access
pocket - recorded by your mobile phone’s high reso- and management of their content.
lution digital camera, and your brand new panoramic Nowadays, a vast number of Home Network, Mobile
HD plasma is ready and waiting in the living room. At Handheld and Home Infrastructure Devices are DLNA
your disposal is the perfect medium to commence certified, including media servers, renderers, players,
the show and make your friends truly jealous of what printers, up- and downloaders and controllers from
a fantastic holiday you had. All you need to do now is approximately two hundred vendors, including Alcatel-
transfer the pictures from your mobile to a laptop via Lucent, Canon, Dell, AMD, Hitachi, Lenovo, NEC, Nokia,
the USB cable (by the way, do you happen to have one BMW or Sony Ericsson.
to hand?), burn the picture onto a DVD (of course, you
have a spare disk ready, right?), insert the disk (still
hot) into your DVD player and press the ‘play’ button. The Future
Here you are; the zeros and ones are now being trans-
ferred from the DVD player straight to your plasma set. Once all the devices on the market are DLNA/UPnP
Two questions arise: don’t you have the feeling that certified, configuration of the home network will be
the focus of your attention having been on trying to as easy and secure like never before. “One click of
manage “zeros and ones” rather than actually enjoy- the button” or “Touch and click” slogans will eventu-
ing the pictures was fundamentally flawed? And sec- ally come into full force and will cease to be merely
ondly, are your friends still there in the room, waiting promises. With no additional configuration, nor instal-
patiently to see the final result following a painstak- lation of drivers, you will be able to interoperate with
ingly slow ten minutes battling with raw data? all home devices in your network, such as TVs, media
storage devices, laptops, mobile phones, digital cam-
eras and printers. But more is coming, if you dare to
Trouble-free Solution imagine…
Think about sharing your favorite pictures from your
Universal Plug and Play saw the light in the late nine- private home collection with your friends while drink-
ties, just as networks were growing in popularity. Sev- ing a beer in a downtown pub. Even if your computer
eral vendors were coming up with solutions to make is shut down, you can wake it up remotely from your
networks and networked applications easier to man- mobile phone and access the content you want.
age. One of the earliest attempts was Sun’s ‘Jini’ offer, How about streaming your local team’s hockey
with its innovative lookup service concept (continued game while in a hotel on another continent? It’s highly
to this day within Apache Foundation’s River project), likely that you don’t want to miss it, but it’s no prob-

nr 2/2009 (10)
26 > In Focus

lem: you can watch it hundreds miles away, streamed Comarch Competences > Implementation of UPnP/DLNA compatible
right to your room thanks to remote access to your stack for Symbian OS-based devices. The com-
home network. Or perhaps you are not particularly Comarch has been engaged in Digital Home tech- ponent is now used in several Nokia smart
interested in hockey, but would like to check on how nologies since 2004. With the extensive knowledge phones, including N95, N81, N78, N96 and
your young daughter is doing in her room using an IP of basic DH standards such as TCP/IP, UDP, HTTP, N97
camera rendering the video image directly to the TV XML, SOAP, UPnP and DLNA, the Professional Ser- > Engagement in commercial projects involv-
set in your hotel suite? vices Business Unit highlighted the strength of ing UPnP: Linux-based tablets, Internet Radio
Or perhaps once you have driven into the garage, its competences within the field. Important mile- devices and UPnP Certification Test Tool
you would like your car’s entertainment system to stones include: Upgrade
automatically download a couple of MP3 files that > Joining the UPnP Forum as a member > Participating in DLNA Plugfests and interoper-
your wife has just downloaded to your PC from mys- > Contributing several successfully completed proj- ability testing UPnP workshops internationally
pace.com the previous night? ects, including: (2005 – Lihue, Hawaii, USA, 2006 – Sapporo,
> Extending the UPnP Certification Test Tool Japan, 2006 – Taipei, Taiwan, 2007 – San Diego,
implementation for the UPnP Implementer CA, USA, 2007 – Sanya, China, 2007 – Portland,
Committee. The tool is used for verifying the OR, USA, 2008 – Kobe, Japan, 2008 – Durham, NH,
conformance of Control Points with UPnP USA, 2008 – Seoul, Korea)
With DLNA and UPnP, the above cases of tomorrow standards > Presenting the Digital Home Demo Booth for the
are already happening today. <<< Symbian Smartphone Show 2008.

Piotr Madej
Comarch SA
Position: Mobile R&D Department Director
Department: Telecommunications
Business Unit
Info: Piotr is responsible for mobile SW
development for Symbian, mobile Linux,
Android, iPhone and Blackberry.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 27

Towards Self-Organizing
Networks

Current mobile market


landscape with
dropping revenues per bit and increasing demand
and multi-vendor networks become more complex
than ever before and significant network planning
and management effort is needed to ensure satis-
network operation and extend their network in plug
& play manner. Comarch considers network man-
agement automation as key requirement as well as
for diversified service portfolio forces operators to factory end user experience. This effort can be mini- a crucial factor for investments in next-generation
reduce OPEX while investing in new technologies mized with implementation of Self-Organizing Net- wireless technologies such as LTE and supports SON
and solutions. Constantly growing multi-technology works (SON) which will enable operators to simplify use cases with its product portfolio.

nr 2/2009 (10)
28 > Operational Excellence

Ideas in brief > QoS related parameter optimization


> load balancing
> Increasing complexity of networks and OPEX reduction pressures cause that operators are forced to > RACH load optimization
change the way how they operate their networks > optimization of home base stations
> Self-Organizing Networks (SON) promise to reduce manual effort needed for network operation by mak-
ing networks capable to self-organize and manage its resources
> Comarch product portfolio supports SON use cases via automated process management and integration Self-Configuration
of planning and optimization, configuration management and network provisioning capabilities Understood as the plug & play behavior of new net-
work elements. The key areas is automated deploy-
The ideas related to network automation and intro- Self-Planning ment of new base stations, which covers following
duction of self-organized mechanisms have been Achieved via self-configuration of initial parameters activities:
always on operators’ wish list. According to Yankee and re-computation of parameters during continuous > automatic configuration of initial radio/transport
Group OPEX related to network operation constitute as self-optimization. The amount of manual pre-planning parameters
much as 20% in the cost structure and tend to grow activities should be reduced to minimum and cover > automatic data alignment for neighbour nodes (real-
as networks mature. As the number of technologies, basic coverage and capacity planning. As a result, ized for LTE via standardized Automatic Neighbour
vendors and base stations in a network increases, so planning tool will deliver only few parameters such as Relation (ANR) management)
is the effort of network planning and management. location, number of sectors and other basic cell param- > automatic connectivity establishment
Time-consuming manual work is still required in many eters while the rest will be derived automatically. > self-test
workflows such as parameter planning, optimization > automatic inventory
and handling of site failures. On the other hand the > automatic authentication and SW download
technology and market dynamics put a pressure on Self-Optimization
faster rollouts and network upgrades to stay ahead The aim of self-optimization is to fine-tune initial param-
of competition. New technologies such as LTE will eters and dynamically re-calculate these parameters Self-Healing
increase the network complexity and parallel opera- in case of network and traffic changes. Optimization of Fault management should be simplified and automated
tion of 2G/3G/HSPA and LTE networks will be a must network shall be based on live measurement data. Self- via information correlation mechanisms. Operators will be
for some years ahead. Moreover, potential deploy- optimization is an important improvement area due to responsible for definition of correlation rules and correc-
ments of femto-cells on mass scale will significantly the fact that current automatic optimization tools focus tive actions to specific faults but the fault correction itself
increase the number of base stations and will require on small number of radio parameters and a lot of manual will be autonomous. Self-healing covers use cases such
a self-organized approach for integration of new cells effort is required for optimization activities. The aim is to as cell outage detection and compensation via auto-
with macro layer. make following optimization activities automatic: mated root cause analysis and such corrective actions as
All above described factors indicate that we need > neighbour cell list optimization routing traffic to nearby cells. Another example is migra-
to change the way how we operate networks. The > interference control tion of unit outage based on automatic mechanisms for
required manual work needs to be significantly > handover parameter optimization adaptation and reconfiguration of hardware.
reduced and the network itself should be capable
to self-configure and continuously self-optimize in
response to network and traffic changes. Operators
will define workflows and policies through which they
will control the network but the hard work will be done
by the network itself.

Principles of Self-Organizing
Networks self- self-
configuration optimization
Self-Organizing Networks are defined as a set of use
cases covering all aspects of network operation from
network planning to maintenance activities. These use
cases express high-level requirements for future net-
works and are based on the paradigm that network self-healing
should self-organize and manage its resources so that
optimal network quality and performance is achieved.
SON use cases can be grouped into functional domains
which are described in following paragraphs.

Figure 1. Self-x capabilities of Self-Organizing Networks

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 29

Figure 2. SON architectures

centralized SON

SON
network network
management management

O&M
network

SON
SON SON

distributed SON

The key to understanding SON is that only part Strong motivation to increase operational efficiency lenges related to algorithm implementation such as
of SON use cases can be adopted while other caused that SON concepts are one of the key areas coping with ping-pong effects and algorithm conver-
remain manual. This enables gradual introduction of addressed by operators’ lobby through Next Genera- gence issues there is also a human factor which can-
SON mechanisms and does not enforce ‘big bang’ tion Mobile Networks (NGMN) initiative, which comple- not be underestimated. For years networks have been
approach. ments the work on future mobile broadband networks operated in manual way and there is time needed for
In order to address inter-operability in multi-vendor within standardization bodies. building trust in automatic network operation. Initially
scenarios SON solutions shall be based on standard- There are many projects addressing self-organiza- planners may want to view the results of self-x algo-
ized interfaces but the detailed implementation of SON tion issues. As an example, Socrates project concen- rithms in order to be sure that network quality and
functions is vendor specific. Depending on where SON trates on development of self-organization methods performance will not be affected.
algorithms will reside, different SON architectures can for wireless access networks, in particular related to
be distinguished: LTE air interface. Gandalf project was defining solu-
> distributed – SON algorithm(s) will reside in one or tions for self-diagnosis, self-testing and self-tuning Our Approach for Supporting SON
more network elements in multi-system environment. Use Cases
> centralized – SON algorithm(s) will reside in existing Vendors are also active in the field of SON. Recently
NMS or in an additional SON server Motorola has announced advanced SON solution which High level definition of SON use cases enables to
> hybrid – SON algorithm(s) will reside is partly in network is a part of its LTE offering. Other vendors such as NSN, employ various implementation strategies ranging
elements and partly in the management system Ericsson and Huawei are also working intensively on from centralized support of SON functions to fully
their SON solutions. decentralized solutions. Selection of implementation
Distributed and centralized SON architectures have strategy shall depend on the problem to be solved.
been presented on Figure 2. Centralized approach is suitable for SON use cases
Our View on Self-Organizing related to larger amount of cells such as coverage and
Networks capacity optimization. Decentralized solutions are bet-
Current Status of SON Activities ter for solving localized problems such as neighbour
As majority of operators and vendors we agree that list management and enable faster reaction times
Concept of SON has been introduced in 3GPP Release 8 network management automation is a key technol- than centralized solutions.
specification due to flattening architecture of E-UTRAN ogy requirement and a crucial factor for investments We propose a universal approach to address particu-
and resulting growth in number of nodes in the net- in next-generation wireless technologies such as LTE. lar SON use cases for various wireless access technolo-
work. Main SON uses cases such as self-establish- Therefore, we designed our products to support pro- gies rather than concentrating purely on such technolo-
ment of a new eNodeB and Automatic Neighbour Rela- cess management and task automation and we con- gies as LTE. Although our portfolio enables centralized
tion (ANR) management have been identified and tinuously seek for algorithms and solutions enabling and hybrid approach depending on SON use cases to
described. Moreover, Release 8 standardizes impor- self-organization. be supported, most of our efforts are concentrated on
tant interfaces from SON point of view: When it comes to adoption of self-organization hybrid solutions in which SON logic is devided between
> X2 interface between eNodeBs concepts in operational networks, we envision that network management system and network elements.
> S1 interface between eNodeBs and EPC this process will be gradual. Beside technical chal- Distributed part of use cases needs to be tackled by

nr 2/2009 (10)
30 > Operational Excellence

Figure 3. SON use cases with Comarch product portfolio

SON policies

automation
engine

planning/ process fault


optimization module management management

auto-discovery & network


reconciliation provisioning

network network
KPIs information configuration alarms

SON functions SON functions


information configuration

hardware vendors having a possibility to implement par- enables to import data from external systems having prediction and OSS based data. External algorithms
ticular algorithms directly in the network elements. information about network configuration. can be integrated with the solution to address opera-
The heart of our solution is a Process Driven Inven- tor specific needs.
tory with flexible Process Management and Automation
Engine. With Auto-discovery & Reconciliation, Fault Man- Fault Management
agement as well as advanced planning and optimization Fault management is a complete solution to ongoing fault Network Provisioning
algorithms combined with powerful Network Provision- issues inside operators’ networks. It monitors all impor- Network Provisioning is an Inventory-driven provision-
ing module our product portfolio enables automation tant elements of the network, receives, displays and ing system capable to configure all network elements,
and self-organization of network operation activities. tracks alarms, allowing to manage potentially dangerous while simultaneously reflecting all the changes in the
network problems. It provides root cause analysis based inventory database. Comarch bi-directional OSS Media-
on correlation engine and combined with Process Man- tion is used to easily integrate the Network Provision-
Process Management agement enables to automate fault corrections. ing system with many network devices in the multi-
Process Management engine allows fully managed vendor environment.
and controlled execution of all operational processes. Figure 3 demonstrates how SON use cases can
It can act as a SON coordinator and orchestrate vari- Automation Engine be achieved with our product portfolio. Operators will
ous SON workflows and processes. Freedom of pro- Enables to automate most of manual activities related define SON policies and map them to corresponding
cess definition is ensured via Process Designer, which to network operation. Flows of automated operations processes which will be automated via Automation
provides GUI for process composition. can be run by users, be part of processes controlled Engine. Execution of certain processes will be trig-
by Process Management module or can be provided gered dynamically based on information from the
as web service and triggered via external system. network (i.e. configuration changes, alarms, KPIs) or
Auto-discovery & Reconciliation external events (i.e. request of site rollouts, customer
Advanced tools such as Auto-discovery and Reconcili- complaints). Processes will orchestrate interaction
ation applied together enable to get information about Planning & Optimization Modules of various modules such as Fault Management and
current network status as well as SON functions con- Beside vey few parameters calculated in external Algorithm modules and as a result provide config-
figuration and act upon needs. Auto-discovery allows planning tool, remaining parameters are calculated uration changes or new settings for SON functions
to collect data from network elements directly or via in self-organized manner by planning & optimization implemented in network elements via Network Pro-
systems managing these elements. Reconciliation modules, which are pluggable pieces of logic utilizing visioning module.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 31

Example Use Case: Self-Planning References


of Radio Parameters for a New
Base Station 1 TS 32.500-800 – Self-Organizing Networks (SON); Concepts and requirements, 3GPP
2 TS 32.501-800 – Self Configuration of Network Elements; Concepts and requirements, 3GPP
Installation of new base station requires definition of 3 TS 32.511-810 – Automatic Neighbour Relation (ANR) management; Concepts and requirements, 3GPP
initial set of radio parameters such as power settings, 4 TR 32.816-800 – Study on management of Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network (E-UTRAN)
frequencies, handover parameters and neighbour and Evolved Packet Core (EPC), 3GPP
lists. This process should be as automated as pos- 5 Next Generation Mobile Networks Beyond HSPA & EVDO, NGMN Alliance White Paper
sible and best practice rather than optimal param- 6 NGMN Informative List of SON Use Cases, NGMN Alliance Annex Deliverable
eters should be aimed for. Self-planning of initial 7 NGMN Recommendation on SON and O&M Requirements, NGMN Alliance Requirement Specification
radio parameters with Comarch modules has been 8 NGMN Use Cases related to Self Organising Network, Overall Description, NGMN Alliance Deliverable
depicted on Figure 4. 9 “SOCRATES: Self-Optimisation and self-ConfiguRATion in wirelESs networks”, J.L. van den Berg, R. Litjens,
Parameter planning process is initiated with event, A. Eisenblätter, M. Amirijoo, O. Linnell, C. Blondia, T. Kürner, N. Scully, J. Oszmianski & L.C. Schmelz, COST
i.e. indicating request for integration of new base sta- 2100 TD(08)422, Wroclaw, Poland, February 6-8, 2008.
tion. This event triggers reconciliation task which 10 Gandalf Project (www.celtic-gandalf.org)
updates information about current network configu- 11 Yankee Group research (www.yankeegroup.com)
ration. After that set of planning algorithms is launched
in batch mode to calculate basic radio parameters
for new cells. Depending on radio access technol- Summary to support automated process management and we
ogy appropriate algorithms are triggered and intra-/ continuously design algorithms and solutions enabling
inter- layer parameter dependencies are resolved. As complexity of networks and OPEX reduction pres- self-organization. With our clients we develop hybrid SON
Resulting basic parameter set is enriched based on sures grow, concepts related to Self-Organizing Net- solutions and concentrate on integration of planning and
predefined templates by configuration management works are regarded by operators as the key technology optimization, configuration management and network
logic and provided to network via Network Provisioning requirement. The manual work associated with network provisioning capabilities. This allows our customers to
Module. In case of availability of ANR function neigh- operation needs to be significantly reduced and the quickly integrate new network elements and implement
bour planning can be realized at eNodeBs, otherwise network itself should be capable to self-configure and configuration changes to the network. By means of task
planning modules will be responsible for neighbour continuously self-optimize in response to network and automation many manual activities can be avioded and
list generation. traffic changes. In Comarch we designed our products operational efficiency can be increased. <<<

Figure 4. Self-planning of initial radio parameters

planning/
optimization module

event, i.e. request auto-calculate


for integration parameters

1 2 3 4

process management & automation engine


Krzysztof Marcisz
Comarch SA
Position: OSS Product Manager
Department: Telecommunications
get current generate conf files &
Business Unit
network info provide them to network
Info: Krzysztof is currently responsible for
auto-discovery & network conceptualization of new OSS solutions in
reconciliation provisioning the area of network planning and optimiza-
tion as well as sales and marketing support
of Comarch OSS systems.

nr 2/2009 (10)
32 > Operational Excellence

Service Assurance:
Bridging the Gap between
the Traditional Management Silos

Each service provider has its own busi-


ness model. One may focus on
being the technological leader delivering the highest
models. They must shift their operations to the next
level: Service Assurance.
Strategy for Moving Forward

More and more of service providers begin different


possible quality to customers, while others may find projects focused on service management. They issue
their niche in simple and inexpensive services that are The Picture Today RFIs looking for different solutions for bringing all ser-
available for a flat rate. Yet all of them face the same vice related information into one place. We can observe
problem, the customer will leave if the services do Many service providers still use different management that there are two main ways for introducing service
not work. Throughout the years they have been miti- tools for different types of networks. The typical model assurance in operation departments.
gating this potential threat with a number of differ- is that with the introduction of the vendor in the network The first approach is to start with service models. Ser-
ent fault management tools which keep the network a new management system is introduced. It covers only vice provides start documenting services within models
in a good state of operation. Nowadays this seems one vendor, one type of network, with no link to the sur- recording cross-service dependencies, IT assets and net-
to be no longer possible as business models have roundings. Even if service providers have an umbrella work resources required for service availability. They then
changed. Today, even simple services have become type of fault management the required details can still focus on changes in the existing fault management solu-
dependent on several different platforms, which are be found in the management silos. Service information tions to allow them to monitor services based on these
often delivered by business partners. Service provid- is scattered between different systems such as perfor- models. Constant improvements of the models trigger
ers must bridge the gap between old tools and new mance management, CRM and monitoring tools. constant change requests in the monitoring solution,

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 33

Figure 1. Vertical silos architecture vs horizontal architecture

Horizontal – Layered Arch Horizontal – Layered Arch

OSS OSS OSS NGOSS

IP Access Data IP IP Access Voice Data TV Content

Network Network Network Network

which increases their operational costs and lengthen time, which apart from increasing effectiveness, also as they deliver both correlation engines and process
the time-to-market for new services. provides an additional benefit by shortening the ser- automation engines. This additionally allows for solving
The second approach is to start with dedicated tools vice unavailability time. Many of the corrective actions the potential service incident without the end customer
for service assurance. Then based on functionalities can be automated in the service assurance solution, even noticing it.
a number of different sources of information are inte-
grated with the service assurance solution, with the
hopes that all the available information will be enough to
monitor the service. Each time a new source of informa- Assurance:
tion is identified the service models are updated. > S&R Incident and Problem
Both methods have their advantages but the gold
S ! CfS Management
approach is in the middle. Investing in a solution, which > Service impact calculation
has core capabilities for service assurance, is a must. No
SI&P: service RfS S
definition S ! RfS
single service provider wants to be a sponsor of a unique,
non-COTS solution for service monitoring. Solutions, which R
are already available on the market, have required mod- R R !
ules, functionalities and algorithms for not only service
assurance but also incident management, root cause
analysis or customer impact analysis. In addition, sound
S CfS
service documentation, recording all the information per-
taining to IT assets, network resources and use cases
RfS S
of the service is also a must for service assurance. The S RfS
important thing is remembering that the service models R
will change. Therefore, it is strongly recommended not R R
only to have a project for documenting the service, but
also such reorganization of the service lifecycle, which
enables the operations department in service Change S CfS
Management processes.
Fulfillment:
The new approach leads to an increase in the effec- RfS S
tiveness of the service provider’s operations. Existing > Service assembly
S RfS
management silos are either no longer needed, or are OS&R: service model & delivery
R
incorporated in the service assurance platforms, allow- storage & sharing > Resource allocation
R R
ing the technicians to use just one solution for investi-
gating service malfunctions, finding the root cause and
fixing the solution. Automation in answering the ques-
tion of why the service is not working saves the most Figure 2. Service models reusage in different departments

nr 2/2009 (10)
34 > Operational Excellence

Figure 3. Interface between systems handling service information network and optimize them from the service availability
and quality perspective. They can offer to the mass mar-
ket the same services but of a higher standard and at
RfS S a different price. Tailored offers can even be introduced
for the most important customers, whilst delivering and
assuring heightened quality in selected areas or for cho-
sen services.
If service providers integrate service assurance with
CRM or SLA management systems they can enable cus-
tomer monitoring as well as network and IT resources
prioritization based on customer impact. In case of prob-
lems arising technicians are able to view the real busi-
> Incidents resulting from > Incidents resulting from ness value of all resources and have the capability to
network problems customer problems plan workarounds and add a protection mechanism for
> Planned service incidents > Provisioning/activation the most essential resources.
(approval) requests Existing service providers are no longer autonomic in
> Process control during the service delivery. They have started to share the network
whole lifecycle and depend on the partners delivering service compo-
nents. It is of even greater important to have a compre-
hensive service assurance solution which will support not
only the service provider itself, but also its partners, with
S CfS clear information about service state and the division of
responsibility regarding service maintenance.
RfS S Currently, the telecommunications world is a keen
S RfS advocate of measuring customer experience. Service
assurance, in addition to bringing about a unification of
operations and bridging gaps between management
systems, is the first and most crucial step in this pro-
It’s always about Interfaces What about the Service Quality? cess. Moreover, automation not only optimizes operations
costs but also enables new business models. <<<
Even if a service provider begins implementation of Together with service assurance solutions, investing
the best service assurance solution on the market, in Service Quality Management completes the service
a certain degree of its legacy solution will require main- picture. In particular, when a service is dependent on a
taining for some time afterwards. There is a possibility number of different and constantly changing network
which excludes the need for the big bang approach: resources, SQM facilitates measuring the impact of net-
immediate replacement of all IT landscapes. The solu- work degradation and its propagation to the service
tion is reliant upon the definition of an interface, based models. Additionally, it integrates the numbers of exist-
on certain standards, in order to handle the legacy sys- ing performance management silos into one source of
tem as a Resource Facing Service – a component of information regarding state and quality of the service.
the new service model. It is vital that such an interface Even if at this current moment in time SQM is not a part
provides at a minimum functionality which forwards of the service assurance projects, it is definitely on the
incidents from the legacy system, passes on provi- road map for all major service providers.
sioning requests and enables controlling the service
management process. Nowadays, there is no single
standard on the market that can be applied. Therefore, What Happens Next?
it is good practice to implement several APIs into the
legacy solution, or alternatively an API at a unified level Ongoing projects for delivering service assurance will
should be adopted. Although this may entail a signifi- allow service providers to see the big picture in terms
cant cost for integration of the legacy system, in many of the service in order to measure its state. Once this
cases it is still an worthwhile investment. Solutions information is acquired new opportunities open up
Jakub Zaluski-Kapusta
such as those of COTS Service Assurance or Service and new business models and service offerings can
Management, and some legacy integration continue come into existence. Comarch SA
Position: OSS Product Manager
to preserve benefits such as increases in the effec- Typical network operation was oriented to solving
Department: Telecommunications
tiveness of service management, minimized time-to- incidents and problems. Using service assurance, pro- Business Unit
market for new services, and most importantly – thor- viders can focus on proactive network management. Info: Jakub is currently responsible for sales
ough and precise service state monitoring. It’s possible to plan the changes and investments in the support of Comarch OSS systems.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 35

Telco on Demand?
Can a telecom provider outsource everything besides the marketing department?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a model of software deployment whereby a provider licenses an appli-


cation to customers for use as a service on demand. The SaaS model has become one of the most
popular trends in today’s IT environment. Software vendors are starting to offer their software in the
SaaS model for many industries. But is SaaS already mainstream in telecommunications? How far can
a telecom provider go into SaaS? Are there any IT or network areas that cannot be outsourced?

nr 2/2009 (10)
36 > Operational Excellence

Figure 1. Differences between On-premise, ASP and SaaS software delivery models

Company A Company B Company C

Data Center Data Center Data Center


On-premise

employees employees employees

A’s customers, B’s customers C’s customers


partners partners partners

Company A Company B Company C

employees employees employees


ASP

Data Center

APP A APP B APP C

A’s customers, B’s customers C’s customers


partners partners partners

Company A Company B Company C

employees employees employees


SaaS

Data Center

APP A, B, C

A’s customers, B’s customers C’s customers


partners partners partners

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 37

Business Drivers for SaaS a VPN or leased-line between a customer and the ven- > Availability of utility computing eases the way for
dor. Dedicated network connections may be required new ideas to evolve into productive innovations; this
The basic concept of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for real-time operations when network link Quality-of- leads to faster time-to-market, greater interest from
appeared in the late 90’s. Now SaaS, sometimes Service influences the stability of company operations VC and revitalization of the whole SaaS sector
termed as “on-demand software”, superseding the or revenue-related processes. > Narrowly focused SaaS startups begin to combine and
“ASP model” or “hosted software”, has become one SaaS providers generally charge per-user – system form partnerships, creating the whole value chains
of the main trends for delivering software in mod- core, additional features, extra bandwidth or storage. As for their customers, as well as up-sell and cross-sell
ern IT. The basic goal of the SaaS model is reducing the revenue stream to the SaaS vendor is usually more channels for themselves (as they cannot afford tra-
investment costs in software licenses and hard- stable than to a typical software vendor, this often results ditional types); this leads to mashups that can func-
ware by sharing one instance of software hosted in new features that are directly requested by users and tionally match the best-of-breed software suits
on an application provider’s infrastructure and on- releases of new features are significantly more frequent > Even the market leaders can no longer turn their
demand accessed by many customers, at the same since the entire group of customers can benefit from the back on SaaS. As an example, SAP, initially directing
time, remotely. new functionality. The new features are often developed their SaaS initiative solely towards the SMB market
SaaS applications are developed to leverage web according to best practices of each industry, because (fearing cannibalization of their license and main-
technologies such as a web-browser for user-inter- the vendor has constant input from customers, based tenance revenues), announced recently that they
face and Web Services for integration purposes. The on their everyday experience. intend to promote their on-demand offering to their
data architecture is based on the multi-tenant concept From a technical point of view, SaaS model imple- entire installed customer base.
with a single instance that enables multiple users to mentations are characterized by:
access a shared data model with the separated data > Multi-tenant architecture, The analysts’ predictions are also favorable. The SaaS
of each customer. > Centralized upgrades transparent to the customer, market is forecasted to grow at least twice as fast as
The following business advantages are the key driv- > Shared data model, the general software market, reaching $13B in 2009,
ers for the popularization of the SaaS model: > Application scalability, and more than $20B in 2011. Some regions, such as
> Low cost of initial investments (CAPEX), > Configuration & extensibility, India or China, may see a compound annual growth
> Responsibility for data, operations and maintenance > Web-based access to applications, rate of up to 76% thru 2011. The market is also divided
shifted to the SaaS provider, > Security of data, into functional areas. While it began in CRM and HCM
> Pay-for-use model (OPEX cost-effectiveness), > Business continuity assurance, often with geograph- (Human Capital Management), it’s since spread into
> IT staff responsibility limited to integrating (if required) ically separated disaster recovery center. web conferencing, collaboration, IT Services Manage-
and extending SaaS platform, both of which are rela- ment and security.
tively easy, All these features translate directly into business ben- One of the consequences of the SaaS boom has
> Short setup time. efits – TCO optimization, flexibility and security. been the growing demand for tools that would sup-
port billing processes for all those subscription-based
A low entry cost means reducing the risk associated services; naturally, SaaS tools. This has proven to be
with investments in software deployment. A very impor- A Bright or Dim Future for SaaS? relatively easy, and such applications are already
tant benefit of SaaS is that a customer can fully test and available. But if a telco startup tried to use them, they
verify the functionality of a real instance of the appli- There have been a lot of rumors lately related to the would clearly see that those tools are well-suited for
cation, before taking the decision of whether to buy it. validity of the SaaS delivery model and the business newspaper subscriptions or private wallet manage-
Also, the customer does not invest directly in software models around it. These have been stirred up by SaaS ment services. To bill a telco operator’s customers you
and hardware upgrades as they pay only for the use of providers struggling to achieve profitability and the need something much more advanced, especially
the software on demand by paying a monthly subscrip- critical mass required. Certainly the large numbers of if you have prepaid customers and want to charge
tion fee for access to the system, providing specified SaaS start-ups are not helping the situation. However, them in real time. That’s when you turn to a telco bill-
parameters. All these parameters must be specified a tough and uncompromising economy has paradoxi- ing specialist.
before signing an agreement with the vendor. cally brought SaaS into the spotlight, as businesses
In simple applications the setup period on the ven- are looking for ways to improve the bottom line. There
dor’s side usually takes minutes or hours. In more are some indisputable facts indicating that the future Comarch Billing on Demand
advanced cases, the setup may also require some will be more favorable for SaaS initiatives:
additional integration tasks on the customer side. > People and companies alike are less inclined to Comarch has been involved in the on-demand mar-
These tasks may include integration of local systems purchase licenses, hardware and other products ket since 2001 with our ERP package. Recently we’ve
with a remote service through an API, integration tests (copiers, cars, office space, etc.), turning instead to expanded our SaaS offer by providing the Comarch
etc. SaaS vendors usually provide easy-to-use and service providers that rent them out; this leads to Billing SaaS service - a telecom-grade compact billing
well-documented API with working examples attached, subscription-based models that are increasingly bet- system available in the SaaS model. The service sup-
therefore the integration process takes less time than ter understood by customers and widely accepted ports typical business processes, including customer
it would when deploying a local instance of the system. > Globalization of social networks and businesses management, product management, rating, invoic-
In addition, SaaS makes the Quality Assurance process requires tools that are available at anytime, any- ing, dispatching, partner management processes
more simplistic than in a typical deployment. where, and this therefore means “on the Net”; while and customer self-care. Special care has been taken
A customer usually accesses the application improving internet connection availability and speed to ensure user acceptance, with video trainings and
through the Internet, but it is also possible to set up helps on the consumer side extensive documentation.

nr 2/2009 (10)
38 > Operational Excellence

Comarch’s solution supports billing processes ded- the only on-demand initiative, and soon we will be able focusing on core competences that will allow them to
icated to small/medium sized service and network to offer additional services, preintegrated into a single differentiate their offering from their competition.
operators, with up to one hundred thousand subscrib- Telco as a Service platform, enabling our customers to
ers activated in post-paid or pre-paid mode, in particu- outsource practically all their IT requirements:
lar: ISPs, VOIP, IPTV and WIMAX operators. > ERP – online application for all ERP needs, chrono- Conclusion
Comarch provides a billing solution in the Software- logically the first Comarch on-demand offering
as-a-Service (SaaS) model, hosted at farms of our > IP PABX – phone switch to provide all internal and Making the decision of whether to use SaaS should be
own servers located at Comarch Data Center (CDC). external phone communication, conferencing and preceded by a thorough analysis of service functional-
The service can be accessed online through Internet, other advanced services ity, specification of customer requirements and poten-
a VPN or a leased line. > Call Center – Call Center as a Service (called C2aS) tial risks of using on-demand software in the customer
The service provides the following functionality allows operators to distribute their Customer Ser- business. However, for many medium-sized operators
to an operator: vice Representatives, who use a supplied IP phone the answer is already known, as Software as a Service
> Offline Charging of the services that a customer with embedded VPN software to connect to the Call is already ‘mainstream’. The benefits of using SaaS are
would like to pay after the service has been deliv- Center application not only reducing CAPEX and OPEX costs, but sometimes
ered (in postpaid mode). For post-paid mode the > IP VPN – makes it easy to use distributed IP-enabled even shifting the full responsibility of a specified busi-
system charges sessions and provides rated CDRs devices in one virtual office network ness process to the service provider. Since, depending
to the built-in invoicing module. > VoIP operator – with the addition of interconnection on the application type, a potential failure on the vendor
> Online Charging of the services that a customer to wholesale telco providers the platform can run the side or network interruption can result in propagation
would like to pay in advance (prepaid mode). For VoIP provider operations to the customer and its core business operations, the
pre-paid mode the system controls the customer > Campaigns – from simple mailing to advanced loy- customer should carefully verify how stable the service
balance in real-time. alty programme, we can support every initiative of provider is, not only from the technical, but principally
> Billing/Invoicing of the services in postpaid mode. the Marketing Department, or even be one for our from the business point of view.
The system provides the following functionality: dis- customers We are positive that Comarch is the right choice as
counts and promotions, invoice creation, payment > Online Backup – provides a secure vault for docu- the billing SaaS provider, due to its global reach, solid
collection functionality, dunning scenarios (report- ments and other files for the operator’s peace of business foundations and extensive on-premise and
ing and actions such as account blocking). mind and regulatory compliance on-demand experience. Thanks to basing the service
> Reporting and Analysis Tool for analyzing business > IPTV VoD – enables smaller IP operators to provide on our stable products, we can guarantee business
data directly within edited documents. Users who are their customers with a high-end VoD service. continuity, both short and long-term, with practically
not familiar with database technologies should be no limits in functionality or capacity. Ultimately, when
able to use the analysis tool to conduct advanced This way, service providers will be able to outsource an operator’s business comes out of the nascent
data analysis and present the results in the form of to Comarch everything besides product management, phase, migrating the data and processes to their own
a professional, presentation-ready report. marketing communication and customer support, on-premise deployment is very easy. <<<
> Customer Care – a CRM tool that supports processes
necessary in everyday customer management – Figure 2. Comarch Billing SaaS – GUI
customer management, order management, trou-
ble ticketing – regardless of whether the actual CC
user interface is used in the call center, front office
or back office.

The service can also be delivered with the following


additional modules:
> Top-Up and Voucher Management that can be
configured to deliver various methods of recharg-
ing and payments. It generates and validates PIN
codes that can be, after some integration, used by
the users via IVR, scratch cards, web pages, ATM,
etc.
> Self Care – telco consumer web-based interface for
self-management of accounts, contracted services
and personal data.

The broad competences of Comarch, active in various


sectors of the economy, allow us to bring even more
value to our customers. Comarch Billing SaaS is not

technology review [www.comarch.com]


Operational Excellence < 39

Figure 3. Comarch Billing SaaS - Deployment

Clearing-houses,
other billers etc.

Network operator Comarch


Billing SaaS

Network EDRs Billing System

Access to
Admin Customer Care Customer Care Invoices

Access to Self Care


Self Care (white-label
product)
Involces

End user

Comarch Billing on Demand

The solution is offered in the Software-as-a-Service


model, allowing an operator to use this fully func-
tional, powerful and modern billing system without
the need for purchasing any licenses. An operator
can start their business without initial investment
in on-premise software and hardware. In the SaaS
model the operator only pays for setup and use of
the service. Our solution minimizes risk of invest-
ment (CAPEX) and maintenance costs (OPEX).

Top features:

> Provides a telco-grade billing solution from


a leading BSS vendor, in the SaaS model
> Supplies post-paid and pre-paid billing capabili-
ties
> Enables easy integration with open API
> Reduces investment (CAPEX) and operating costs
(OPEX)
Grzegorz Kot Lukasz Luzar
> Offers Pay Per Use & Subscription pricing models Comarch SA Comarch SA
> Provides white-labeling capabilities of Customer Position: Senior Consultant Position: Product Manager
Department: Telecommunications Department: Telecommunications
Self Care
Business Unit Business Unit
> Facilitates easy migration to “on-premise”
Info: Grzegorz is currently responsible for Info: Lukasz is currently responsible for
model presales consulting in the areas of sales Billing in SaaS area, Comarch NGTV and CDS
> Guarantees constant innovation by reusing expe- channels’ support, outsourcing/SaaS and in VAS area..
rience from Comarch on-premise deployments the VAS Comarch offering.

nr 2/2009 (10)
40 > Operational Excellence

Self-tuning Operations
Support System
Continuous business efficiency improvements within your operations

An economic slowdown always pushes market players to reduce costs and peruse new revenue sources.
A more effective strategy than a simple one off effort is to employ the tenet of efficiency improvements as
a continuous cycle. The article describes the concept of the OSS system which should not only promise to
add value to CSP but also contain self-assessment and self-tuning mechanisms which can measure the sys-
tem performance in business oriented KPIs and improve its performance. See how the concept of a continu-
ous improvement cycle implemented in the Next Generation Service Management solution can help CSPs
to maintain profitability whilst under pressure to reduce time-to-market for new services. Find out about
customer service composition optimization which aligns with the notion of Self-Organizing Networks.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 41

A period of economic slowdown


or even recession has
always been a time in which all market players try to
flow process rather than an automatic loop back to
the underlying OSS systems. This means that the opti-
mization cycle is slow.
improve the efficiency of their business. All are seek- The answer to this problem is applying a self-tuning
ing the possibilities to reduce costs of operation and Operations Support System. The idea of a self tuning
to maximize revenue. Tough times simply force every system is that the system can self-assess its added
player to fight for better efficiency. It is a game of value and close the loop by supporting the correc-
survival. It seems that improving business should be tive actions in the case of discovered inefficiency.
a constant driver. The reality is that we need a pain- The system self-assessment is expressed through
ful incentive to make the effort. Some thinkers even KPIs which measure the business performance of
consider a slowdown or even a recession as a neces- the process supported by the system. The corrective
sary therapy which is painful but heals the economy. action support includes identification of the system
It  probably derives from our human nature, that during configuration which needs enhancing to improve busi-
the period of prosperity when the revenue stream is ness performance.
wide, we don’t pay attention to small enhancements The need for self-tuning Operations Support sys-
which do not cause double digit revenue growth. We tems becomes critical in times where Communica-
forget that small enhancements carried out system- tion Service Providers strive to shorten time-to-market
atically and methodically can bring a significant busi- for new service introduction. The problem is that fast
ness improvement. On a global scale, a continuous often means inefficient. The self-tuning platforms can
fight for efficiency even during a period of prosperity answer this problem by introducing optimization into
might help prevent a recession or at least lessen the the service lifecycle.
impact of a slowdown. This conclusion seems quite
reasonable so we can ask why we don’t do it. The
answer is probably not only our human nature but the Reducing Time-to-Market
fact that efficiency improvements cost money. This is and Maintaining Profitability
especially true for businesses which rely on complex
systems like telecommunication infrastructure. The After the Internet and mobile revolution Communication
answer to this problem could be applying the IT tech- Service Providers (CSP) are forced to quickly provide
nology which can not only support the operations but composite services which combine fixed, mobile net-
also contains self-tuning mechanisms. work access with content based services. The winner
The traditional approach to business optimiza- in this highly competitive environment is the one who
tion is to apply business intelligence (BI) technology. can fastest provide compelling services to custom-
In a nutshell, this technology works in the following ers. However, the fight for new customers should be
way. Firstly, it gathers data from as many existing balanced with profitability concerns. This problem is
operations support systems as possible and places highlighted in the recent industry report [1] published
it in a corporate data warehouse. The purpose of the by TMF Business Benchmarking. The report warns that
data warehouse is to give the data business mean- exciting new services can bring a Pandora’s Box of
ing, which involves OLAP (Online Analytical Process- additional complexity that can eat up profit.
ing) techniques. The business meaning is expressed The answer to this potential problem is leveraging
through KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which is an OSS system with self-tuning mechanisms. The prob-
the language understood by business executives. KPIs lem of fast new service introduction into the market is
measure how the business is running. Business mea- address by hyped Service Delivery Platforms (SDP). The
suring is a prerequisite for any methodical optimization main promise of this type of OSS system is reducing
and the term KPI-driven business captures that idea. time and costs of new service introduction by lever-
The KPIs which fall below expectations highlight the aging reusable service components. This concept is
inefficiency and the space for optimization. detailed in a separate white paper [2]. From the prof-
The problem with the described business opti- itability assurance point of view, it is important that
mization is that this process is rather slow. This is this kind of system contains the self-tuning mecha-
because corporate BI systems are disjointed from nism. Firstly, it means that these systems should self-
operations systems. It derives from the nature of the assess their business effectiveness. Business effec-
corporate data warehouse whose main goal is to shift tiveness should be measured by KPIs. The KPIs are
from raw technical data gathered from OSS systems expected to enable business executives to validate
to the black box business view. It means that there the promise of SDP which is reduced time and cost of
is no automatic loop back mechanism. Once ineffi- new service introduction. The self-tuning mechanism
ciency is detected by examining KPIs, the corrective means that after identifying KPIs which do not meet
actions need to go though the man made decision business goals, it is possible to track down the con-

nr 2/2009 (10)
42 > Operational Excellence

Figure 1. Continuous improvement lifecycle innately an iterative process. From a practical view-
point, efficiency cannot be achieved as a one off task
which resembles rocket since. Instead, it should be
done step by step, with each optimization cycle end-
ing by assessing the improvement of KPI’s. This con-
cept is depicted below.
If the result is still not satisfactory, a further opti-
mization cycle can be started. The iterative approach
is cheaper and can lead to better results. The first
statement is true because it allows CSP to start with
optimization which is easiest to implement. Prior to
further investment in optimization, the results of the
previous enhancement cycle can be measured. If the
KPI’s improvements are satisfactory, further improve-
ments can be delayed until new business goals are
set. The better results of the iterative improvements
derive from the “measure first” strategy which means
that the iteration is preceded by KPI assessment which
leads to fine tuning.

Self-assessment: a Way to Keep


the Promise

All OSS systems claim to add value to the CSP environ-


ment ether by reducing costs of operation or extending
CSP capabilities. But do they really do that? How can

Improvement it be checked? A good answer to this problem can be


found in the self-assessment mechanism which OSS
lifecycle products should provide. The self-assessment mecha-
nism is a materialization of the “measure first” concept
introduced in the previous chapter entitled ‘Efficiency
improvement as a continuous cycle’. The provision of
such mechanisms by OSS products is envisioned to
be beneficial for both sides: OSS vendors and CSPs.
For an OSS vendor, the self-assessment mechanism
can be the perfect way to highlight the benefits of the
solution. It may be an effective way to convince a CSP
to spend its hard earned money on a product which
really brings value to it. For a CSP, the self-assessment
mechanism provides a tool for validating promises of
the OSS vendor. Checking KPIs provides a method for
comparing the OSS vendors marketing materials with
figuration of the system which needs to be corrected. ing the efficiency of operations and thus improving the real performance of the product. The ideal situation
The examples include: the ability to identify which ser- business results. Before any OSS product which is from a CSP point of view is the possibility to organize
vice components bundling, although deliverable, are delivered as COTS can start adding value, it must be a “Proof of Concept” stage where vendors demon-
not profitable; the ability to identify which technology integrated with the CSP environment. This process strate their products. Ability to compare the products
based service bundling is most profitable. involves tuning the OSS product according to CSP using hard metrics should make the decision regard-
requirements. Traditionally, it was the only time dur- ing which product to choose much easier.
ing which the OSS product was optimized to deliver The self-assessment mechanism of an OSS product
Efficiency Improvement as the best possible outcome. The assumption was is not only a way for a CSP to validate vendor prom-
a Continuous Cycle that once the OSS product was configured, it should ises, but also is expected to facilitate the business
just do its work without a need for its further tuning. decisions process. Having OSS product performance
The introduction of a new Operations Support System Even throughout the period in which the competi- expressed in KPIs with business meaning should
into a communication service provider (CSP) environ- tive environment did not force rapid innovation rates, enable the less technically oriented business execu-
ment has always been driven by the hope of improv- this approach lead to inefficiency, as improvement is tives to make more rational decisions. OSS KPIs are

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 43

expected to bridge the gap between the technical this solution should also be early service problem is based on KPIs provided by the NGSDP which are
characteristics of an OSS system and the business detection, which means proactive capabilities. Net- described in the previous chapter ‘Service Fulfillment
impact of the system. work related problems which impact services can KPIs’. To describe tuning capabilities, some details on
start to be resolved before a customer experiences the NGSDP must be provided.
the problem. The main concept is based on the premise that
Service Fulfillment KPIs The examples of KPIs which can be used to mea- customer services are not monolithic services but on
sure the OSS performance in relation to fulfilling the the contrary are composed of service components.
As the key benefit, hyped Service Delivery Platforms described benefits are: Average Incident Resolution The service composition is based on the SID model
reduce time-to-market for new customer services. Time (AIRT), Average Incident Resolution Costs (AIRC) which assumes that Customer Facing Services can
Once a new service is ready to be delivered to the and percentage of problems by cause type. The pro- be composed of Resource Facing Services.
customer, the SDP should also reduce the time and active capability can be measured using the number The benefit of reducing time-to-market is realized
costs of service orders fulfillment. What is important is of network faults which effected customer service by leveraging the concept in which new Customer
that this rapid service introduction should not result in but had been resolved prior to a customer issuing Facing Services (CFS) can be built up from reusable
poor customer experience. To be able to verify whether a complaint. service components represented by Resource Fac-
an SDP keeps its promises the appropriate KPIs must The AIRT is the easiest to measure, assuming that ing Services. Once the new CFS is defined in the ser-
be defined. OSS employs a BPM platform for managing incident vice catalog its decomposition to RFS is interpreted
Time-to-market is one of the basic KPIs which can resolution processes. by the service assembly process as a skeleton for
be used to verify the performance of any SDP prod- The AIRC is more difficult to measure using the the delivery process. The whole idea is depicted in
uct. One way of measuring this KPI is registering the OSS system unless there are costs metrics defined the dedicated NGSDP whitepaper [2]. From the tuning
time between introducing a new service into the ser- per incident resolution step. However, a good alter- mechanism perspective it is interesting to analyze
vice catalog and the time the first customer order native is introducing KPIs which measure the auto- the RFS interpretation. A Resource Facing Service is
can be fulfilled. mation ratio. These KPIs are easier to measure using also understood as a technical service which encap-
The ‘average time to fulfill the service order’ KPI is the OSS system and have a more direct relationship sulates the technology used to implement services.
a metric that can be easily traced assuming that the with the self-tuning mechanism. Good examples of This may lead to tuning which aims to identify the
SDP exploits the order management solution. such KPIs are: number of service incidents reported most effective technology for customer facing ser-
The ‘average cost of fulfilling a service order’ KPI is by a customer which required manual root cause vices implementation. For example, the Broadband
harder to measure using the OSS system unless the analysis, number of network faults detected by the IP CFS can be leverage for the second mile techni-
cost metrics are defined per order fulfillment process network which resulted in manual correlation with cal service and the Ethernet Aggregation RFS. As an
step. As an alternative, the KPIs which measure the other network faults. alternative technology, the ATM Aggregation may
automation rate of the fulfillment can be used. This is The KPI percentage of ‘problem by cause type’ can exist. The NGSDP provides KPIs defined per RFS. These
easier to measure in the OSS system and has a more be even further detailed to identify which network tech- statistics enable the discovery of which technology
direct relationship with the self-tuning mechanism. nologies used to implement customer facing services is better. For example, if the Average Time to Ful-
As an example, the KPIs which express the number are the most fault prone. fill a Service Order is higher for services based on
of manual steps vs. automatic steps of service man- The ability to measure service assurance KPIs is the ATM Aggregation RFS than those based on the
agement can be used. half the story. The other half is the ability to tune the Ethernet Aggregation RFS, this may give a hint that
The quality of the fulfillment process can be mea- solution to improve KPIs. The self-tuning capabilities the Ethernet Aggregation is the more time effective
sured using the percentage of service orders which heavily depend on mechanisms employed within the option. The higher the fulfillment orders failures, KPIs
resulted in service incidents. solution and this is why they are described in the sub- for the Ethernet Aggregation may indicate that this
A useful insight can be gained by combining the sequent chapter regarding Comarch Next Generation technology is more fault prone. These interesting
above listed KPIs with the network technology which Service Assurance. analyses can also be conducted using the Service
was used for implementing customer facing ser- Assurance KPI per RFS. These analyses can indicate
vices. which technology is optimal for Customer Facing Ser-
The ability to measure the performance of the SDP Service Fulfillment Tuning in vices from the assurance point of view. The details
is useful but the ability to tune the system to improve NGSDP regarding assurance based KPIs tuning are provided
the performance is even more desirable. As the tun- in the subsequent chapter.
ing mechanism is related to the mechanism employed Service Fulfillment is implemented in the Comarch The notion of discovering the best technology for
within the solution, the self-tuning capabilities are solution using the Next Generation Service Delivery implementing Customer Facing Services means cus-
described in the subsequent chapter regarding the Platform (NGSDP). The main premise of this solution tomer service composition optimization is controlled
Comarch Next Generation Service Delivery Platform. is fast and cost effective introduction of new cus- from the service catalog. The service composition
tomer services to the market. New service introduction optimization and self-tuning capabilities align with
refers to the ability to deliver the services to custom- the ideas of Next Generation Networks (NGN) and with
Service Assurance KPIs ers. NGSDP also promises to reduce time and costs Self-Organizing and Optimizing Networks (SON) in par-
of service order fulfillment. ticular. The SON idea can be perceived as optimiza-
Employing an OSS system in Service Assurance prom- The NGSDP provides a self-assessment mecha- tion within technical service components (RFSs), with
ises to reduce the time and costs needed to resolve nism which can be used to verify how the solution NGSM providing the service composition optimization.
service incidents. The equally important benefit of keeps its promises. The self-assessment mechanism The service composition optimization is envisioned

nr 2/2009 (10)
44 > Operational Excellence

Figure 2. Service catalog’s CFS-RFS model as a skeleton for service composition

NGSDP

User
Service Layer

CFS Program TV

CFS CFS CFS IP TV


IP TV TV Channel

RFS
RFS Content
RFS TV
IP

Other business unit Third Party


Component
Service Layer

CFS CFS
IP IP

RFS
RFS IP
FFTH

as a way to bring the value of network optimization Additionally, the product aims to provide a proactive related alarms collected from the network. This “bot-
to customers via Customer Facing Service composi- solution which enables the resolving of issues prior to tom-up” process is accompanied by the “top-down”
tion optimization. a customer experiencing a problem with the service. method which is realized for providing the service
NGSA not only promises to bring benefits but also pro- incidents resolution support when a customer reports
vides self-assessment and self-tuning mechanisms. a complaint. The bottom-up process means that net-
Service Assurance Tuning The self-assessment functionality enables you to mea- work related alarms are translated into the customer
in NGSA sure the performance of the solution and express it service impact. The top-down process enables you
using KPIs, allowing you to validate the business value to trace the customer complaint down to root cause
Service Assurance is implemented into the Comarch of the solution. network resources. The idea of providing the service
solution using the Next Generation Service Assurance To describe the self-tuning mechanism, some assurance meaning to the network related data is
(NGSA) model. The main premise of the product is time details of the NGSA must be provided. In a nutshell, depicted below.
and cost reductions for customer service assurance. NGSA provides a service meaning to the network

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


Operational Excellence < 45

Figure 3. Providing the customer service meaning to network alarms

t
Customer Facing Services BB Instance

BB Prosumer BB for Business

Intermediate Services
BB Mechanism Customer BB Transport

Resource Facing Services ...

Specific BB Generic BB UTRAN GERAN


Mechanism Mechanism

BSC

Network Resources

BlackBerry RIM Auth Server


Platform BTS BTS BTS BTS BTS

The mechanism of providing the customer ser- resource related events up to the customer facing should be updated. For example, it may be discov-
vice meaning to network related data is leveraged in service impact. More details about the NGSA can be ered that the BlackBerry CFS is not mapped on the
the process layer realized by the ITIL based library of found in the dedicated white paper [3]. Authentication Service whose outage impacts the
processes. The ITIL library implemented in NGSA pro- The self-tuning mechanism is based on the most customer service. This tuning is intended to improve
vides service incident and problem management pro- detailed KPIs which measure the automation ratio. the automation rate, so it has an impact on more busi-
cesses which are the core assurance processes. The The KPI: the number of service incidents reported by ness related KPIs like Average Incident Resolution Time
ITIL processes operate using knowledge which gives a customer that required manual root cause analysis (AIRT) and Average Incident Resolution Costs (AIRC).
service meaning to network related data and ensures has a direct relationship with the tuning mechanism. This tuning also improves proactivity levels. Ability to
efficient utilization of this knowledge. The self-tuning The high value of this KPI may indicate that knowledge better translate network related faults into service
mechanism is based on identifying the gaps in this defined along the CFS-RFS-R model is incomplete. In impacts means early service issues detection. This
knowledge. The knowledge is organized along the ser- a nutshell, this is what the tuning process looks like: means that service issues can start to be resolved
vice catalog TMF SID model which decomposes Cus- Firstly, a customer facing service (for which there are even before a customer experiences a problem. This
tomer Facing Services (CFS) through Resource Fac- numerous customer complaints whose root cause impact can be assessed by analyzing improvements
ing Services (RFS) down to Resources (R). The basic analyses involves manual steps) must be identified. in KPIs describing total number of customer com-
SID CFS-RFS-R model is augmented with assurance Secondly, the resource type which was most fre- plaints. Early service issues detection and proactive-
management data. The most essential extension to the quently manually indicated as the cause of the ser- ness should result in a decrease in the total number
SID CFS-RFS-R model is the alarm propagation model vice incident can be identified. Once it is determined, of customer complaints.
which captures the knowledge regarding translating the knowledge defined along the SID CFS-RFS-R model

nr 2/2009 (10)
46 > Operational Excellence

Conclusions resolve this problem. NGSM covers both the areas of Further reading
service fulfillment and service assurance, guaran-
Comarch Next Generation Service Management not teeing that fast service introduction is not achieved 1 “Next Generation Service Delivery Platform.
only promises to reduce time and costs of introducing at the cost of degraded customer experience. NGSM Integrated Service Fulfillment”, Comarch white
new services to market, but also contains a mecha- provides interesting optimization capabilities which paper.
nism which allows CSPs to validate these benefits and enable us to analyze which network technology is 2 “How to move Service Assurance to the Next
implement efficiency improvement as a continuous most effective for customer service implementation. Level”, Comarch white paper.
cycle. NGSM can measure its performance by means These analyses enable us to optimize the service
of business related KPIs which allow a CSP to attain catalog built according to the SID CFS-RFS-R model.
an insight into its operational efficiency. NGSM realizes The CSP can discover which technology represented References
the measure first tenet, which is leveraged to imple- by the Resource Facing Service (RFS) is better suited
ment efficiency improvements as a continuous cycle. for Customer Facing Service implementation. NGSM 1 “Winning in a Shrinking World: Points to Con-
This feature appears extremely important as CSPs are leverages the CFS-RFS-R model as the customer ser- sider”, TMF Business Benchmarking, industry
forced to shorten service innovation cycles. Fast ser- vice composition mechanism which is a skeleton for update report.
vice introduction may lead to inefficiency which may service fulfillment and service assurance processes. 2 “Next Generation Service Delivery Platform.
eat up profits. Optimization organized in cycles aligned Optimizing the service composition enables rapid Integrated Service Fulfillment”, Comarch white
with new service introduction cycles is expected to improvement of CSP operations. <<< paper.
3 “How to move Service Assurance to the Next
Level”, Comarch white paper.

Lukasz Mendyk
Comarch SA
Position: OSS Product Manager
Department: Telecommunications
Business Unit
Info: Lukasz is currently responsible for
the Next Generation Service Management
solution, specializing in the service fulfill-
ment area.

technology review [www.comarch.eu]


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Service Management
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