Phone calls have no boundaries, borders, or language barriers. However, billing for them does.
With the first quarter of performance testing behind us, we’d like to reflect on how our stamper technology performed. As we rolled out hundreds of stamper box devices across the United States, our years of experience in telecom were put to the test to adapt to new challenges that performance measures testing created.
Tell me if this story sounds familiar. You have an idea, a hunch, a theory that you'd like to 'flush' out. BUT, in order to do so, you need access to data from last month, maybe it's CDRs, billing data, smart meter data, etc. The emails, conference calls, and requests you'll have to make to get your hands on that data are daunting at best. But it's your data right? Why should you have to jump through so many hoops to get access to it? By the time you can even figure out who "owns" the data, you're onto the next task and your great idea is wasted, yet again.
Over the years, I can't tell you how many times the 'data access' issue has delayed or even completely stopped a project we've been involved with. Not because the idea didn't make sense or the business case didn't prove out, simply because getting the data from 'Point A' to 'Point B' was going to take too much time and effort. This is the definition of a 'data plumbing' issue. Big data tools are getting better, faster, cheaper, and more available every day. But the challenge of extracting and integrating data from a variety of sources has become an issue that organizations simply can't ignore. It's the ugly truth behind data analytics - it often takes more time and energy to extract, clean, and integrate the data than it takes to do the analytics itself.
Being in the software business for 20+ years, I’ve both feared and admired open-source. On the one hand, we’ve benefited from it so thoroughly that it’s easy to overlook that we’re standing on ‘shoulders of giants’ every morning from the moment we boot up a Linux VM, to whatever PERL or Python module we’ll download or upgrade during the day. We’ve made modest contributions along the way, but we’ve never taken the plunge of actually open-sourcing our own wares -- even though, economically and technically, our own customers have benefited from indirectly from them. After all, building our apps around open source has - over the long-term - kept our own customer’s total cost of ownership down, and kept openness and reliability up. In this post, I’d like to explore an often-overlooked aspect of open-source: it’s ability to help you close more sales by including an ‘infrastructure call option’ for your prospects.
The FCC is currently struggling mightily to arrive at a fair and equitable solution to the need to promote uniform quality of telecommunications for both large urban centers and very small rural areas of the United States.
The FCC fully recognizes that the existing Rural Call Completion reporting requirements are not capable of providing a reliable measurement of the “of how answer and call completion rates differed for various small non-rural carriers compared to the overall rate provided to larger non-rural carriers in total. “
Big data is big news in almost every industry, and telecom is no exception. The report “Big Data and Telecom Analytics Market: Business Case, Market Analysis & Forecasts 2014 – 2019” from Mind Commerce forecasts a 50% growth by 2019 in the big-data-driven telco analytics environment, which will deliver annual revenue of $5.4 billion. Apart from opening up a multitude of jobs for telecom data scientists, data will increasingly become a competitive differentiator for telcos.
Over the last two years, the FCC has been in the process of determining whether it still makes sense to have telecom service providers collect and report on call answer and completion rates on long distance domestic calls that were handed-off to Interexchange Carriers who provided routing, transport and completion functions for the calls made to customers of a NECA-provided list of small ILECs as well as to the much larger non-rural local exchange service providers in aggregate.
The telecoms industry in the U.S. is expected to continue growing in 2017, according to Deloitte’s latest outlook report. Furthermore, we anticipate providers will work hard to remain competitive in the battle to attract customers and create new revenue streams. With data generated from every customer touch point ranging from calls to text messages, video downloads, mobile commerce and service calls, telcos have access to significant amounts of information. Implementing big data analytics (BDA) is critical to enable them to make use of this intelligence to get ahead.
At ATS, we work at the intersection of Telecom and IT and, in order to focus our efforts on what we’re really good at, we outsource our IT wherever possible. So, naturally, we’ve turned to a few of the big cloud providers for help here. If you’re using our services, you’re also using AWS’ and Google Cloud Platform -- they’re both too big and impressive for any mid-size software company like us to ignore, and we firmly believe our customers are better served when we focus on what we're really good at, which is developing software. But, when you dig a little deeper, you realize that some of the cloud providers' tech offerings tell a tale of how they got big and impressive in the first place. What can the Telco industry learn from the rise of these Retail and Search giants, given what they've exposed as cloud services?
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first mandated Local Number Portability (LNP) on June 27, 1996 in the 100 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas by October 1, 1997 and elsewhere by December 31, 1998 as a spur to open up competition for customers among local service providers, I doubt that it had any idea how pervasive their requirement would become.
At the time of the initial FCC ruling on LNP, the concept of allowing a user to transfer his/her fixed-line telephone service from one service provider to another without changing the service’s ten digit telephone number was viewed as the end-of-the-world by Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC) and Independent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) personnel.