Cable Technology Feature Article
Increasing Importance of Service Assurance for MSOs
As the cable MSO competitive landscape continues to intensify globally, maintaining the highest level of service assurance still remains a critical success factor in today’s communications market. With this increased competition, it is essential for cable MSOs to think strategically about how to improve their business models and the customer experience, as well as boosting overall profitability and efficiency. Analysts forecast the Global Telecom Service Assurance Market to grow at a CAGR of 8.3 percent over the period 2011-2014.
Today’s cable providers have very diverse and complex networks and they use a variety of systems to gather the fault and performance metrics needed to manage and monitor these networks. However, in order to assure services and performance and improve the overall customer experience, operators need to shift from a network centric monitoring model to a customer and service centric level of monitoring. By combining network management and service visualization leveraging the latest technologies, dynamic service assurance solutions are helping to meet the needs of cable MSOs as they move increasingly towards the utilization of network intelligence and real-time information to improve service performance and quality.
While the industry is moving towards a more customer-centric model, service assurance solutions have traditionally focused on point solutions and not on the entirety of the overall network performance or the customer experience. In order for cable MSOs to compete effectively, reduce churn, and increase their customer base, they must deploy service assurance solutions that make it easy to visualize and ensure the customer experience and the optimum performance of their services.
This increasing importance of service assurance for MSOs requires today’s solutions to offer the following capabilities:
- New level of visualization: Today’s service and customer requirements demand more than just alarm panels and static performance charts. Service assurance solutions must provide interactive, configurable dashboards that allow users to customize their user interface on-the-fly – empowering them to visualize end to end service information in a way that will dramatically improve performance and customer experience.
- Transparency: Providers require solutions that enable them to configure and deliver self-service portals for enterprise customers.
- Data Accuracy: Today’s dynamic networks necessitate that service assurance solutions be able to discover network inventory in real-time and be able to reconcile that with service inventory databases to ensure data integrity and understand customer impact.
- Pre-Integrated Solution: Providers need a solution with off-the-shelf device support that can be hot-deployed with minimal configuration. This allows them to be more agile, compete more effectively and helps operators roll out and assure new services quickly.
- Deliver Quantifiable OpEx reductions: Solutions should deliver OpEx reduction for providers by reducing the time and effort required to deploy, maintain and support new services. Solutions should also help manage budgets better by supporting capacity planning and short/long term trending reports.
As MSOs continue to compete in the marketplace, customer experience and retention will become key – creating an opportunity for operators to deliver the most optimal user experience for customers to ensure long-term customer loyalty. While most cable MSOs have had to build homegrown monitoring systems or use a variety of unconnected systems, newly developed service assurance solutions can now meet MSOs’ goals of improving customer experience and service quality by providing end-to-end visibility of service health and customer impact.
With over 15 years' experience in the telecom industry, Anand co-founded Centina Systems. Prior to his current role, Anand was the Director of Systems and Software Engineering at Xtera. Anand also held management positions in software and program management at Fujitsu (News - Alert) where he worked on FLM and FLASHWAVE product lines.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman