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With the massive wave of IoT devices and sensors spread about everywhere, IoT and M2M have become an increasingly popular topic of discussion. Many predict that this hottest new trend will create new markets and new opportunities, and increase business efficiency. However, technology thought leaders still face the perpetual dilemma of how to monetize all these devices.
We’ve begun to witness early adopters riding the IoT wave, in such industries as healthcare, transportation, utilities, and others. One such example is smart cities that are already using IoT sensors to monitor street lights, traffic, water supply and parking lots.
However, considerable investment is still required in this technology until it can provide consumers with significant value for which they would be willing to pay. Given the extent of investment required - starting from the individual device level, to communication infrastructure, through data collection and analytics - there is a key dilemma which must be resolved before reaping the gains of this new space: What will be the rate of return on such investment?
At this early stage, in the absence of proven business models or best practices for this market, it is essential for companies entering this arena to have an affordable, flexible billing solution that will enable easy and quick adaption to future business models.
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The decision, in July, by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) to make high-frequency bandwidth spectrum available for 5G technology, was greeted by the U.S telecom industry with great delight, placing the U.S. on the path to lead global deployment of 5G.
There has been a lot of talk recently about 5G wireless technology - which will likely be available for consumers sometime around 2020. The underlying agility and elastic nature of 5G will significantly increase transmission speed and capacity of all consumer devices, resulting in devices that will run 10 or even 100 times faster.
Adapting in real-time to changes in end-user applications, 5G technology will support vast amounts of IoT devices and connected vehicles using cellular networks, while smart-city energy grids, water systems, and immersive education and entertainment will become a daily reality. Transitioning to this technology will naturally make cable-based infrastructure - superfluous.
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Mobile subscribers across Africa have reached over half a billion - presenting a new frontier with vast opportunities for MNOs. This certainly explains the current hype around the AfricaCom conference scheduled for mid-November in Cape Town, South Africa. BillRun, of course, will be there too. Will you?
Lower smartphone prices are driving a digital revolution in Africa. According to a recent report, there are over half a billion smartphone users across the continent – a number expected to reach 725 million by 2020. This poses a huge opportunity in the next few years for mobile data services, as mobile internet access reaches unprecedented levels.
In fact, Africa is the fastest growing market worldwide in adopting new mobile technologies - a result, mainly, of lack of fixed-line Internet connectivity. Notably, mobile technology is already contributing to Africa’s economic growth and productivity, as telcos develop new products to boost their user base. Services in such areas as health, agriculture, education, energy and water management are being transformed entirely. Mobile internet connectivity is unlocking vast opportunities for consumers, increasing employment; enhancing financial services and businesses; and powering entrepreneurship.
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BillRun Cloud Billing-as-a-Service, launching in August 2016, provides per-subscription billing, rather than per transaction, providing cost savings and maximizing customer LTV (lifetime value)
Running a business poses unceasing challenges, such as: managing and growing your customer base; ensuring that your employees stay motivated; keeping your suppliers and partners on their toes to support your business; and making sure your shareholders are happy.
Yet, early stage businesses, in addition to all these struggles, must also justify their bare existence; gain the trust of initial customers; and establish a platform for success. This is quite a mission to handle!
Here is some good news for new businesses:
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BillRun provides billing for international roaming, ensuring seamless implementation of intricate calling and data plans for both postpaid and prepaid subscribers.
Roaming abroad billing - as easy as one-two-three
Supporting even the most complex plans, BillRun enables mobile service providers to bill all subscribers who are travelling abroad and using a foreign network for calling or data usage. Examples of such plans may include: A fixed price for a specific date range in selected countries; or: A predefined data package size, defined for use in two specific countries, within certain dates, for a fixed price per day.
In addition to many roaming plans that are often based on a predefined duration abroad, here is an example of an innovative annual plan uniquely supported by BillRun: Free text messages and calls to any number in the home country, plus data usage abroad for a predefined number of days from the beginning of the year; usage exceeding that number of days is charged at normal rates.
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Embraced as a popular software delivery method by a growing number of businesses, SaaS (Software as a Service) has reshaped the entire software industry.
A service delivery model easily adoptable by practically any type of business application, SaaS is typically accessed through a web browser by users who subscribe to a service, and is often based on a centrally-hosted software.
Over the past few decades, several global software enterprise giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and others, following in the footsteps of companies as Salesforce and Workday who are already dominating this market, have shifted their strategies, incorporating SaaS-based cloud products and services in their offerings. This trend has resulted in the emergence of SaaS into an eco-system with a market value expected to reach $33 Billion by the end of 2016, and double within the next decade.
When examining the key drivers that have prompted this significant shift to SaaS-based cloud services, there are several different factors which should be considered..
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BillRun’s online charging system (OCS) is flexible, fast, and easy to manage, enabling operators to process diversified billing rates in real-time both for prepaid and post-paid subscribers, encourage usage, and enhance customer loyalty.
Online charging enhances customer loyalty and increases revenues
BillRun’s online charging - a sophisticated system converging several data networks - identifies real-time calls and tracks data usage , calculating charges automatically according to geographic location, and generating call records visible to subscribers within a few milliseconds. The system immediately identifies whether a subscriber is prepaid or post-paid, and determines, in real time, whether they have exceeded their allocated data volume or calling plan, alerting them accordingly by sending a message.
Carriers can easily block access of prepaid subscribers to certain services, encouraging them to recharge. Alternatively, they may slow down internet connection for post-paid customers; send pre-configured offers to entice users to purchase a larger package; or inform them how much talk time is left in their package.
This can be particularly beneficial, for example, for carriers offering special calling plans during the summer vacation for travel abroad, whereby the system can identify the exact geographic location of mobile users, and seamlessly run complex calculations of calling costs according to local carrier rates in each country.
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BillRun implements billing and CRM systems at Monaco Telecom
Tel Aviv, June 15, 2016. BillRun Technologies Ltd., a Tel Aviv based billing company specializing in open-source and cloud solutions, has completed implementation of an advanced billing system for quad-play communication services at Monaco Telecom (MT). The financial scope of the project is worth several hundreds of thousands of Euros.
BillRun sets sail across the Mediterranean
MT services the Principality of Monaco - a territory of only 2.02 sq km with a population of 40,000 inhabitants, and the world’s most densely populated state. Located on the French Riviera, bordering Italy and Switzerland, Monaco hosts more than 300,000 tourists a year, of which approximately 100,000 are guests at conferences and meetings.
This demographic constraint presents a sizable challenge for MT - the principality's owned telecom company, which has chosen BillRun to implement its new comprehensive billing and customer care solution, following BillRun’s successful deployment of a billing system at Tel Aviv-based Golan Telecom.
Martin Péronnet, CEO of Monaco Telecom, says “We are carrying out a full transformation of our IT, from a legacy multi-vendor complex and CAPEX / OPEX-intensive system with 124 different applications and a lot of dependencies and rigidity - to a full open-source as a simple as possible solution. It is probably one of the first times in the world that an incumbent operator offering a complete B-to-B and B-to-C telecom solution for mobile, fixed, television, voice, data and hosting has accomplished such a transformation. Our purpose, in time, is to master all developments in house, to cut our IT costs by 75%, and to provide an efficient, simple and flexible system to our customers. We have chosen BillRun as our partner because BillRun is one of the best open-source billing systems, and, with the BillRun team, we have been able to deliver almost all the B-to-C in a year and a half. We are confident we will reach full project completion and that the choice of BillRun was the right one.”
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Predictions show that by 2024, 90% of new vehicles sold will be connected-cars – a market which will be worth $40B by 2020, offering boundless opportunities for multiple players in such industries as insurance, content, communication, retail, transportation, advertising and others.
This trend is stimulated by two factors: Consumer demand to safely bring their digital life on the road with them, and the increasing involvement of mobile network operators in the machine-to-machine (M2M) market. Notably, some vehicle manufacturers are already partnering with mobile network operators, not only for connectivity, but for providing miscellaneous services, such as billing, analytics and others.
Health applications aimed at increasing drivers’ safety is one example which can benefit through the use of connected cars, and which is relevant to both drivers and insurers. Real data could be obtained through sensors that monitor vital signs, and automatic alerts which reduce fatigue, which could impact insurance policy terms.
Network security is another example, as more people share personal information on their mobile devices in the cloud, exposing systems and data to threats, and requiring stronger encryption and security services.
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The growing popularity of IPTV and other major content provider services such as Netflix, is prompting more viewers to move to streaming services, resulting in many TV subscribers leaving their cable operators. This trend is greatly increasing internet bandwidth consumption, putting considerable strain on existing network infrastructure, and making it difficult for communication service providers (CSPs) to maintain a rich quality of experience (QoE) for each network user.
Several CSPs have already implemented usage-based bandwidth billing plans through metered pricing. To ensure the success of such a service, it is essential to make subscribers aware of the problem, and highlight the benefits of switching to this new solution. Successful implementation also depends on the ability of CSPs to accurately measure and report per-subscription bandwidth, and easily share that information with customers.
To optimize networks while ensuring fair-access is granted to every user on the network, CSPs are charging heavy network users more than lighter users, and using these revenues to finance infrastructure upgrades that will satisfy QoE for all subscribers.
*This article is an abstract of the following article