OSS mediation: Achieving real-time service assurance
In previous blogs in this series, we’ve seen how a mediation platform should provide the central point from which the issue of the Service Assurance function can be confidently addressed.
A closer examination of a particularly relevant Use Case, using Real-Time LTE call trace data in a CEM context, underlines this point. In competitive markets, quality of the service can provide a compelling advantage, meaning subscriber-centric monitoring is particularly important. It can increase perceived QoS and thereby reduce churn. To achieve this, call trace data must be collected from multiple sources in the radio, core and IMS planes and then merged and enriched, says Keith Brody, head of Communications at DigitalRoute.
This encompasses a number of use cases such as:
- Traffic analysis and performance reporting.
- Call trace to Customer Experience Management.
- Normalised data in multi-play networks.
- Notifications to churn management based on, for example, deviation in consumption patterns and key performance indicators.
- Data exposure to CRM, enabling improved customer interaction.
While these are complex challenges, mediation should be uniquely placed to address them. It is inherently designed to acquire and process extreme volumes of data records from an almost infinite number of sources. It has the ability to correlate data from different network segments in real-time.
Mediation applications also have the ability to expose and present data in a way that quickly enables complex queries and drill-down analysis. This goes beyond simple distribution towards holding data (such as that related to KPIs) and exposing it via APIs for other systems to query.
Deployed in this way, mediation can open up new possibilities for the Service Provider to make the best use of its resources and achieve greater performance, while at the same time satisfying its customer’s needs.
It can enable the CSP to:
- Better leverage existing hardware.
- Remove hardware bottlenecks and lower TCO.
- Simplify operations when scaling architectures through automatic data distribution.
- Optimise data streams.
- Gain protection from disruptive changes in the network.
- Ensure the continuous quality of services.
- Hide the complexity of the underlying network.
- Allow new technologies and services to be added with only configuration
- Minimise revenue loss.
The benefits to the CSP who deploys what might be termed ‘Service Assurance Mediation’ Use Cases are significant. Apart from the direct and positive impact on end customers, a common data acquisition and processing layer reduces costs and complexity. It also simplifies data integration and provides advanced pre-processing capabilities, offloading NMS and analytics systems while increasing granularity of information.
This also goes beyond increasing data granularity alone to ensuring that the exposed data is actionable, meaning (with cleaner data to hand) that the CSP can immediately identify value and thus seek to monetise rather than simply store its data, as has often been the case in the past.
I’ve argued that the B/OSS divide has always been ‘false’ in so far as mediation has had the potential to bridge the gap and has in any case sat on the periphery of the network and business worlds. But the challenging new Use Cases that network evolution is throwing up are driving the emergence of a new way of utilising the mediation platform. As a result, the boundaries of the OSS and BSS functions are becoming blurred. For the telco, this represents real progress.
The author of this blog is Keith Brody, head of Communications at DigitalRoute