IBM IOD 2011: IBM launches out-of-the-box network analytics for telcos

The end-to-end appliance enables telcos to analyse diverse data from various sources using a single system

IBM senior vice president, strategy, products & marketing, Prat Moghe with Netezza telco general manager, Chris Smith.

IBM senior vice president, strategy, products & marketing, Prat Moghe with Netezza telco general manager, Chris Smith.

IBM run company, Netezza has launched an out-of-the-box networking analytics appliance for telcos struggling to deal with ‘big data’.

Netezza, acquired by IBM last November, has previously offered network analytics in the telco space but has traditionally offered it as a data warehouse business analytics appliance on top of which software applications were added.

Netezza vice president and general manager of the telco and utilities sector, Chris Smith, said network analytics would enable telco providers dealing with petabytes of data to analyse that data and to track both customer experience and network quality.

“Using network analytics will enable them to understand how the network is being used, where it is running out of capacity and what the experience is like,” Smith said.

“The network knows that’s going on and the network operator can collect that data and if they make use of it, can proactively do things like prevent it occurring by providing more capacity, or on a proactive basis do a campaign, or offer call credit to valued customers.

“We have bundled up that capability and then tightly integrated the software, hardware and storage, not just of the data warehouse but of the network analytics solution.”

The Network Analytics Accelerator can the pull data from seven areas across the operator including voice, data, SMS, MMS, web traffic, cell tower information, and other reference data like price plans.

“The NAA pulls that information into a data model which has been designed such that all that different data from vendor sources is normalised and put into a uniform organisation so you can perform analysis and analytics on it,” Smith said.

Netezza has partnered with both IBM’s Cognos for the business intelligence and visualisation layer, and SPSS for predictive modelling and “heavy” analytics.

According to Smith, the NAAs can be deployed by “dropping it on the floor, plugging in the seven feeds” and then it starts absorbing data, as opposed to previous Netezza platforms which took months to set up.

“Then in a six to eight week period that mass of data is there with pre-built dashboards and reports, rebuilt models to start modelling the data and doing churn analytics out of the box.”

The issue of ‘big data’ for telcos has been significantly driven by proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, Smith said, with users using them to access the Internet, use social media, take photos, stream videos, and play games.

"Developing a deep understanding of the customer, their experience, and their digital lifestyle means telcos can better allocate network resources and create more targeted services,” IBM general manager of global telecommunications Industry, Scott Stainken, said.

“This is both a challenge and opportunity for telcos and those that embrace analytics now will gain a competitive advantage."

Using network analytics will also assist in avoiding customer churn, Smith said, enabling carriers to analyse user patterns and make a multitude of ‘queries’ to delve deeper into the data to establish where the network or the service is falling down.

Smith also pointed out the NAA works in “real-time”, with the ability to analyse data “in minutes” to prevent network disruptions, create marketing programs and increase customer retention.

Chloe Herrick travelled to Las Vegas as a guest of IBM

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Tags customer serviceIBManalyticsTelecommunicationschurnnetwork analytics

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