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Dec 19 2017

Analytics and getting ahead of the OTT curve

You may remember when over-the-top (OTT) applications first hit the scene in the early 2000s. In the telecom industry, there was a lot of hand-wringing as communication service providers (CSPs) worried about whether this was going to hurt their business. Almost two decades later, OTT players and CSPs have reached a kind of uneasy truce. OTT apps generate tremendous amounts of data usage, and CSPs have profited providing ever-increasing bandwidth. But recent outages with OTT apps, such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Netflix, have highlighted the downside for CSPs — customers blame them for the outages.

There have been a number of high profile OTT outages, where frustrated users have flooded their local CSPs with angry support calls and gone online, using social media, to complain. The service provider is often not even aware of the service outage and so can give very little satisfaction to their customers, who often end the support calls thinking the provider is incompetent. The negative exposure on social media is not good news for their brand or customer loyalty. Some customers are so upset they immediately churn, thinking their CSP is to blame.

There are two key issues to solve in this situation, and the first is for the service provider to be aware of the outage. Even though it’s not their service, many customers are going to assume that they are responsible – so they need to know that it is happening. The second issue is communications. If they know there’s an outage going on, they can communicate to affected customers making it clear where the fault lies. If they can get ahead of the curve with proactive communications, even better.

At Nokia we can’t help our CSP customers be better communicators with their customers – but we can help them with the first problem: awareness. Using our Cognitive Analytics suite, it is possible to be made immediately aware of these kinds of OTT outages, so that proactive heads-up communications can be leveraged.

We recently had a successful situation with two of our CSP customers when WhatsApp went down on 3 November. The outage affected users in a number of countries in Asia, Europe and South America. Within a couple of minutes of the outage occurring, our analytics solution was showing alarms. It successfully recognized the outage and identified that it was WhatsApp. The internet and social media did not catch up for close to one hour. Our customers had 55 minutes to get ahead of the curve.

The first thing they did was to alert customer care that it was a problem with WhatsApp servers, not the network, so that customers calling in could be informed. The second thing was to share the information on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

During the post-event analysis with our customers, one of them reported having to dedicate a large team of people to figure out whether the problem was with the OTT service or with their network. It took hours. With Nokia Cognitive Analytics suite, it is an automatic alarm that identifies when active WhatsApp users go below a threshold. The alarm indicates location, service quality (QoE), speed of server response and other KPIs. The analytics are so precise that customer care can directly contact those subscribers with the lowest satisfaction.

As well as saving significant support team effort, our customers benefitted from their proactive communications as Facebook took the heat for the outage.

For more customer case learning and a handy overview – download this infographic.

Learn more about Nokia Cognitive Analytics suite and what it can do for your business

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – or join the Twitter discussion with @nokianetworks using #Analytics #CEM #CSPCX

About Shelley Schlueter

With 19 years of IT and telecommunications experience, Shelley has a wide ranging background from her current role of marketing Customer Experience Management to engineering as well as programming and training. In her spare time she enjoys her yoga practice, participating in family 5k runs and camping with her husband and daughter.