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Driving Profitability in the Connected Economy: How Real-Time B2B2X Billing Enables the IoT Marketplace
Before the days of talking toothbrushes, before cars provided access to the Internet, and before “booking a room” meant asking strangers to rent you part of their home, communication service providers (CSPs) sold just network services—mobile voice, data and text messaging, along with fixed-line voice and Web access. What made CSP services appealing was the single source of supply and usage-based measures for calculating a bill. Minutes of use for voice, mobile text messages sent, or data access volumes, counted against a pre-paid or subscribed level of spend.
As recently as four years ago, usage-based billing was the primary means CSPs used to charge for all communication service bundles. Usage-based billing is still the prevailing way in which network-based services are charged, although more complex models are now coming into play. For the rest of the world’s industries, from manufacturing to financial services and from government to agriculture, a subscription billing model is the dominant means for monetizing digital services today.
Real-time usage-based billing is a new concept for most industries. However, today’s connected economy is about real time. Real-time access to any type of data service, real-time access to mobile apps, real-time interaction with different “devices and things,” and real-time delivery of all forms of content—video streaming, surfing the Web, and on-line gaming, for example. CSPs engage with real-time monetization tools that take advantage of network usage measurements, to offer bundled service packages that now involve network and partner-provided interaction. Real-time purposebuilt analytical tools help CSPs understand customer usage behavior; the results of which can be aligned to trigger new service offerings in real time when usage conditions dictate.
Real-time, policy-enabled rating & charging, combined with self-service customer care, are the key components that make real-time CSP service offerings a business reality. For all other industries that incorporate communications services into the goods (and services) they provide, real-time monetization means real-time accountability of the revenue flow between customers and partners. Within today’s increasingly complex B2B2X ecosystem of providers, customers, and partners, realtime monetization enables business opportunities not previously possible.
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