Proof of concept

Catalyst makes it easier to offer sponsored data

Communications service providers (CSPs) have been talking about sponsored data as a potential new revenue stream for over a decade. However, the model of having content owners pay operators so that using the service doesn’t count against a subscriber’s data plan has almost universally failed to gain traction in the marketplace. A major impediment to effective sponsored data propositions is that each sponsor must be enabled individually, which requires specific, non-standard integrations that are time-consuming and costly. A TM Forum Catalyst project is looking to change that.

The Interconnecting business with sponsored data Catalyst is creating a standardized and scalable data fabric called the Sponsored Data Exchange. The project addresses what is expected to be a central capability for many sponsored data services: supporting B2B2C models.

Indirect advantage – supporting B2B2C scenarios

The Sponsored Data Exchange is being built on TM Forum assets, and the Catalyst team successfully demonstrated retail use cases for sponsored data at TM Forum Live 2017. In December at TM Forum Live! Asia, the team addressed B2B2C models, such as shopping malls leveraging sponsored data as a customer experience channel. In this example, the user engagement is illustrated below:

This appears to be a fairly simple interaction but it requires the adoption of the following core capabilities:

  • Digital, instant and self-service on boarding for brands
  • Network slice- and quota-based sponsored data models
  • Location-based sponsored data
  • Real-time and artificial intelligence-driven contextual service
  • Multi-party mixed model settlement

Hiding the complexity

Behind each of these capabilities is the development and combination of new capabilities and existing assets and functions. Catalyst team members contributed the key elements of the system as listed below:

These are central to building the solution but only reflect part of the complexity, as it is only when these are combined that a solution is created. The Catalyst used several TM Forum assets and tools, demonstrating how useful they are individually and how they combine to enable the creation of a much sought-after service capability that fits with the vision of what a future digital service provider will be capable of.

CurateFx was used as the central working too to bring the ideas together, while elements of the Frameworx suite of standards-based tools and best practices were used to map capabilities and flows between system components. Specifically:

  • Business Process Framework (eTOM) was used to map the capabilities needed for the sponsored data exchange platform and helped communicate the requirements for the platform, and the roles and responsibilities of the components.
  • Information Framework (SID) was used to map the information flows between the components. It served as a reference for tracking where information flowed through the Sponsored Data Exchange, participating CSPs and brands
  • Application Framework (TAM) was used to map participant capabilities, providing a common reference language for the participants to work with.

Adding new APIs

The Catalyst also required the creation of new APIs for such capabilities as location-based onboarding. The Geographic Location Management API, a TM Forum Open API, acted as a reference for that implementation, meaning that the team did not have to develop an API from scratch, reducing time and effort.

Through the use of TM Forum tools and development of BSS capabilities by participants specifically for the Sponsored Data Exchange, the team has been able to prove the concept of sponsored data for B2B2C models. The Catalyst demonstration took viewers through the following process that creates the seamless user experience for Mary illustrated above.

Next steps

The aim of this phase in the Catalyst was to prove the concept and participant capabilities and also attract feedback to further improve the B2B2C proposition. The next phase, to be demonstrated at Digital Transformation World in May in Nice, France, will focus on elements of the sponsorship model that can be enhanced to bring enterprises closer to mobile data based engagements with the use of AI and Machine Learning to deliver better visibility to brands and enhanced uptake among sponsored data users.

Watch members of the Catalyst team discuss the project:

If you are interested in participating in this project or would like to learn more about the Catalyst Program, please contact Tania Fernandes via [email protected].

 

 

 



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    About The Author

    Senior Analyst

    Catherine Haslam is an analyst with 20 years’ experience in providing insight, analysis, and consulting services to decision-makers within CSPs. Haslam joined TM Forum in October 2016 from Ovum where she specialized in third party enablement, international service evolution and wholesale strategy, and led successful strategy consulting projects on the impact of OTT on CSP revenues. As a freelance analyst and journalist, Haslam helped develop an entertainment-focused practice at analyst firm STL Partners and set up the Asia arm of the Light Reading news service. Prior to this she worked for the GSMA where she was responsible for setting the agenda for the Mobile World Congress, speech writing for and providing background research to the management team, and advising on technical initiatives. She also held senior editorial roles including Group Editor for Mobile Europe.

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