Monday, 13 April 2009

BSS Summit 2009 - Amsterdam

In June I'm speaking at IIR's BSS Summit 2009 in Amsterdam. For me the principle attraction of IIR billing events is the opportunity to discuss the future of billing and payments and look at some of the trends in the market. These events always attract people who share this interest and it's good to catch up with some of the 'usual suspects' as well as meet many new faces.

This year I'll be sharing my ideas on the opportunity for telcos to extract more value from the billing relationship with their customers and looking at the unique opportunities that telcos have via their customer billing accounts. The current economic challenges make it more imperative than ever that telcos maximise the benefits of the relationships they have with their huge customer bases; and increase the value of those relationships to their customers.

Some background on the event from IIR:
IIR’s BSS Summit 2009 will mark the 16th anniversary of the flagship event in our Telecoms Billing, Customer Care and Revenue Management portfolio. Previously known as BIMS and Billing Systems, the event has earned its credentials as the essential meeting place for billing and IT professionals in the EMEA region.
The event delivers a comprehensive conference with an Operator-only speaker panel, interactive masterclass and discussion sessions, networking events and the leading exhibition of BSS suppliers. Attendees will benefit from a full update on how to effectively develop billing, IT, customer care and revenue management strategies and how it should evolve in the future.
The aim of the event is to discuss and define best practice and share experiences of achieving innovation in billing and BSS.
In addition to pre and post conference seminars and tutorials, the main conference will examine issues across the following topic streams:
· Driving Efficiency And Best Practice In Billing
· Strategy and Transformation In Billing And BSS
· Revenue Assurance and Collections Strategies
· BSS Strategies for Convergence
· CRM and Customer Experience
· New Business Models /  Mobile Broadband
· Real Time Charging
· Business Process Management
· Business Intelligence
The event will be held 8-11 June, Hotel Okura, Amsterdam. 

Monday, 6 April 2009

Using .tel in the real world

I've been using my .tel address for a few weeks now and have found it a great way to share my contact details. Before looking at the ways I've found .tel useful, just a reminder about what .tel is. A .tel address is a location where you store your personal or corporate contact data in a format that's easily accessible from any Internet enabled device. This data can also be accessed via applications to remove th need to even visit the .tel page. .tel data is stored in the web's DNS which means it doesn't require web hosting, isn't HTML heavy and can be updated and accessed instantly.

Today most of us have many contact methods and .tel is the ideal way to bring these together in one place. My .tel address means that my contact info is always up to date and available. No more second guessing the most appropriate contact data to give people. No more decisions about what to put on a business card. I've just had some Moo cards printed that just have my .tel address on them; lets people decide how to contact me. If I want to restrict contact methods at any point in time I can just hide them. Some of my contact data is hidden and only available to people who request it, although I've tried not to do this with too much data because it's less user friendly. Access via a mobile device is great because you just click on the number to call or SMS it. No need to re-key and you know it's a current number.

I believe we have only just started to scratch the surface here. As an example, .tel addresses use a common data structure, so in the future it will be possible to just enter someone's .tel address into your handset and call or email them without even knowing their number or email address! A .tel will become a universal contact method whether you're emailing, calling, instant messaging or using a social networking application.

If you want to register your own .tel address have a look at

You can find me at

Friday, 3 April 2009

Bill shock and why the mobile operators need to be proactive

We often read about people who have experienced bill shock issues when they open their mobile bill and discover huge, unexpected charges, often from using data services when roaming. 

Currently the issue of unexpected charges is something that is generally very poorly handled by the mobile operators - I have first hand experience of children running up substantial bills because there were no warnings or alerts about expenditure. Where are the hooks that pick up unusual spending patterns? It's no good expecting customers to dig around your website looking for unbilled usage data - you need to push the information out to customers so that they remain in control. When a customer starts using data when roaming, warn them by SMS of the consequences, when usage hits a 'dangerous level' temporarily suspend usage until they confirm it's okay. When a customer approaches their call or text bundle limit, warn them they will start incurring extra charges. Help customers to help themselves. 

And don't do what one of the big UK mobile operators does, not make unbilled data available to customers until after the customer has received the first bill - by then it might be too late!

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