Putting Policy & SDM to Work

NEW ORLEANS -- Policy Management & the Subscriber-Centric Service Revolution -- Mobile operators' interest in policy and subscriber data management (SDM) is growing, but they still must conquer the complexity of integrating these Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) capabilities with the existing systems that help serve their customers.

Making the most of policy management and SDM to create new subscriber-centric services is one of the key themes of this year's Policy Management event, being held Wednesday, May 9, here in New Orleans in conjunction with the CTIA show.

Jeff Toig, SVP, Muve Music, for Cricket, will keynote the event, sharing Cricket's successful experience of adding music to its mobile service and outlining future plans for more personalization. Paul Donfried, managing director, Identity Solutions, Verizon Enterprise Solutions, will address the use of SDM to enhance security, while Eric Anderson, director of Wireless Engineering, BendBroadband will explain how his firm is using deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to extend its broadband footprint.

Globally, spending on policy management and DPI technology will near US$1.4 billion this year, according to Heavy Reading research. Among mobile operators, the primary use for policy is to better understand subscriber behavior and perform better subscriber profiling, says Graham Finnie, Heavy Reading's chief analyst. Close behind that objective is the use of policy management to improve service quality and reliability.

But mobile operators face a number of obstacles to the effective use of policy management, not least the difficulties surrounding the integration of policy tools with their existing charging and billing systems and subscriber databases. In addition, North American service providers face consumer and regulatory concerns about so-called "net neutrality."

In separate panels on Wednesday, Finnie will discuss: policy enforcement, and what role DPI will have as an enforcer in the future; and how policy management is being used to address congestion issues in the Radio Access Network (RAN).

While previous LR Live! events at CTIA have focused on policy, this year's conference also addresses SDM and analytics, which are becoming increasingly important to network operators, says Heavy Reading analyst Jim Hodges. Thirty-nine percent of operators use SDM today and another 33 percent plan to deploy it in the next 18 months, according to his research.

SDM and analytics are primarily being used to enhance services and create more personalization in order to differentiate service offers, Hodges says. Support for cloud services and M2M applications are two other potential uses.

But as with policy management, SDM and analytics deployment faces challenges, primarily in making the business case to justify the expense of implementation.

Hodges will be moderating a panel on linking policy with SDM, as well as a separate panel on addressing the privacy issues sometimes raised in the policy and SDM arenas.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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