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104 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 TECHNOLOGY Using Network Data To Improve Services By analyzing network traffic, network operators can transform themselves into subscriber-centered businesses. By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities I n the process of transmitting data, broadband networks produce vast quantities of it – including information about the traffic that subscribers generate, the devices and applications they use, and their experiences. When subscribers think about this information, their first concern is to keep it secure and private; for that reason, the FCC recently issued new rules limiting its use. However, network information also has uses that do not invade privacy and even improve subscriber experiences. e FCC rules explicitly allow network operators to use data about customers to help provide services and to perform "research to improve or protect the network or telecommunications." is, of course, requires software (usually cloud-based) that can analyze large databases in real time and spot significant trends. Increasingly, operators recognize that data about their networks is a strategic asset they can use to provide services more efficiently and effectively. "We see cloud applications as a key element to our future success as we rapidly expand our service offering," says Candy Riem, vice president of marketing and member services at Midwest Energy Cooperative, an FTTH operator in Michigan that uses Calix Compass cloud services for network data analytics. "Compass cloud services have already made a major impact in our operations effectiveness, as our technicians use combinations of these applications in the field to more quickly provision, activate and troubleshoot services." Riem explains that installers in the field use Consumer Connect Plus, a Compass module, to gain visibility into the surrounding network. Installers can check quickly for interference from nearby devices and then reposition an optical network terminal (ONT) or change Wi-Fi frequencies to minimize that interference. Consumer Connect Plus is also useful to Midwest Energy's tech support team because it allows them remotely view and troubleshoot in- home devices using the TR-069 protocol. UPSELLING CUSTOMERS Tech support staff at Midwest Energy do more than troubleshoot faulty devices when customers call. ey also use Flow Analyze Plus, another Compass module, to view patterns of network usage in callers' homes. Riem says, "is helps us determine whether there's an issue at the home or whether they're just hitting their thresholds. [An apparent slowdown] could be either a tech support issue or an upsell opportunity." e marketing staff uses Flow Analyze Plus proactively – before subscribers even notice a slowdown or call to complain – to identify opportunities for upselling. "Say they have several devices streaming video or gaming, so the tier they're in isn't meeting their needs,"