You Need to Know about These Innovative Telecom Solutions

Telecom network operators have always relied on technology but have often taken a conservative approach, valuing stability from established systems above improvements through innovation. Faced with a rising tide of user expectations from the flood of OTT services, MNOs have now shifted their priority to streamlining their operations, improving the customer experience with real-time, agile telecom solutions.

To stay competitive, network owners and not only, will look beyond their traditional technology suppliers and seek out innovation.

Here are some innovative telecom solutions and technologies you need to be aware of:

SDN Solutions

SDN (software-defined networking) is a new architecture for data networks in which the emphasis is shifted from hardware to software. Being able to control networks through software allows for the streamlining of many IT tasks. Speed and automation are thus relevant for the development of IoT and cloud networks.

According to CM Research, SDN technology is disruptive, because the network can be controlled by more players than ever before.

A closer look at SDN solutions reveals that there are open source as well as commercial solutions available on the market. NOX, POX, OpenDaylight are free, while Big Data Fabric, Virtual Application Network, and Contrail can be purchased.

5G networks

The emergence of 5G (fifth generation mobile networks) is around the corner. 5G will provide faster speeds, greater coverage, as well as less latency in comparison with 4G networks. This is essential for the connected things of the future, such as VR, holograms, driverless cars, or drones.

Even though the industry consensus holds that 5G technologies will become publicly available by 2020, companies such as Verizon and Ericsson have announced that field trials will be run in 2016.

SK Telecom (the first to roll out 4G) has completed a successful 5G system field test this April. Park Jin-hyo, who is the senior vice president and head of SK Telecom’s network tech, said that the company plans to lead the development of 5G technologies and services and be the first one to commercialize it.

Huawei is not far behind. This May they have completed the first phase of key 5G technology tests as a part of field trials.

Solutions for smart cities

New opportunities for growth can be found in the development of solutions for smart cities. There is a municipal demand to operate cities more effectively by implementing platforms that allow to manage and monitor city lighting or video surveillance systems.

Citizens wish to have technologies that make their lives easier at their fingertips. As consumers, they inspire companies to create innovative telecom solutions that, for example, allow payment for parking or public transportation using one’s smartphone.

A UK based company offers an app that lets its users pay for the parking and it also allows to extend the parking duration remotely.

An innovative telecom solution allows commuters in Singapore to pay for the bus and train tickets with their phone. The technology enables data transmission between a mobile device and a contactless card reader.

To enjoy the service, customers have to purchase NFC (Near Field Communication) SIM cards and turn on their devices’ NFC function to make payments or top-ups.

This telecom solution allows to get rid of both cash and travel cards when paying for the transportation.

Mobile Money telecom solutions

GMCS (Global Mobile Consumer Survey) has demonstrated that from 2014 to 2015 mPayment (mobile payment) technology has increased in 4 times. eMarketer estimated that the total value of mobile payment transactions will grow 210% in the US in 2016. This happens thanks to the support from customers, governments and central banks.

Mobile money telecom solutions can be used by operators for a range of mobile money services, such as money transfers, international remittances and mobile payments.  Business of all types, from coffee shops to digital stores are implementing point-of-sale systems that allow customers to pay using mobile devices, therefore it is anticipated that the mPayment method will soon be adopted by many users around the world.

Innovative telecom solutions are going to predetermine the direction of the development of the entire industry. Companies that invest in the capabilities, technologies and relationships to foster changes now, will have an advantage for many years to come.

6 Reasons to Get a VoIP Solution in Your Office

Voice Over IP (VoIP) solutions deliver your calls using your broadband internet connection. These can improve communication efforts and cut costs, but you need to be careful while choosing the right solution for your business needs.

There is a range of products on the market, but not all of them were designed for business use and can fall short of addressing your needs, security concerns, and requirements. Existing calling apps can have limited functionalities. For example, some applications can make calls only to others who use the same app. When choosing a VoIP solution, you need to make sure that it lets you make calls across platforms, and to any landline or mobile phone number. Keeping this in mind, there is always the option to approach a custom VoIP solutions developer and see if a product can be customized or designed from scratch to your specifications. We’ve looked at the benefits of an SMS Gateway before, but today let’s take a look at what a custom VoIP solution can do for you.

Six Advantages of Getting a Custom VoIP Solution for Your Office:

  • Save money
    It is a well-known fact that VoIP systems are more affordable than services provided by traditional phone companies, especially if your business requires making phone calls to different destinations across the world. With a VoIP solution you will no longer have to maintain separate networks for phone and data, which is another advantage.
  • Enjoy phone number portability
    Legacy telephone systems assigned a phone number with a dedicated line. VoIP solutions provide number mobility: you can use the same number almost everywhere as long as your device is connected to the internet. Many executives use the same phone numbers regardless of their location, which is very handy.
  • Get voicemail transcriptions
    Voicemail transcription is a service that sends you an email with the text version of the voice message you got on your extension. It can be viewed from any device, and contains the contact information of the person who called, which can be useful.
  • Do not disturb
    You can turn on the feature to temporarily stop incoming calls to your phone and redirect them to a different extension. This is useful when you need to focus on other tasks that require your undivided attention or when you are in an important meeting.
  • Scalability and adaptability
    A VoIP solution will let you add a new line when a new employee comes in, and delete or reassign it whenever necessary. Thus you will always have the appropriate amount of lines for your needs and won’t need to pay extra for lines you don’t use.
  • Let your customers listen to your corporate anthem
    Sometimes you need to put the call on hold and then this feature becomes a necessity. Do not subject your callers to elevator music or silence. This feature will allow you to choose what your callers listen to while they wait. It will definitely help you create or enhance your brand awareness.

VoIP solutions are flexible and affordable. With custom features, they will help you increase productivity, and provide more convenience for your customers. Contact us and let’s see if we might be able to help identify a solution to your needs.

PS: Don’t forget about security.
VoIP’s popularity is attracting the attention of cyber criminals, and business owners are concerned that someone may digitally intercept VoIP calls or bring down a company’s VoIP system using denial-of-service attacks. Make sure your network security is thorough and up to date.

OTT Services – Friends or Foes?

Over The Top (OTT) services allow us to send messages, make calls, or stream video over data networks (Skype, Viber, or Whatsapp are relevant examples of such services). Their popularity is a call to action for mobile operators who are suffering from revenue losses.

OTT services have become extremely widespread thanks to lower costs, overall positive user experience (even though sometimes a VoIP connection is far from perfect) and platform independence. According to Statistia, Viber had 711 million users in December of 2015. Whatsapp had reached 1 billion users by February of 2016, and 300 million people used Skype in 2015. No wonder major MNOs are trying to introduce regulations and keep up with the competition.

Even though many studies have shown that restrictions on OTT services are bad for business, back in 2012 AT&T had offered FaceTime only as an added benefit of their data plans in the US. If the customer did not have the data bundle, they could use FaceTime solely over Wi-Fi.

South Africa is another country which is now considering imposing restrictions that would slow down innovation in this field. The two largest South African MNOs have called for regulations for OTT providers such as Skype and Whatsapp. Cell C, the third largest MNO from that country, has chosen to collaborate with OTT operators instead, and is now offering free access to social network services and a range of other websites.

Not so long ago European operators such as Orange and Deutsche Telecom have called for a fair regulatory environment for all services. They pointed that the increased competition from services similar to Viber is a reason for easing up the regulatory burden on operators. The decision regarding the reform will be taken by the European Commission later this year.

According to research conducted by Technotree, mobile operators predict an increase of data usage among subscribers. In order to benefit from this, MNOs need to make sure that data remains in their network, therefore they need to introduce new services. Thus, far-sighted MNOs are either establishing partnerships with OTT providers or are launching their own OTT services.

Over in The UAE, Etisalat launched its own eLife on app, allowing customers to watch more than 200 TV channels, movies and series on the go. The Spanish Telefonica launched a Tu Go app in the O2 UK network. The application allows customers to make calls from one’s desktop and be charged by O2 on the same bill as the cell subscription. This elegantly solves the problem of having too many invoices for using communication services.

Nevertheless, the approach of creating OTT services in-house has some disadvantages. Here are some of them:

  • Usually the apps are available only for existing subscribers, thus it creates no opportunities for acquiring new customers. In other words, to increase the amount of users operators have to work on increasing their subscriber base.
  • Considering the bureaucracy within MNOs,it takes  longer to develop, design, launch and market the product
  • It is virtually impossible to convince a Viber user to switch to a new application with the same functionality.

The second option is to start partnerships with OTT providers which is a far-reaching strategy. MNOs can benefit from collaboration by using OTT brands to sell more data bundles, charging for subscriptions or advertising their services and initiatives.

OTT providers don’t own any infrastructure. Operators have invested heavily in building the infrastructure and they own one of the most valuable assets – customers’ mobile phone numbers, which are needed for seamless communication between the telecom network and the internet. In other words, OTT providers and telecoms both have a lot to gain from a productive collaboration.

Operators must be responsive and adaptable to market changes in order to keep creating value. Partnering with a small and agile tech startup could be the perfect boost for any MNO or MVNO that is looking for a fresh take on offering their clients a valuable OTT service.

How to Use Mobile Banking Apps Securely?

While the amount of people who are using secure mobile banking apps increases every year, customers of online banking set themselves up for security threats, frauds, and other forms of cybercrime when using their smartphone.
According to a 2014 Deloitte report cited by Tripwire, 61% of people who do not use mobile banking apps said that security is their primary concern. So how big are the chances that someone can break into your bank account really?

In 2014 a malware called Svpeng has been detected in the U.S., the U.K, Switzerland, Germany, Russia and India. In the States the malware blocked the user’s phone and asked for $200 to unlock the smartphone. Once Svpeng got into the phone it began to look for applications from a range of financial institutions. The Trojan did not steal money or credentials, but rather it looked as if it was gathering statistics on mobile banking apps usage.

In Australia and New Zealand, a malware called Android/Spy.Agent.SI has been detected on Android devices this year. This time, the malicious software was able to steal a person’s bank details and even knew how to bypass 2-step authentication procedures. With all information in hand, fraudsters could easily transfer funds to a different account. Most importantly, the malware had not come from Google Play. The user would have had to deliberately install the application from other sources online, which means that security options had been changed by the phone owner so that applications from unknown sources could be installed. The takeaway: Don’t root your device and then install banking apps on it!

It is useful to know that iOS or Android smartphones don’t allow users to make admin-level modifications natively. Additionally, a verified market is available for downloading applications such as the App Store or Google Play. Mobile banking apps should also be secured by SSL security technology . Many large companies put their applications through source code obfuscation. This means that it will be more difficult for an intruder to figure out the source code.

Even though a lot of security features are currently in place in many apps, mobile banking applications still have security challenges that must be tackled. Security is one of the main concerns for financial institutions. People who wish to use mobile banking also need to keep security in mind. Finally, here are some useful security tips:

1. Don’t use mobile banking apps on a rooted or jailbroken device
2. Don’t download apps that did not undergo a vetting process (by either the App Store or Google Play)
3. Use secure Wi-Fi connections whenever possible
4. Put a password on your smartphone.

By following these recommendations, you will minimize security risks and diminish the odds of falling prey to cybercrime.

A SMS Gateway that Gets Your Business Going

The average smartphone user might think that SMS communication is either outdated or dead. It may seem that way taking into account the plethora of apps that bombard us with notifications, messages, updates on a daily basis. But this is not the case when it comes to communication between businesses and customers. SMS has proven to be the most effective and most resilient tool for B2C and B2B marketing. In fact, customers are much more likely to read a text message than an update from an app. One major reason is that it is really hard to ignore a SMS message as it comes straight on your screen (as opposed to becoming a ubiquitous notification in the corner of an app). Keeping this in mind, a SMS gateway platform is a solution that allows one to send thousands of messages per second to your customer base.

A SMS gateway platform is suitable for a range of operational tasks and it will help your business stand above the crowd. A couple of advantages of a SMS gateway:

  • A SMS gateway can be used for advertisement campaigns, reminders, updates, verification procedures.
  • Mobile originated SMS are used for subscriber responses to advertising, radio/tv broadcasts, contests, confirmations.
  • You can schedule SMS campaigns to be sent during the time that will drive more engagement.
  • You can personalize messages so that they look more relevant to the recipient.

Marketing your services and products with the help of a SMS gateway platform is going to bring your communication with customers to a more personal level. Also it is going to show you real-time results, because the platform will give you the opportunity to analyze:

  • How many people received your message;
  • How many subscribers responded to your campaign;
  • What the responses were;
  • What kind of campaigns work best and what sort of campaigns don’t work that well;
  • How many recipients unsubscribed; among others.

SMS marketing can help create engaging campaigns, reinitiate relationships with old customers, and drive traffic to your website and social media pages.

A SMS gateway platform can be easily integrated with your marketing and notification activities. It offers you the possibility to get your message across in a world where customer’s attention span has drastically decreased. If you are not using SMS to reach your customers, you are losing a simple and effective tool to increase sales and your brand’s exposure. Contact us today to discuss our SMS Gateway and solution for your business.

Moving Forward,
DAS Solutions Team.

Did You Know about These Five Fintech Trends?

Keeping up with fintech trends may be uneasy for companies, however this can be crucial for business development and clients’ loyalty. Here are five trendy fintech trends you should know about.

  1. UX (User Experience)

Of all the fintech trends out there, User Experience has become a competitive necessity. Customers should enjoy both personalized financial offerings and attractive user interface. Therefore, financial firms tend to fulfill business needs by combining user-centered design with that meaningful experience for customers.

  1. Omnichannel experience

Customers can use services through different channels (ATM, mobile apps, desktop apps, web services, call centers, etc.) which empowers them to use the right tools in the right circumstances. This fintech trend helps understand customers’ activities on different platforms, analyze them, and improve the overall UX.

  1. Mobile payments

Mobile payment processing systems are a fintech trend that will become more popular in the coming years. Many big companies have introduced applications into the market that allow one to transfer money and even pay without reaching out for your wallet. These apps came in as a response to the need for fast transactions. The reality is, if banks cannot provide their clients a certain service, then software development companies will.

  1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin offer many benefits such as lower costs, increased privacy, and extremely fast transactions. The idea of sending money almost anywhere at a low price is compelling, however there are big and established competitors in this area that are hard to pass over. Bitcoins are facing adoption problems because people don’t tend to break their habits easily so no one pays for their dinner in cryptocurrencies – at least not yet. But the benefits provided by bitcoin should be evaluated, and fintech companies are quickly working to find ways in which these can be brought into the mainstream.

  1. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding platforms became a popular fintech trend a long time ago. They help people bring their ideas to life. Traditionally, these platforms have been used by start-ups, but recently Sony organized a successful crowdfunding campaign, and it is currently raising funds from the public for a second time to launch a product. Of course there are other platforms that enable large transactions, offer payment processing, escrow accounts, etc. The big difference is that companies are now targeting crowd funded equity and debt issuance. The crowd funded platform allows to accelerate a company’s growth by leveraging its easy to use tools.

If financial institutions do not keep up with the newest technology, they risk becoming uncompetitive. A deep knowledge of fintech trends and the adoption of innovative technology will provide new opportunities to drive revenue and expand product portfolios, especially in the medium and long term.