Monetizing the Internet of Things. The Need for Agile Billing
As technology evolves at an increasingly rapid rate, fueled by advances in networks and connectivity, a global trend is emerging that is causing major disruption in almost every industry: smart devices that connect to the internet. This Internet of Things (IOT, as it’s being called) affects both B2B and B2C service models, and is becoming a daily part of almost every person’s life globally.
It’s becoming clear that enormous opportunities are awakening to capitalize off of this growing trend facilitated by service management and billing systems capable and flexible enough to manage and bill for the new and somewhat undefined, IOT frontier.
IOT represents a major opportunity for companies that are agile enough to leverage this growing trend. One critical factor in supporting this global phenomenon is billing.
IOT has created opportunities to develop unique monetization models that require extreme flexibility and agility in order to fully leverage them. We will explore two examples where IOT and the cloud have transformed not only the “Monetization of Things” but also the enhanced and automated management of new products and services made possible by Internet-enabled devices.
IOT Enables Green Intercity Transportation
As an alternative, global public transportation provider, this company has bicycle rental kiosks in eight countries across the globe – all utilizing IOT technology to manage inventory, monitor service and directly bill customers.
Each bike has a unique identifier and is equipped with censors that transmit status notifications and geo-data. This makes it possible for the company to know when the bike has been accessed; when it’s parked or active; and track the bike’s location and ride duration. The information is transmitted instantly to a centralized cloud billing and customer management system to track the customer’s billing, credits, entitlements and charges in real-time based directly on live consumer product usage. This information is also leveraged to report on route information so the company can make decisions about enhanced service offerings for things like discounts and incentives for lower utilized routes.
Each intelligent kiosk integrates with BillingPlatform over REST web-services to process payments and manage entitlements. Metrics like consumption, availability, and customer eligibility are accessed in real-time with the swipe of a card. Intelligent kiosks check whether the patron has sufficient funds or credits and also accesses his/her rental history and behavior to avoid potential theft or damage to the equipment. If the user is approved, the bike is released for use and the service is tracked against the user’s account.
By centralizing all management and communication into a single cloud system, BillingPlatform has replaced numerous, specific billing and information systems. The system consolidates multi-lingual, multi-currency and multi-time-zone service management, with the ability to support Up-sell, Cross-sell, and time-based discounts, for specific, recurring subscriber accounts. All service and customer data can then be easily reported on and managed in one application across multiple geographies. BillingPlatform provides the flexibility to accommodate region-specific rules for things like payment gateway utilization, language, pricing and currency - substantially lowering the cost of maintenance; automating customer service and entitlements; and ultimately increasing business agility.
IOT Enables In-Flight Entertainment
A provider of live, in-flight entertainment and connectivity for commercial and private aircrafts, uses BillingPlatform and the IOT to monetize broadband satellite device usage and network traffic while managing a highly mobile equipment inventory in real time.
With highly flexible, built-in mediation and usage collection capabilities, BillingPlatform can rate and invoice multiple dimensions of service data from proprietary and specific, satellite usage feeds. The configurable data model and application interface allows the provider to track and report their usage data as well as manage discrete details about each customer’s Iridium satellite devices in flight as well as when these devices move from plane to plane or owner to owner. All IOT device data can then be reported on to produce a 360-degree view of all of their products, their physical location, and utilization.
The company now has a complete end-to-end monetization and device management solution that dramatically increases business agility while enhancing and streamlining the management and tracking of expensive, mobile satellite devices.
These examples demonstrate how IOT can transform the way companies manage and monetize their products and services to drive new and innovative business opportunities. But this capability requires a new breed of monetization platforms that are highly agile and flexible both in their ability to integrate and meter a diverse and evolving dimension of service usage, as well as their ability to quickly model new business processes, products and charging models end-to-end.
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