Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference: Moving the Discussion from What’s Possible to What’s Working, 15th-17th April 2013, Berlin

Now in its third year, the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference has followed the progress of policy in the industry, in the first year the focus was ‘what is policy’, last year focused on ‘how do you deploy policy’, and this year ‘how do you make / save money with policy’.  This year’s focus is on practical operator experiences in deploying policy.

I’m currently putting the pre-conference workshop together and its clear there are many more case studies available, as well as lots of changes in policy companies and products as the focus shifts from ‘the possible’ to ‘the practical.’  I’ll review the pre-conference workshop once I finishing updating it, hopefully before the conference given all the content being added 🙂

The event has several sessions focused on how network, IT and marketing can be brought together; with policy its as much of a marketing tool / opportunity to make money as it is a technical tool for traffic management.   Hence the conference is split into two tracks on each day which cover both facets of policy: transport policy (looking at the technical aspects / different architecture / DPI) as well the charging policy (business opportunities / innovative data plans / OTT / User experience).

Some of the operator presentations I’m particularly looking forward to are:

  • Rahim Adatia, Director of Mobile and Presentation Platform at Paypal, will present on “Role of Content Providers: What Data Pricing Do They Want?”  I’ve seen too many vendor assumptions made on this topic only to justify why the telco should buy their equipment, rather than talk to the content providers and understand their requirements, business models and willingness to pay.  I’ve done this for a number of clients, its enlightening, and I’ve discussed in previous weblogs.
  • Thorsten Martens, Head of Service Quality at Deutsche Telekom, will present on “Simplifying and Enriching the Mobile Customer Experience.”  Sharing Deutsche Telekom’s experience in improving customer engagement and in particular creating personalized services for improving QoE (Quality of Experience).
  • Imtiaz Ahmed, General Manager Multimedia & Broadband at PTCL, will present on “Limitations Within PCRF: What Are the Alternatives?”  Addressing head-on should the PCRF sit in the network or IT domains?  Sharing their deployment experiences and recommendations given their experience.
  • Ashwin Jaiswal, Head of IT Business Consulting and Practice, Reliance Communications will present on “Merging the Gap Between PCRF and BSS.”  At last year’s conference this was a recurring question, my answer was ‘follow the money,’ that’s what decides above academic architectural arguments.  Ashwin will discuss integration isssues, is real time charging going to side-line BSS and creating a common framework to support multiple vendors.
  • Alex Harmand, Head of Service Platforms at Telefonica, will present on “Next Generation Policy: Moving to New Platforms.” Discussion the challenges of policy with mobile payments, cloud, and security issues.
  • Desmond O’Connor, VP Data Design, Deutsche Telekom will present on “Impact of LTE Deployment: Building New Models with New Policies.”  A current question is the impact of LTE on existing policy deployments, really its a broader question as LTE has encouraged operators to change their approach to data pricing, so its looking the impact of this broader trend on policy control.
  • Tamer Mamdouh, Senior Manager Data Services, Commercial, DU will be presenting on “Real Time Engagement: Avoiding Bill Shock.”  How to present such options to customers, minimize billing platforms, and practical experiences and impact on polcies.

There are also a number of panels that should be fun.

  • I’ll be chairing the operator keynote panel entitled “Is Policy Still Relevant?”  Panelists will include Alex Harmand from Telefonica, Ashwin Jaiwal from Reliance Communications, Cassio Sampaio from Bell Canada, and Rahim Adatia from Paypal.  This will frankly review where policy is / isn’t working, what policy means to web-based service providers, and how to sell and deliver QoS.
  • How can Contextual Intelligence Best be Used?  Panelists will include: Hrvoje Jerkovic, VIPnet and Mark Winther IDC.  This panel will focus on opportunities of being application aware / subscriber aware, I find there is too much focus on advertising.  I discussed many years ago Telcos have to take a different approach, based on the customer pay-space, as we’ve seen successfully implemented with O2 More.
  • Standards Vs Solutions.  Panelists include Ragnar Huslende from the 3GPP, Bernardo Altamirano, Tfrom Telus; and Denuwan Prasanna from Sri Lanka Telecom  Do standards hinder solutions?  How effective will the SY / ST interface be?  I view the telecoms industry as a madman with a hammer when it comes to standards, everything is a nail.
  • How Much is Possible For Policy on WiFi?  Panelists include Cassio Sampaio from Bell Canada; Jonathan Hart from BT; Zakir Syed from SAMENA; and Amdocs.This is an emerging topic with quite complex technology and customer experience / communication issues, we all use WiFi offload today as it can be faster and more importantly ‘free.’

It’s going to be an interesting event with broad operator attendance from around the world.  Different regions have quite different needs from policy, hence the variety of implementations we see.  With a focus on practical experiences I’m hoping to draw from this conference a taxonomy of the deployments linked to the problems / regions / operator situations.