Close your eyes and imagine: You’ve booked a trip to exotic Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, in India. Now, you need to book a hotel and choose between an authentic modern Indian-style hotel, a local hotel chain or a youth hostel. What would you choose and how would you make your decision?
Self-service and a bed in a shared room? If that’s not to your taste, a hostel might not have the level of service you want, so let’s eliminate it. Both the authentic Indian-style hotel and the local hotel chain offer the same extras: tours to area temples and the holy river Narmada, visits to Teez celebrations, time with local storytellers and sightseeing. How do you differentiate between these seemingly similar services?
Would you prefer a local university student who speaks English, or a tour guide who only speaks a mixture of English and Hindi? Would you choose a small group of 10 in which you can ask questions and meet local people, or a group of 100 harried tourists? The student tour guide brings you to off-the-beaten-path places and tells you the legend of King Sahasrarjun and his 500 wives; the other tour guide shows you high-traffic destinations without providing points of interest.
This situation can be transferred to the current telecommunications market. Like the hotel analogy, the current telecom landscape is marked by fierce competition between communications service providers (CSPs). In addition to dealing with new challenges, customer expectations and technological developments, CSPs need to cope with operational challenges created by developments in M2M, cloud, digital and OTT content, coupled with promotional offers and price wars, which make it easier than ever for a customer to switch carriers. CSPs need to embrace the level of personalization, customization and right-time offerings associated with other industries like hospitality.
In this environment, it’s imperative that CSPs move beyond monitoring quality of service (QoS) and expand that focus to quality of experience (QoE). It’s no longer enough to measure indicators of network health and assurance; competitive players need to gauge whether the customer enjoyed the content as a function of reliable, efficient and secure content delivery.
QoS refers to the ability of the network to provide a service with a specified level of service assurance–network performance, rather than the customer, is the center of this approach. A stable and fast connection is crucial for online service providers to keep customers downloading content. This is where QoE comes in–CSPs need to measure factors like latency and blurriness, then take the next step and analyze how those network factors impact the end user quality of experience.
QoE makes the customer satisfaction the priority and describes how a user perceives a service while in use. QoE takes into account quality indicators like service or network based reliability, availability, scalability, speed, accuracy and efficiency.
To measure QoE, vendors and organizations such as the TeleManagement Forum (TM Forum) link KPIs of the network and services to Key Quality Indicators (KQI), and further link those KQIs to QoE. For instance, TM Forum has defined the following KQIs for IPTV: voice quality, image quality, synchronization of voice and image, delay and response speed. The resulting data matrix is largely informed by customer responses.
Nihan Tuncay, Solution Manager for Etiya International, told RCR Wireless News that QoE-centric solutions drive business value.
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