Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have long been wanting to move past being a dumb pipe into a customer’s home. They’ve taken a hit from VoIP and mobile providers, who have cut into their voice revenues; over the top (OTT) players, who are trying to wrestle away their video and television revenue, and alternative internet providers, who have cut in on their broadband revenues.
Many are looking for new ways to generate new revenue, and finally overcome the dumb pipe mantra that has been bestowed upon them. M2M communications—and more specifically smart metering—could help them bridge the gap. Smart metering, which allows utilities to remotely monitor electricity or gas usage and conditions at a residence or business in real time, has recently cleared significant territorial, regulatory and privacy hurdles to gain significant traction in regions such as the United States, Western Europe and China. CSPs already own the relationship with the customer, so it on paper at least make sense that they partner with utilities to take on the back-end support for smart metering and become the single-source vendor for residential services.
The scenario isn’t unprecedented: NTT DoCoMo latched onto an opportunity to move beyond offering telecom services and become the financial platform of choice for bill payment and outsourcing. The same—in theory—can be done for utilities, with CSPs offering billing as a service capabilities. In the past, utilities used to manage the entire supply chain, from power generation to distribution to selling to billing. Now they likely outsource the billing portion.
However, smart metering is going to put a whole new strain on legacy billing systems. If CSPs want a piece of the action from utilities, they need to embrace making changes in their billing systems and processes to effectively engage with customers at every stage.
CSPs have a real opportunity to be the partner of choice for utilities as they embrace smart meters. Will they overcome the challenges and embrace the model that can help make this a reality?
By: Flavio Gomes, CEO at LogiSense
As posted on: M2MNow The Global IoT News Source
Flavio is leading a team of highly skilled and passionate professionals to deliver on a vision he sees of enabling digital transformation towards the Usage Economy – the dynamic convergence of subscription- and usage-based billing models, allowing digital businesses to monetize in real-time any triggered event to drive revenue, gain intelligence and lever significant competitive advantage.