Usage rating subscription billing has been a great fit for the Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) marketplace for some time now. The explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT) has created even more opportunities for this type of billing, but also drives complexities and challenges.

LogiSense Corporation, a company that specializes in software for agile usage rating subscription billing, is ready to meet those challenges as it expands into the realm of IoT and M2M communications. CEO and Founder Flavio Gomes met with Erik Linask, group editorial director of IoTevolutionworld, at the recent ITEXPO Florida to discuss what LogiSense has been up to and where the company is going.

“There’s this new movement that’s happening within our markets and that we’ve kind of termed the usage economy,” said Gomes. “Consumers and end users are tired of paying for very rigid billing subscription models.”

LogiSense addresses this demand by placing usage rating at the core of its complex subscription billing platform. The end goal is to create a balance between providers of digitized services and consumers by offering a personalized pricing model that considers the monetization priorities of service providers.

Usage rating is largely accomplished through mediation, the practice of gathering usage records and massaging that data and information to make it billable in a useful manner. Gomes said the B2B environment inherent in UCaaS and IoT services also creates additional complexities when it comes to pooling, bundling and discounting certain services.

“What we’re finding now, in the IoT marketplace, is that they’re experiencing some of the same challenges (as UCaaS),” said Gomes. “Extremely granular, personalized pricing models are key to the success of IoT services, and yet many billing platforms simply can’t handle this usage-based model.” He added that, “IoT is a nascent marketplace comprised of microtransactions and micropayments that may each represent fairly low value. When pooled together, however, they become compelling”.

The LogiSense platform pulls usage information in real-time from all types of back-office applications, based on any type of triggered event. The result is an accurate and precise monetization solution designed to prevent revenue leaks and enable extreme agility and flexibility.

Gomes said the company is looking at predictive analytics and business intelligence as it moves forward, based on the massive amounts of data being collected from usage-based processes. In January, LogiSense announced that its EngageIP Usage Rating and Billing Platform had been chosen by Numerex Corp (NASDAQ:NMRX) for its hosted IoT vertical solutions as well as Ingenu to tackle the challenges of metering, monitoring and measuring its new and evolving technologies.

Article originally published on IoT Evolution World.
By: Laura Stotler

social business connection technology conceptModern businesses, of all sizes, are facing unprecedented need for making decisions regarding their enterprise communications and the required solutions. These decisions not only impact their overall immediate success but put forth their intentions for the highly connected, smart business models of the future. Integrated enterprise communication tools and omniscient mobility are both high on the demands list for service providers and enterprises alike.

In order to remain competitive and improve business productivity, today’s growing businesses require highly scalable Unified Communications solutions capable of efficient cross-enterprise collaboration, ease of use and fast go-to-market. Powerful Unified Communications (UCaaS) reside in the Cloud and boast flexibility matched by compelling pricing models.

Is UC in the Cloud Right for You?

BroadSoft, LogiSense’s long-time partner, announced their findings1 from a survey of 129 global telecom service providers and industry leaders. Notably predicted is increased Cloud Unified Communications market penetration and a shift away from traditional on-premise systems across all market segments. The survey expects, by 2020, the Cloud UC market penetration to grow 3x in the large enterprise segment, 7x in the midmarket segment, and nearly 5x in the small business segment.

UCaaS complements any small, medium, or large business with the goal of breaking down barriers between people using different modes of communication, different media, and different devices in order to communicate to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Out of the box agility and fast time to market in the cloud environment are the key differentiators from an on-premise UC. UCaaS quickly and efficiently addresses today’s need for increased mobility and the instance of remote workers while sub sequentially lowering costs.

Full Automation Eases Back Office Complexities

The high flexibility of adapting to UCaaS ensures the long-term benefits of your business communications.  Enlisting with an automated, usage-based cloud solution that works in real-time enables customers to pay for their desired services when they want them. Usage rating accuracy ensures margins and structured business models provide the necessary monetization capabilities to ensure ROI on your network.

Converting back-office complexities into back-office simplicities is the first step into modernizing today for the new business environment of tomorrow.

Secure and Private

Fears surrounding the security and privacy of cloud-based anything are not unfounded- however, the cloud revolution is on the cusp of becoming a secure data mine.

Until recently, an issue of significant concern from a BSS standpoint was protecting subscriber bank accounts and credit card information.   LogiSense was one of the first to integrate secure measures that reduce the burden of PCI compliance by replacing payment information across the wire with a token based approach – with this approach, cardholder information is not physically stored on the platform and is instead replaced with an opaque token.   Furthermore all cloud-based data and software are hosted in a private cloud, behind a firewall.  This data is protected by access controls and can only be accessed via secure VPN tunnels.  These measures have gone a long way in terms of alleviating many of the underlying security concerns.

The New UCaaS

The presence of cloud services will only continue to increase as the telco and Enterprise world adapts even further into highly connected entities of the future.  Mobility, the cloud and Unified Communications go hand in hand as well; 42% of BroadSoft’s respondents believe more than half of UC interactions for businesses will occur via mobile devices by 2020, and a third of small businesses will opt for mobile-only UCaaS solutions, thus eliminating desk phones all together.

The market is changing and evolving into more complex yet more productive systems. Choosing to adapt to UCaaS is a solid step to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your systems today in preparation for tomorrow.




IoT Smart Metering

According to new research from IDC, the worldwide Internet of Things (IoT) market will grow from US$655.8 billion in 2014 to US$1.7 trillion in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9%.

As the Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and IoT markets continue this upward trajectory, one market with potential for strong growth is smart metering, which allows utilities to remotely monitor in real time or in intervals electricity or gas usage and conditions at a residence or business. In many regions, territorial and regulatory hurdles to enable smart metering have been cleared. The European Union (EU), in fact, has mandated that the majority of gas and electricity meters be replaced by smart meters by 2020, as part of a move to address the challenges of climate change and the scarcity of energy resources. In China, Chinese state-run utilities continued their rapid replacement of outdated basic electromechanical meters in 2014, and that work continued in 2015. In the United States, several states are also mandating smart meters, further driving growth in this segment.

In a typical smart meter scenario, smart meters collect usage data and transmit it to the supplier back office. From this data, customer bills may be calculated and suppliers can gain a more immediate and accurate view of the consumption of energy. A two-way communication channel is established between the supplier back office system and the end customers premises (panel, smartphone, tablet), sending usage and billing information detailing energy consumption in an understandable format. Mobile apps can enable customers to view their usage profiles in real time and amend their consumption behaviour to reduce overall costs.

M2M technologies are key to real-time monitoring and alerts that help control consumption and report issues. However smart these meters might be, they all require two things: connectivity to and support from a communications network, and a new approach to service enablement, billing and management of these micro-transactions. What was once a very manual process for utilities—sending a meter reader to check actual usage or guessing on estimated usage—is now simplified through real-time monitoring and reporting.

However, although M2M may have simplified a process and reduced labor costs, the process of handling all of these little pieces of data is far from straightforward. Utilities have two choices: invest in new billing and business process management (BPM) systems themselves, or partner with a third party, such as a competitive service provider (CSP) who already has a strong relationship with the customer. CSPs already have a quadruple play of services—telephone, broadband, video and mobile—that they bundle to the end user. Can they successfully add utility billing into this mix?

In theory, it would seem to make sense for CSPs to enter this market.

They are:

Already part of the smart meter food chain, so to speak, because they are utilised to connect the smart meter with the utility

Already have an established relationship with the user through the other services they offer

Starting to understand the unique requirements that M2M services bring to the table in terms of back-office systems.

It would seem to be a natural fit for utilities and CSPs to establish partnerships to maximise their strengths and their revenue. In Part 2 of this article, we’ll look at the challenges to making this a successful union and what’s truly needed in order to effectively engage with customers on smart metering.


By: Flavio Gomes, CEO at LogiSense
As posted on: M2MNow The Global IoT News Source

real-time utilities rating and billing

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.
These include:

  1. Providing an omnichannel experience—including mobile apps—to interact with customers across any device. One of the goals of smart metering is reduce electricity use. Customer need a medium through which to view their usage in real time, and then take an action to perform a remote connect/disconnect, or adjust payment options/methods on demand or in a scheduled manner from any channel (smartphone, desktop, tablet, telephone call).
  2. Understanding the impact of convergence. The convergence of mobile, the cloud and the Internet of Things makes the integration between apps, customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing and rating a huge challenge, especially since different capabilities like reside in different systems (including inventory, billing, provisioning, usage, etc.). Providers need to look at their business process management in an end-to-end manner and consider consolidating under a single master system of record. This ensures that the information is captured in the most consistent manner and made available to the right people at the right time across any channel to support improved productivity and increased customer satisfaction at the lowest possible total cost of ownership.
  3. Providing a secure framework that provides proper authentication and authorisation to protect sensitive customer data.
  4. Utilising accurate, scalable real-time rating capable of scaling to support millions of connected devices that are sending usage data in real time. Two-way connectivity helps inform the customer of specific usage thresholds and the actions to be taken in real time. Emerging prepaid energy models should also be supported.
  5. Understanding what analytics will be important to this market. Billions of records will be generated from smart meters. How can this data be used to make a real difference in the energy sector?

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