|Rebecca's Connected World|
Share It, Maybe
If you’re into viral videos like me, you may have recently caught Sesame Street’s spoof of the summer song, “Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen. With more than 7 million views at the time of this post, people of all ages are hearing Cookie Monster sing “Share It, Maybe" as he gives out cookies around the office. It appears he’s on to something...
Recently, AT&T announced its shared data offering is coming in August, which followed Verizon’s unveil of its Share Everything plan last month. Based on buzz over the past year, it was clear consumers were clamoring for shareable plans so they could easily manage data across multiple devices with one consistent package, and these plans are a step in the right direction. For service providers, this marks another way to respond to the consumer demand for value plans while efficiently managing networks.
There is no doubt shared data plans such as AT&T and Verizon’s offerings will have a substantial impact on the market moving forward. Consumers and businesses share a very important need to be connected with multiple devices, which is clear based on the huge uptick in smart devices over the past year. However, I don’t know anyone who really wants to pay for individual data plans for each device they are using.
Recent research sponsored by Amdocs showed us that shared data plans are a priority for service providers looking into the future. The great thing about shared data is that plans are extremely flexible – you could have a family using one plan with many devices, or a businessman sharing data between his iPhone and iPad while commuting to work. Even the ability to share data across LTE and 3G networks is being examined which present many additional opportunities.
Furthermore, shared data plans showcase the value of integrating policy management and charging which ensure that plans can be metered and monetized in real time. This is important for several reasons – it allows service providers to monitor the status of individual usage vs. the data offered to the customer, and it lets service providers alert customers in real time about their usage. It also allows data to be redirected among different members of a family (ex: Mom needs more data, so she’ll take some from Dad) and ensure service providers can track these multiple devices at one time.
On top of that, policy management combined with charging can allow users to control the usage of the shared data plan at given times. Let’s say you want your kids to have the ability to use the Internet for emergencies during school hours, but want to ensure they aren’t checking in on foursquare or updating their status on Facebook. It’s possible in this scenario, along with the ability to boost or lower Internet speeds for members of the family that may be eating through data.
The above are examples of how we’re going to see shared data plans evolve as they become more targeted and personalized. Flexibility, as opposed to just a chunk of data to use, will be key in the adaption of these plans with consumers. While sharing data across devices is a great first step, it’s only paving the way for more shared innovations to arise in the years to come.
As these plans grow over time, we expect that consumer and business customers alike will want to take Cookie Monster’s advice.
Rebecca Prudhomme is vice president of Product & Solutions Marketing at Amdocs. She currently leads Amdocs’ entire global team of product marketing professionals focused on bringing to market Amdocs’ products, services and solutions.