Steve Chuey, Unisys VP and solution manager for Telecommunications, recently sat down with contributing editor Brian Daly. Steve outlined the challenges facing telecom providers and detailed Unisys’ strategies and ClearPath platform-based solutions for helping them drive new revenue by providing subscribers with new and more flexible services that capitalize on mobile and social technologies.
[Brian Daly] What are some of the key global issues facing telcos today?
[Steve Chuey] Increasing competition from non-telco entrants threatening telcos’ future revenues. These new-generation competitors, such as Google, are largely providers of data-driven services and mobile offerings.
[Brian Daly] How do new-generation providers threaten telcos?
[Steve Chuey] Telcos are concerned about losing direct relationships with consumer subscribers. Plus, growing use of handsets and web-based apps makes telcos’ traditional competitive role as network access providers too narrow. Many telcos have made great progress, but for most the relationship with the subscriber is still up for grabs.
[Brian Daly] Sounds ominous for the telcos?
[Steve Chuey] Not necessarily. They’re still in the best position to offer unique services that tie into other services we all rely on. Those include access to banking, shopping, travel, etc. Telcos also have a chance to be at the center of these relationships by offering a consistent and secure experience.
[Brian Daly] Where does Unisys fit into the new competitive environment for the telcos?
[Steve Chuey] Unisys addresses emerging trends, including mobile, cloud, social technology, consumerization of IT, the hybrid enterprise approach to cloud computing and intelligent analytics, or “big data.” We also have more than 25 years of experience providing messaging, and systems integration solutions such as billing, network management and managed services to tier 1 telcos. We’re unique because we have deep experience and focus on disruptive trends that are at the heart of the competitive threats that telcos face.
[Brian Daly] Can you share some specific examples of Unisys’ solutions for telcos?
[Steve Chuey] Our key offerings are our Messaging and Converged User Services. These are anchored by the VoiceSource Express (VSE) family of servers, which are based on the proven Unisys ClearPath platform. The growth of mobile devices and apps changes infrastructure demands and reinforces security as a key concern of both consumers and enterprises. We have several solutions for this challenge, including mobile device management and security solutions.
[Brian Daly] How can Unisys help the telcos in the application area?
[Steve Chuey] We provide value-added services to help telcos generate revenue and strengthen the relationship with their subscribers. Plus we provide apps that make communications easier and more productive. For example, Visual Voicemail allows users to see messages on their mobile phones and select how and when they want to access and reply to them. Interactive text-based chats enable telcos to facilitate dialogue between customers and apps, allowing them to select alerts of interest.
[Brian Daly] You mentioned voicemail – how has this changed?
[Steve Chuey] With new offerings like Apple’s Siri, voice services are trending as a powerful, personalized way to communicate beyond leaving a voicemail message. We’ve developed a solution that brings voice recognition to Twitter and Facebook. Unisys VoiceTweets and Speak to Facebook apps empower telco subscribers to publish updates directly to the platforms whenever they want.
[Brian Daly] What other apps does Unisys offer to telcos?
[Steve Chuey] Our application approach is based on unique app middleware that allows fast development and deployment of new services – a critical issue for telcos. We pre-integrate voice-to-text or social network interface components that become building blocks of new services. One example is Mobilewallet service, which lets subscribers use money in their prepaid account to purchase items. We’re also experimenting with Near Field Communications – NFC for short – handsets to build subscriber services for shopping. In addition, we’re using this middleware to provide unified messaging services across email, voicemail, fax and video.
[Brian Daly] What other investments have you made in your solution?
[Steve Chuey] The newest VoiceSource Express server – the VSE 412 – provides virtualization to help our telco clients grow their business and control costs with flexible delivery of voice services. The VSE 412 is the first server in the market to use Unisys’ secure partitioning (s-Par) architecture, which provides enterprise-class virtualization that commodity systems can’t match. Through the s-Par capability, each VSE 412 can support up to 3 million voice users. We also recently allied with BMC Software to deliver and manage advanced cloud solutions to help telcos and clients in other industries be more responsive & efficient.
[Brian Daly] What is your strategy for your telco clients?
[Steve Chuey] It’s a threefold strategy to: