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Distributed active monitoring to drive proactive customer experience management programmes

Distributed active monitoring to drive proactive customer experience management programmes


Distributed active monitoring to drive proactive customer experience management programmes

5G Standalone promises a range of new revenue opportunities for MNOs, but the quality of customer experience will ultimately be where they are judged. Proactive operations are required to deliver the experiences users expect.

5G Standalone (SA) offers huge potential for operators and MNOs to create new use cases, applications, and differentiated services and, in particular, through network slicing, which enables providers to offer multiple services and use cases (each with different performance parameters) to different verticals on a single architecture.

However, the battleground for new customers will ultimately be dictated by service and performance levels. According to a survey of 1,000 customers published in Forbes, 96% of customers would be willing to leave a brand after just one poor customer experience[1] – put another way, only 4% would put up with it. It means that customer experience management (CEM) will be crucial to success in the 5G SA world.

Proactive customer experience management is key to success

Conversely, exceptional customer service leads to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, while also helping to build trust that can create up-selling and cross-selling opportunities with existing customers and help to attract new customers.

However, measuring customer experience, a relatively subjective concept, has its challenges. Historically, passive monitoring has been used, but this requires real data from a live network, and so with the complexity of 5G – dynamic orchestration, edge computing, network slicing, CI / CD for the continuous upgrade and development of new services, and so on – is difficult to scale and process with the huge volumes of data being produced, together with the growing diversity of data sources to be taken into consideration.

While passive monitoring has its advantages, such as analysis of real-world traffic, within 5G it places a huge demand and investment on servers. At the same time, the implantation of end-to-end encryption is making it even more difficult to monitor traffic with traditional passive probes.

Active monitoring, on the other hand, ‘injects’ real traffic into the live network to test the performance of services and to find any issues or bottlenecks almost instantaneously. Active monitoring provides a proactive approach to monitoring network and service performance levels, identifying issues before they impact the end user.

Active monitoring with Emblasoft Evolver – a preventative approach

Active monitoring – in the case of Emblasoft Evolver – uses in-network software agents (replicating UEs) that monitor and collect real data, based on synthetic traffic – for any application, including voice, video, streaming, and much more.

These simulated UEs can request and experience services, and interact with live services and Network Functions, providing granular insight into what’s happening in the network at any given moment. As a result, it’s a critical for enabling proactive, preventative service assurance, allowing CSPs to validate SLAs before service or slice activation and throughout the lifecycle – before users encounter issues that negatively impact their experiences.

Emblasoft Evolver deploys distributed active monitoring agents throughout the network, with deployments at each eNodeB / gNodeB (4G and 5G), with 1–128 simulated UEs per NodeB.

It means that real-world scenarios can be modelled and explored throughout the RAN and also the Service-Based Architecture (SBA). Importantly, it can be used to model different users (each with different expectations of customer experience and requirements) – all measured from a UE perspective.

Active monitoring offers real-time monitoring of customer experience to help detect if/when/how problems in the network might affect customer experience. On finding an issue, Evolver will send an alert to an administrator who can then take remedial action. So how can customer experience be measured?

Providing an exceptional customer experience with Emblasoft Evolver

Network performance parameters, such as latency, jitter, packet loss, throughput, and so on, can be measured by active agents through simulated or real traffic. But so too can customer experience through scores such as MOS (which rates the perceived quality of a voice call from 1 to 5), Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality (PESQ), which rates audio quality output, and POLQA (the global benchmark for voice quality of fixed, mobile, and IP-based networks, including VoIP, HD Voice, 3G, 4G/VoLTE, and 5G calls. In this way, it provides a real picture of the actual customer experience delivered to users.

One of the main benefits of active monitoring through distributed agents is that all these parameters can be measured for different audiences. So, for example, it can be used to monitor and analyse customer experience for enterprise vs. consumer callers, for specific demographics, or to ascertain how a new service is performing.

Emblasoft Evolver also offers open APIs, which means that it can be integrated into other platforms and business processes, quickly and effectively. For example, it can integrate with Prometheus (an open-source app that collects rich metrics) and Grafana (a powerful visualisation tool). It means that organisations can slice, dice, and analyse data in any way required.

It gives multiple stakeholders a view into customer experience for the applications and scenarios that matter to them, and can be used by different departments to provide a macro and micro view of customer experience, which in turn helps to drive proactive, preventative CEM programmes.

To find out more about how Emblasoft can help drive your CEM strategy and gain customer experience excellence, contact us.