FTS is introducing software it is positioning as an entirely new control layer between an OSS (operations support system) and a BSS (business support system). FTS is calling it the Business Control Layer.

The aim of the Business Control Layer is to detect customer actions, with different actions triggering different responses. The key, explained Yair Sakov, FTS VP marketing & business development, is responding immediately, in real time, to offer new services.

For example, at the beginning of the month, an operator could send all of its subscribers a pamphlet or an e-mail that it is selling a service to provide 30-minute updates on "American Idol" voting. It would be more effective, however, Sakov said, to detect when an individual subscriber actually places a vote for an "American Idol" contestant, then immediately send that individual a message offering to provide the updates for another $1.

That would be an upsell, but there are also opportunities for operators to cross-sell services. Some operators are also MVNOs, Sakov observed. The operator could, for example, set its system so that after any subscriber racks up an additional $10 in monthly fees, that would trigger an offer to that sub of a free VOD session. The move would soften the blow of incurring additional fees, would create a tie between services before IMS convergence was implemented, and perhaps would encourage customer loyalty.

In conjunction with PCMM technology, the Business Control Layer could assist with dynamic bandwidth allocation, both on a customer-request and operator-driven basis.

The Business Control Layer includes service management elements from the billing system coupled with real time charging and network management elements. The product can capture customer interaction events in real time and respond in real time, based on a pre-configured set of business policies or actions.

Business Control Layer-based products are targeted at CSPs looking to complement their OSS/BSS with business policies and control as well as CSPs looking to inject a business policy layer on top of their network infrastructure, enabling better visibility and control of network equipment and services. 

Telenet in Belgium is using the Business Control Layer technology in its network. Patrick Vincent, vice president customer care & delivery for Telenet said, "The implications on our business have been quite visible. Since implementing a Business Control system from FTS, calls relating to this service (Telemeter) have been reduced by 40 percent. In addition, 15 percent of customers who reach self-defined quotas have been electing to pay for additional bandwidth, thus increasing Telenet revenues."

The first product to include Business Control Layer technology is FTS' Leap BCE (Business Control Engine). Leap BCE can connect simultaneously to multiple networks (POTS, cellular, cable, etc.), looking at all events regardless of origin, whether user, network, calendar, financial, or BCE-generated, and executes the operator pre-defined business rules for each event in real time. The solution enables operators to dynamically adapt network or services behavior in response to subscribers' needs such as changed network bandwidth, changed service QoS, rewarding customers, etc.