Cricket World Cup and its Synergies: A New Lifeline for the Telecoms Industry?

Cricket World Cup and its Synergies: A New Lifeline for the Telecoms Industry?
As cricket fans are gripped by World Cup fever, there are synergistic opportunities being offered by such big-ticket sporting events to telecoms businesses. So, how can Communications Service Providers (CSPs) capitalise? 

Many telcos are looking beyond connectivity as a business model to next-gen digital services that can help them tap into newer opportunities. One of the areas that telcos can potentially target is sporting events such as the ongoing Cricket World Cup in the UK which offers a lot of synergies for CSPs to innovate around new business models and partnerships.

Cricket and Telecoms – What’s the link?

Network operators are continuously exploring newer business cases to encourage investors to pump in money for infrastructure development and big ticket sporting events can provide a huge impetus for network operator monetisation.

Major tournaments such as the World Cup are breaking viewership and popularity records and engaging fans using technology more than ever before. Use of sophisticated data analytics, HD video and IoT will place additional demands on network usage and provide significant business cases for network infrastructure expansion and revamp.

A good example is how South Korean CSP, KT, proved its 5G prowess at the 2018 Winter Olympics. KT showcased the power of 5G by delivering live feeds from helmet-mounted cameras on bobsled competitors with less than 1 millisecond delay so that viewers could experience the action themselves. Attendees could also use 5G equipped tablets to switch between different cameras located on a skiing route. The company installed 100 cameras at figure-skating venues so that viewers could choose the angles they wanted to experience the sport from.

Now let’s look at the Cricket World Cup, which is broadcast all over the world every four years and creates a great opportunity for CSPs to make money out of customised subscription packages based on time, location and consumption. Apart from the prevailing B2C monetisation techniques, CSPs can also provide B2B services to organisations setting up fan parks away from the main venues, for example.

Some other use cases include preferential and personalised packages by collaborating with broadcasters such as Sky Sports or Star Sports. CSPs can also collaborate with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) companies such as Samsung and Oculus to provide an immersive premium experience to their customers.

Top technology companies like Intel have already provided the cricketing world with advanced sensors that can track parameters like back lift, bat speed and follow-through for every cricket stroke. CSPs can partner with these companies and offer viewers a ‘ringside seat’ for exciting moments such as MS Dhoni’s 0.08 second stumping, David Warner’s flamboyant 6s or Imran Tahir’s 24 mph sprint (after a wicket of course!) in real-time through an AR environment. Another idea could be to mount a camera on the umpire’s hat or body and give fans the best possible view of the match.

The emphasis on Quality of Experience

For such experiments to be successful, telcos need to focus on delivering a ‘premium experience’ to their customers. CSPs have traditionally relied on Quality of Service (QoS) as the metric to measure customer satisfaction. However, the time has come to move towards the Quality of Experience (QoE) metric.

QoE, as opposed to QoS, also considers human influence (gender, age, mood, etc.) and context influence factors (location, space, frequency of use, etc.) along with the usual system influence factors such as bandwidth, latency and the content itself to measure customer satisfaction. While CSPs are slowly realising the importance of QoE, they have not yet been able to channel their efforts to reflect this change in mindset.

The examples above highlight the opportunity telcos have for cross-industry collaboration. Sporting events such as the Cricket World Cup and the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup, with their universal appeal, are a great place for operators to take the giant leap forward. Of course, newer technology collaborations are just one aspect of this synergy. Traditional models such as advertising and marketing (targeted and non-targeted) will also offer additional opportunities to telcos.

The BSS/OSS angle

The motive behind pumping in money for network infrastructure is of course to generate revenue while providing services. Sporting events undoubtedly create new business models and service segments, but the onus on realising these models largely depends on the development and implementation of solid monetisation and pricing strategies. However, CSPs should steer clear of their traditional mindset around IT infrastructure to monetise modern use-cases, as it is high time these experimental services are mainstreamed and commercialised based on customer value.

For instance, Vodafone has just started offering unlimited 5G data packages with the pricing based on speed. This is a good example of how data services are evolving. Vodafone could eventually move from speed-based 5G packages to QoE-based packages.

Flexible rating and pricing options, faster time-to-market products, real-time charging and policy control, multi-tenancy and strong data analytics are all key modern-day requirements for such services. However, CSPs must invest in robust BSS platforms to power these services and realise the true potential of cross-industry collaboration.

See how Cerillion’s Enterprise BSS/OSS Suite is enabling convergence and powering digital transformation across the globe.

(Image Credit: Nic Redhead | Flickr)