I’d like to start this blog with one subject I am truly an expert on—me, Gary Zimmerman. The one and only me. Aside from the other 444 Gary Zimmermans listed in residential telephone books across the United States. The fact is, we are not a 444-man-strong group of spear-carrying carpenters as our namesake implies. Rather, we are a collective group of individuals; 444 unique Gary Zimmermans.
This Gary Zimmerman has worked in the telecommunications industry for more than 30 years. I have been fortunate enough to work with incredibly talented individuals around the world as we brought new technology to the global marketplace. Although the prospect of becoming a spear-carrying carpenter does sound thrilling, as the Senior Director of Marketing at Neustar, I am content to be the only Gary Zimmerman who holds this title.
And yet, knowing all these things, you still don’t fully know “ME.” That’s because my business persona is just a small part of me. I have a family persona, a personal persona, even a social media persona. Bits and pieces of Gary Zimmerman are everywhere—on Facebook, LinkedIn, on my iPhone, in business databases—you’d need to aggregate a lot of information before establishing a complete picture of who I am.
Just as I’m the whole of many different parts, communications services are, likewise, composed of many different pieces. In fact, to complete a simple phone call, communications service providers (CSPs) need to speak a multitude of languages:
Today’s consumer has moved beyond a single, fixed-line phone number to multiple smart devices that run on their own operating systems and encompass their own unique dialect: Android, Apple iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows Mobile 7. In this world, if you want to communicate with ME, you’ll need to know the dialect of my Smartphone first.
The Language of Service
Services like roaming, texting, streaming video, prepaid plans, etc. also utilize different languages and dialects in delivering their service. CSPs must be able to translate these to ensure that each service can speak with a wide range of system and devices.
The Language of Networks
Emerging in Networks are even more languages, (or “protocols”) of SIP, Diameter, SS7, TCP and BGP which work to communicate internally and externally across multiple layers—application, control, transport, access. Standards drive a basic understanding between players, but so many unique dialects make universal comprehension difficult.
The Language of Operations
Here we find a new world of over 1,000 languages for network elements that have exotic abbreviations like DSLAM, DLC, EMS, NMS, CMIP and RAN. These languages activate the network elements to provide services to subscribers, and many of these languages feature different dialects based on vendor implementations.
The Language of Billing
Billing systems speak their own language too and use words like accounts, discounts and charges. It’s the language of money, and it’s essential to CSPs.
The Language of Privacy
With information dispersed through digital airwaves, CSPs need to make sure every byte of data is protected. Compliance, CISPA, Opt-in, Opt-out—the language of security is a language both consumer and CSP must understand.
With so many languages being spoken, a lot can get lost in translation; ME, for example.
With all the Gary Zimmermans out there, I want to ensure the unique “ME” is clearly defined as well as protected. That’s a big problem facing most CSPs today. How do they pull all the pieces together to know who their customers really are; how do they safeguard all these pieces to ensure customer’s identity stays all their own. You are unique, and Neustar values that. We are going to talk more about this dynamic over the coming weeks. Through new industry initiatives, such as User Data Convergence and focus on consumer privacy in cross-carrier interoperability; CSPs can get the big picture of their customers, their services and their operations by aggregating intelligence across multiple systems that speak multiple languages.
And that’s good news for ME, YOU and the other 443 unique Gary Zimmermans out there.