Edwin Haver, chief information officer, Workz Group on how the new Z-OTA platform enables not just efficient and affordable SIM management remotely, but also helps to maximise revenue by reducing time-to-market for new services.
CommsMEA: What kind of demand do you see for OTA services?
We see a great demand in the market for OTA services. An OTA platform basically enables over-the-air update of the SIM cards. There can be various reasons that might necessitate the update of the SIM cards while they are in the market. It’s very expensive to replace those SIM cards just for an update. Traditionally, an OTA platform has been used for updating parameters like service provider name or certain contact profiles or few applications. Nowadays, there are other demands as well like monetisation of various services offered by the operator. Moreover, operators also wish to use the platform for marketing and advertising purposes, and also for publishing certain applications on the SIM cards like mobile payments, etc.
CommsMEA: Which have been the main hindrances to the wide-scale usage of OTA services?
Traditionally, the OTA platforms were very expensive, and also complex to use. That was one hindrance to their wide usage. In other cases, suppliers sold operators OTA platforms and instructed that those could be used for updating SIM cards, without developing new use cases for the same. We, at Workz believe OTA platform is an enabler for several other services.
CommsMEA: What’s the USP of Workz’ Z-OTA platform?
The Z-OTA platform by Workz is a very simple, easy-to-use OTA platform that can be easily installed. It is basically plug-and-play in principle. Moreover, it’s the most affordable such system in the market. We are offering it with various payment models as well; one can either have it installed onsite (CAPEX model) or opt for a hosted model such as monthly subscription or pay per campaign.
It can be used for various purposes like file management, installation and enablement of various applets like mobile money, etc. Marketing and advertising is becoming a hot area. As the ARPU is decreasing for most operators, they need a way to increase that. Moreover, with the onset of IoT, the number of connected devices has increased that need to be regularly and efficiently managed.
While customers might tend to ignore the traditional SMSes, OTA platform enables flash SMSes which necessitate one to take action when it appears on the screen. Operators can also use our platform to upsell certain services.
CommsMEA: Have operators in the region already started showing interest in Z-OTA platform?
We have received expression of interest from Middle Eastern and African operators. For example, we are working with two operators on loyalty programmes. With another telco, we are working on updating the mobile numbers due to certain regulatory requirement. We have recently also implemented OTA platforms in Somalia for mobile money as well as SIM back up for non-smart phones.