Technology evolves at a breakneck pace fueled by advances in networks and connectivity, and the Internet of Things (IOT) affects both B2B and B2C service models. It’s a daily part of most people’s lives whether they notice it or not. When it comes to operating a business in today’s digital world, if they want to remain competitive and grow – manual tasks and processes simply don’t have a place. Thankfully, recurring subscription management and billing systems offer several key ways to monetize your IOT strategy while fueling growth.
What is Recurring Subscription Management?
Before we jump in, let’s define what recurring subscription management is. Recurring billing is the process of billing your customers (aka subscribers) the right amounts on a recurring basis instead of a one-time transaction. Together with subscription management, which is the process of managing those subscribers and their preferences across their customer lifecycle – you get recurring subscription management. Another term we’ll reference in this blog is metered billing, where companies charge on a recurring basis but for a specific amount of usage each time.
One of biggest challenges from IoT is that the high volume of events that determine charges makes it difficult to build a business model around. Capturing usage of your product/service and then accurately billing for it requires flexibility and agility to fully leverage the data. Because of this, IOT represents a major opportunity for companies to customize billing depending on data generated by customer devices. We’ll explore two examples where IOT and the cloud have transformed not only monetization but also the enhanced automated management of new products and services.
Personal Touches For Recurring Subscription Management
With metered billing, the challenge for IoT is there aren’t many flexible, lightweight cloud offerings available. This limits how you can charge for services, offer discounts or quickly add value and intelligence leveraging customer usage data. But BillingPlatform is device agnostic and has mediation built-in so data can be ingested from any source. So it doesn’t matter what format your device usage data is in.
This means that IoT can be leveraged to truly personalize and decode data in real-time. For example, SmartBike, an alternative global public transportation company has bicycle rental kiosks in eight countries across the globe. All utilize IOT technology to manage inventory, monitor service, and leverage recurring subscription management to bill customers directly.
Each bike’s unique identifier is equipped with sensors that transmit status notifications and geo-data. This makes it possible for the company to know when the bike is accessed, whether it’s parked or active, and can track the bike’s location and ride duration. The information is transmitted in real-time to a centralized cloud billing and customer management system. This manages the customer’s billing, credits, entitlements, and charges based on live consumer product usage. This information is also leveraged to report on route information, so the company can make decisions about enhanced service offerings for things like discounts and incentives for under-utilized routes.
Each intelligent kiosk integrates with BillingPlatform over REST web-services to process payments and enforce entitlements. Metrics like consumption, availability, and customer eligibility are accessed in real-time with the swipe of a card. The kiosks check whether the patron has sufficient funds or credits and also accesses his/her rental history and behavior to avoid potential theft or damage to the equipment.
Enhanced Connectivity and Collection
A provider of live, in-flight entertainment and connectivity for commercial and private aircrafts uses BillingPlatform and IOT to monetize broadband satellite device usage and network traffic. All while managing an extremely mobile equipment inventory in real-time.
With highly flexible, built-in mediation and usage collection capabilities, BillingPlatform can rate and invoice multiple dimensions of service data from highly proprietary and specific satellite usage feeds. The configurable data model and application interface allows the provider to track and report usage data as well as manage discrete details about each customer’s devices in-flight, as well as when these devices move from plane to plane or owner to owner. The IOT device data is then reported on to produce a 360-degree view of all of their products, physical location, and utilization.
The company now has a complete end-to-end recurring subscription management solution that dramatically increases business agility. All while enhancing and streamlining the management and tracking of expensive, mobile satellite devices.
The Agile Billing Solution
By centralizing all management and communication into a single cloud system, BillingPlatform can replace numerous billing and information systems. We provide the flexibility to accommodate region-specific rules for things like payment gateway utilization, language, pricing, and currency. This substantially lowers the cost of maintenance, automates customer service and entitlements, and ultimately increases business agility. Additionally, all service and customer data can be easily reported on and managed in one application across multiple geographies.
Recurring subscription management requires a new breed of monetization platform that is highly agile and flexible. Both in the ability to integrate and meter a diverse and evolving dimension of service usage, as well as the ability to quickly support new business processes, products, and charging models end-to-end. To learn more about how BillingPlatform could help you, contact us today.