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Telecoms dial KM to exchange info

To successfully compete in today's no-holds-barred global environment, telecommunication companies are wiring KM into their business processes.

Greg Dyer, senior research analyst for IDC, says, "Telecom has been about access, but what is evolving with the growth of wireless devices is being able to access the right information at the right time without using up too much battery power. As a result, targeted content should be the goal of service providers.

"A KM program is critical in this scenario because it will not only focus on the collection, filtering and external delivery of content to the customer, but also emphasize the internal use of the customer-specific information to enhance the customer service experience. The ability of a provider to deliver a customized experience to a client will have an advantage in an extremely competitive market."

To get highly technical product information to its sales force around the world, AT&T is doing just that, using a customized version of rich media--a combination of synchronized audio, video, text and graphics.

To serve 7,000 potential users, the telecom giant uses a communications server from Eloquent to allow it to replace traditional face-to-face meetings with Web-based delivery of information .

Says David Schneider, CIO of AT&T's Growth Markets, "The telecommunications market is extremely fluid. AT&T's success is based on our ability to adapt quickly to the ever-changing market conditions at hand. Combining the effectiveness of rich media with the speed and flexibility of Web-based delivery will play a key role in helping us further reduce our time-to-market for new services throughout the organization."

Jane Beule, VP of Eloquent, affirms that when she says, "In this environment, the ability to communicate effectively and at Internet speed with employees, partners and customers becomes a key competitive advantage."

Innovation drives advances

The daily arrival of new telecommunications approaches, such as voice portals, is constantly stretching the boundaries of the once staid field. Another innovative telecommunications application incorporating knowledge management, which is garnering business-to-business interest, is called a virtual private network (VPN).

Michael Curry, VP of Applications Solutions for PfN, a provider offering VPNs, comments on the future of telecommunications and how KM fits into that picture. "As the telecommunications market matures and its offerings, specifically bandwidth, become more of a commodity," he says, "these TC players will need to differentiate their services. One way they can do so is by providing a network that has the intelligence to permit integration at the application level and allow parties to share information among themselves. By doing this, they inevitably become major players in the knowledge management space."

PfN provides communications for intelligent B2B infrastructure. The firm's intelligent communications framework removes e-commerce barriers by enabling the network itself to normalize heterogeneous information. PfN's technology takes a relationship-centric approach to the management of information and transaction flow, dynamically publishing business resources, relationships and policies to the network. The result: creation of a virtual private network for e-commerce transactions.

At that point, the technology acts as a digital switching system, creating electronic objects which can hold digital payloads and travel between any and all network participants. PfN's approach combines three categories of service which taken together enable dynamic management of relationships and applications; dynamically route, replicate and transport data between network participants or applications; and supply functions that facilitate the management of communications networks.

Similar to the manner in which we access our brains, we only tap into a fraction of our vast telecommunication systems capabilities. Our current TC infrastructure still has room in it for people who create new applications to successfully challenge other technology companies by adding value to generic ways of doing business to save time, money, and lots of effort.

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