fonYou: Using AI to make the right offer at the right time for 150 million mobile customers

About fonYou

fonYou transforms carriers into digital, analytics-driven businesses that can monetize customer events and maximize new revenue opportunities.

Industries: Technology
Location: Spain

fonYou processes millions of user events a day with Google Cloud Platform, applying machine learning to enable its iCarrier platform to understand customer needs and deliver a personalized service.

Google Cloud Results

  • Deploys iCarrier platform with Google Cloud Platform, creating a system that's quicker and easier to implement and maintain
  • Speeds up machine learning modeling from days to hours with BigQuery and Datalab, enabling a more personalized service
  • Creates a voicemail-to-SMS service using Cloud Speech-to-Text with multiple language options for its global client base

Deployment costs from the cloud 10 times lower

Mobile telephones have transformed the way people communicate, but mobile network operators have been slower to change how they interact with their customers. Through its iCarrier platform, Spanish technology company fonYou works with major telecommunications companies to help them implement analytics-driven digital services, enabling telcos to activate relevant customer services in real time through a variety of digital channels. Headquartered in Barcelona, fonYou has deployed its solution in 15 countries, having regional hubs in Mexico, Colombia, and Morocco, and a reach of over 150 million customers.

"Our main markets are countries where prepay is the principal mode of use," says Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO of fonYou. "Customers choose prepay for a number of reasons: they may be unbanked, or use it to control finances. Our job is to deliver the optimum offer at the optimum moment, on behalf of the carrier: for example, when a customer requires a micro-credit or needs to switch to roaming. We enable carriers to offer solutions to customer problems in real time, through multiple digital channels."

"Everything we do has to be compatible with mobile network operators' infrastructures, and be secure, stable, and scalable – as well as low cost, as every interaction with a customer must cost under one millionth of a dollar in order to make the model commercially viable. That's the challenge."

Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO, fonYou

Previously, fonYou was deploying its iCarrier platform from within the data centers of the mobile network operators. It needed to find a more agile way for deploying its services, as well as optimizing its analysis and machine learning services to deliver the most personalized and targeted offers while keeping costs low. Migrating to Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offered the solution.

"Everything we do has to be compatible with mobile network operators' infrastructures, and be secure, stable, and scalable – as well as low cost, as every interaction with a customer must cost under one millionth of a dollar in order to make the model commercially viable," says Fernando. "That's the challenge."

Deploying straight from the cloud

Analytics-driven digital services have the potential to deliver a more relevant offer to customers, while increasing revenue for businesses. However, this relies on delivering smart services at a price that keeps margins low. "fonYou previously deployed its services from on-premises data centers. There was no possibility of scaling from one to a thousand machines to cope with peak loads," says Fernando. "The hardware was expensive, and difficult to service and upgrade." fonYou looked for a cloud provider that would have the scalability and performance it needed for its real-time customer interactions.

To achieve that, fonYou began to deploy its iCarrier platform on Google Cloud Platform. "We use Compute Engine and Cloud Storage, as well as Cloud Pub/Sub and Cloud Dataflow for our data pipeline. We process hundreds of millions of events in real time every day, so the end users who have opted-in receive an offer message at exactly the right moment. Those interactions result in tens of millions of transactions," explains Fernando. "For new carrier customers, where possible, we deploy straight to the cloud."

"As soon as our data scientists switched to using BigQuery and Cloud Datalab to create advanced data science models, they saw improvements in efficiency. They can now have a new model up and running in a few hours, rather than days, and that helps us understand our end users better."

Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO, fonYou

"The Cloud Speech-to-Text API is also key for us," Fernando continues. "More than a third of calls don't reach their destination, so we offer a service where a caller can send their voice message to the number they're trying to reach as a text message. Cloud Speech-to-Text recognizes 120 languages, which is very important for our global client base."

fonYou uses multiple digital channels to interact with mobile users via automated SMS or salesbots on social media, using machine learning to identify the right trigger for sending a message. "As soon as our data scientists switched to using BigQuery and Cloud Datalab to create advanced data science models, they saw improvements in efficiency," says Fernando. "They can now have a new model up and running in a few hours, rather than days, and that helps us understand our end users better."

An integrated telecom solution with Android and RCS

Another reason for choosing GCP was connecting with other Google technologies. "Google developed the Android operating system, and now it is also responsible for Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging, which is an integrated messaging service on Android that works across devices," explains Fernando.

"Together with GCP, Android and RCS will enable us to put together complete industry solutions for our carriers using Google technologies."

"The improvements in our machine learning models mean the end user receives a smarter, more personalized service. From our customer feedback surveys, we can see increased customer satisfaction, and they feel the service is relevant and useful."

Fernando Núñez Mendoza, CEO, fonYou

A more personalized customer experience

Since migrating to GCP, fonYou's operating costs for new cloud customers are ten times lower than deploying on-premises, and the system is more stable. "Without GCP, we wouldn't be able to achieve the same flexibility and performance while keeping our costs low," says Fernando. "Previously, it was very difficult to implement software updates within physical infrastructures, and we had a high rate of incidents. Now, our system engineers can focus on optimizing cloud resources, not fixing hardware or faulty updates."

"Apart from daily peaks in traffic, scalability is crucial in the case of a natural disaster where demand might be 10 or 20 times higher than even peak traffic," Fernando adds. "The cloud helps solve that problem. I can now be more confident that in case of an earthquake, my system won't go down."

"The improvements in our machine learning models mean the end user receives a smarter, more personalized service. From our customer feedback surveys, we can see increased customer satisfaction, and they feel the service is relevant and useful," says Fernando. "When we implemented the new algorithms, our typical offer conversion rate spiked from 10 percent to 25 to 30 percent."

Now, fonYou is planning to extend its use of machine learning and GCP. "We're currently running trials with Cloud AutoML to automate our machine learning modeling processes and save time for our data scientists," says Fernando. "We are also planning to implement Kubernetes to power our new iCarrier update, which will be able to handle billions of events a day. That's in the pipeline for 2019."

"Our default mode of operation now is the cloud, and we can easily connect our iCarrier platform to the infrastructure of a mobile network operator," says Fernando. "Thanks to that flexibility, we're now looking at other areas where this technology could be applied, including finance and retail."

About fonYou

fonYou transforms carriers into digital, analytics-driven businesses that can monetize customer events and maximize new revenue opportunities.

Industries: Technology
Location: Spain