By Sanjay Bakaya
The telecom sector is evolving at a rapid pace and it has become crucial for the CSPs and telcos to grab the opportunities, or else there is a risk of being swept by it. With the advancement of technology, telecom companies have their own set of benefits and challenges. While the innovative platforms have provided a larger subscribers base and geographical reach to telecom, there have also been security risks and the need for 24x7 support availability. As there is a drastic shift to cloud platforms and the adoption of 5G technologies, telecom companies are now making heavy investments in automation and digitization of their business process.
Here are a few predominant emerging technologies that have taken the telecom industry by storm:
Wireless connectivity is a key catalyst for growth which is enabled by the deployment of 5G technology. 5G is the fifth-generation wireless technology that provides higher speed, lower latency, and greater capacity than 4G LTE networks. It is a platform that makes other innovations possible and connects billions of devices of almost any kind. 5G technology has changed the role of telecom operators from technology distributors to service providers. Telcos need to engage with enterprise customers as well as the government and rethink their sales strategy to allow customers to harness the power of 5G.
5G will drive future innovation and economic growth, delivering greater societal benefit than any previous mobile generation and allowing new digital services and business models to thrive. Many countries have already launched 5G, but widespread commercial 5G services are expected from this year, which will mark the start of the 5G era.
Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT is an integral part of the 5G era and its growth is a long-term opportunity for telecom operators. Instead of focusing solely on expanding network connectivity, telecoms can also reposition themselves as IoT access providers. They can further equip their supply chain partners with the right tools and knowledge to promote this technology. It also presents an opportunity for telecoms to not only turn unstructured data into actionable insights but also offer a range of diversified products and services which extend beyond their existing offerings.
The growth for telecom operators will come from a combination of the consumer and enterprise market. In the enterprise context, IoT enables new business models, which create value by connecting existing and new devices together to establish new business processes, reduce costs, increase business efficiency, enable greater innovation, and drive improved visibility across an organization. For consumers, the connectivity provided by IoT can enhance their quality of life. Examples include energy efficiency, home security, and fitness and well-being monitoring.
Cloud-based platforms act as an enabler for technological transformation for telecom operators. Many telecom companies have made cloud their critical investment area, as it has catalyzed change, driven innovation, and allowed companies to explore unique revenue growth opportunities. Keeping in mind the global pandemic that has taken the telecom industry by storm these past two years, cloud computing is one of the few technologies that can not only facilitate companies to recover from the crisis but help them thrive in spite of it.
Cloud establishes high and flexible scalability for telecoms; it gives them the ability to scale up when the demand is high and allow them to scale back down when the chart falls to optimize costs. It allows the telco to store and process data remotely in the data processing centers, expand services quickly, and react to the surge in changes. As such, the cloud remains a keystone of telecom digital transformation from CSP to a digital service provider (DSP).
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI solutions are the gateway for telecom companies to achieve strategic growth objectives. It allows optimization and predictive maintenance through predictive analytics AI. It enables them to gather actionable business insights from the volumes of data they collect every day through predictive analytics. Another common use of AI in telecommunications is building self-optimizing networks (SONs). Such networks are automatically monitored by AI algorithms that detect and accurately predict network anomalies.
Big Data brought a revolutionary change in the telecom industry. Telecom companies have a huge amount of data available which is exponentially rising every day with the rise in the number of smartphone users. Such data can be really insightful for the company in order to make adequate decisions and implementations in terms of customer experience, network optimization, operational analysis, and data monetization. So, here big data analytics can help the telecom industry to establish its extensive networks firmly. It helps in fraud detection, analyzing customers’ preferences, watching traffic over the network, providing data security, and also improving the profitability of the telecom companies.
With 2022 looming ahead it is now important for CSPs and telecom companies to step forward and take initiative regarding digital transformation and innovative tech solutions. This is especially important since the market trends and technologies that were once seen as ‘new and emerging’ have now taken the telecom sector by storm and are now ‘evolving and maturing’.
Sanjay Bakaya is the Country Head - India & Regional VP, South Asia at Mavenir