Symbiotic Cloud-5G Series
Globally telcos are facing rapid changes in business needs and quite obviously the pandemic has further compelled them to face newer changes. Thankfully, telcos these days are better prepared, as most critical operations happen conveniently over the cloud and are delivered at the edge. It is also clear that 5G, cloud, and edge computing are three inextricably linked technologies that significantly improve the performance of telecom applications and enable huge amounts of data to be processed in real-time.
Several organizations have built an entire end-to-end architecture comprising public, private, hybrid, and edge cloud applications to service CSPs.
The Symbiotic Cloud-5G Series will explore and feature global organizations that are involved in supporting the telcos with cloud architecture.
The fifth in this series features Techcloudpro
Techcloudpro is a part of the Vibing World Group of Companies a certified NetSuite Solution Provider with vast experience in selling NetSuite licenses, consulting for NetSuite cloud solutions, ERP Implementation and Support with operations in three different geographies – USA, Canada & India.
Few excerpts from the interaction with Ajay Dhar, Global Chief Product Officer, Techcloudpro
Voice&Data (V&D): How are the three computing models Cloud, Edge and Hybrid relevant to the telecom industry ever since the pandemic struck the world?
Ajay Dhar (AD): The challenges arising from the pandemic have led many, including players from the telecom industry, to realize that they need to use the current period to upgrade and upskill. There has been an uptick as far as the adoption of cloud-based services is concerned given the limitations of on-premises systems in a situation like the pandemic, especially since employees are having to work remotely.
Cloud, Edge, and Hybrid are the three main data analysis & computing models currently being favored and have become even more critical in the wake of the pandemic.
Telecom industry players have also moved their most crucial business applications to the Cloud. It goes without saying that the path towards ERP implementations for many telecommunications companies has been rather challenging as well.
Indeed, in these unprecedented circumstances, NetSuite is demonstrating how it can help telecoms companies provide an omnichannel customer experience, the ease of financial consolidation, and in the management of multiple subsidiaries efficiently, much like it helps companies in so many other sectors.
More than ever before, telecommunications companies are showing the way to respond to new challenges by accelerating their evolution journey—beyond the usual core area suspects like providing network connectivity and creating distinctive service offerings—into the technology services market, which is a new and ever-expanding new area.
Given that telecom companies rank quite high on the maturity curve, they are also well-positioned to leverage this opportunity well. These companies are beginning to offer a number of cloud services, including helping broker aggregated cloud services, becoming platform enablers to establish an ecosystem that helps them to leverage of common assets, helping optimize secure networks, and finally catalyzing business growth with industry-ready solutions across the chain. Because of their well-established distribution and retail store networks, their customer-care and billing experience, and exposure and finally strong partnerships on the ground, telecommunications as an industry has also had the best vantage position to create optimized cloud services for their customers.
Many of these organizations have also moved their critical business applications such as email, web hosting, contact center, CRM, ERP, collaboration, and HR to the cloud. This is facilitating, among other things, business continuity in this pandemic-driven world, with employees being able to access information related to their work remotely, safely, and privately, while ensuring organizations are able to optimize employee productivity and minimize client disruptions.
One of the other crucial issues even from a pre-pandemic perspective has been securing data, something that has now become even more important. As telecom companies become cloud aggregators they are also beginning to place a much greater focus on optimizing network performance and assuring greater data security.
VPN connections and secure network encryption and identity authentication technologies that thrive on the Cloud are today demonstrating how this movement towards making the Cloud as the central gateway to the way employees work and organizations minimize business risk even during the pandemic is helping save more time and money and ultimately much greater value than ever thought possible.
No surprise then that the telecom cloud market is sitting pretty today, especially when we look at a projected growth rate of 19.7% in terms of value from 2019, to reach $59.25billion by 2026.
V&D: How do these models individually and in combination offer significant benefits to the telecom network provider?
AD: Let’s look at some emerging trends today. The appeal of IoT adoption, for instance, remains broad and covers companies across numerous industries and of all sizes. Companies with more advanced IoT infrastructure have ensured better returns on their investments than those with less mature installations.
The maturity curve of IoT technology is moving rapidly, with better hardware and software solutions now becoming readily available online to cater to process complexity and application multiplicity led by the rapid proliferation of devices and embedded sensors in such devices.
One technology, for example, is poised to advance IoT in a big way: 5G. With 5G technologies, companies can expect far higher levels of data throughput, better reliability, and far lower levels of latency.
With most companies looking forward to a 5G-ready world, adopters are now also saying that digital transformation in the context of IoT developments is impossible without the cloud.
Of all data analysis and computing models available in the market today, the Cloud, Edge, and Hybrid processing models, in particular, are finding favor with business organizations given that they hold great capabilities to improve efficiencies and lower the complexity of dealing with the volumes of data that IoT infrastructure is creating today or is likely to in the future.
With upgrades in artificial intelligence, and with machine learning and deep learning approaches providing an entirely new class of analysis once thought impossible with older technologies, the potential benefits of these models are tremendous.
Here is a look at some of the key benefits these three data analysis and computing models offer for business organizations today:
Cloud Computing: The Cloud heralded a computing model that holds the key for technology-led transformation for businesses of all types and sizes, especially in resource-scarce settings and economies. Many businesses, education institutes, and governments are today taking cognizance of the Cloud Computing models’ ability to remove costly technology barriers and creating better access to new products and services, something that was hitherto impossible for smaller businesses with scarce resources to invest in.
The following benefits of Cloud Computing are hard to ignore:
- It has led to the availability of smaller and cheaper devices with a smaller power footprint helping the smallest of communities and businesses to remain connected backed by processing and storage managed on the Cloud back-end and in real-time
- The centralized, always-on, cloud-based back-end storage of device data has made it easier to manage and apply necessary business intelligence for real-time insights
- The model’s utility-based pricing offered by Cloud Service Providers means that businesses are saving hugely on their capital expenditure that was always dependent on setting up expensive on-premise database/computing servers and related infrastructure
Edge Computing: It’s pertinent to note that Edge Computing is an alternative approach to the cloud environment compared with the ‘Internet of Things’. It is about processing real-time data near the source of the data, often considered to be the ‘edge’ of the network. Here applications are run physically as close as possible to the source of the data being generated locally instead of a centralized cloud, or a data center or storage location. The term ‘Edge Computing’ also refers to computing as a distributed paradigm, where the cloud comes to you instead of being filtered through a distant data center. This distributed paradigm of bringing data storage and compute power closer to the device or data source where it’s most needed eliminates lag-time and saves bandwidth. Among other things. Let’s consider the following benefits of the ‘Edge’ model:
- By processing the information locally, it allows for faster responses back to the data source or end-user application immediately and helps reduce the cost of system development and operations.
- It allows IoT-enabled devices to connect even offline or in low bandwidth environments since the data is stored on the local ‘edge’ of the network that works easily even in unreliable network environments
- A superiority node can also be added closer to the data source within any IoT network t.o facilitate in filtering and protecting the quantity or the nature of data an organization might want to share with a data center.
- Edge Computing also allows for flexibilities while implementing a network security mechanism that can create layers of encryption depending on the importance of the data, which can also be partly stored locally and partly with a third-party cloud provider with the necessary checks and balances in place
Hybrid Computing: Simply put, a Hybrid Cloud is a cloud computing strategy or approach where end-users combine different cloud environments connected to each other. These cloud environments can be public or private clouds or simply virtual infrastructures. This model is designed to operate independently and all data shared across an organization’s communication platforms are heavily encrypted. A Hybrid Cloud strategy can benefit businesses in the following ways, among others:
- With Hybrid Cloud, workloads are contained within a private cloud while retaining the ability to spontaneously increase their workload and perform the spikes of usage on the public cloud
- This model possibly is the most cost-effective as organizations pay for the public cloud portion of their infrastructure only when it is needed
- With Hybrid Cloud, workloads of businesses get on-premise computational efficiency which ensures maximum workload management
- There is also the availability of highly scalable and flexible servers that are easy to use and many businesses are today also offering it individuals with the necessary checks, balances, and authority to run it themselves
- One of the other key benefits of the Hybrid model is that you get a centralized private infrastructure on-premises
V&D Conserving resources is the new normal business mantra for the post COVID world. What is your take on the cloud’s role in conserving resources and the mantra to be frugal in business?
AD: Conserving resources is important but more important is efficiency, sustainability, and long-term profitability. Investment in IT innovation at a time like this may seem difficult as it is a heavy investment but an investment now could help businesses tremendously increase their ROI in the months and years to come.
The growing importance of digitization and the crucial role the cloud is playing in this transformation can be underscored by the fact that both are bringing in fluidity to information flow, increasing connectivity, and ensuring that organizational processes are running smoothly with very limited manual intervention.
Being a B2C-heavy sector and highly volatile, telecom witnesses some of the greatest challenges in maintaining a steady workforce, especially with a high level of attrition. Attrition in the telecom industry is primarily attributed to employees moving to other more rewarding career opportunities, the excessive workload, and poor employee-manager relationships.
There is a large number of contact center employees in the telecom sector, and attrition is quite high amongst them. NetSuite TribeHR, which is a component of NetSuite’s Human Capital Management (HCM) module allows companies to improve employee engagement. They do this by improving workforce morale and productivity by allowing easy management of time-off requests, providing a social recognition system and upskilling pathways, goal tracking, and employee performance reviews. There can also be well-designed processes for onboarding new hires in NetSuite, which again helps the company imbibe them with the right skill sets.
To stay competitive, services businesses such as telecom continue to offer a wide range of service outcomes. Think about all the value-added services a customer can subscribe to from their service provider on their mobile. To make these different service outcomes possible, telecom companies will need different billing models also. With NetSuite’s SuiteBilling, standardized billing has been replaced with a strategically managed one.
Many telecom companies are wary of high-cost, “too large a scale to manage” enterprise software implementations. Most telecom companies need to manage a number of customers and for this purpose have a high-volume call center environment. They need to manage a number of relationships with their regular customers and key interactions with their high-touch customers. The business processes associated with the assignment of support cases and their management and escalation are all automated using NetSuite CRM+.
V&D: As India slowly plans for 5G in the coming years, the application of cloud services can be of great advantage to the telcos. How do you justify this?
AD: Telecom companies, given the very nature of their business, use large computing infrastructure to manage various aspects of their business, right from services to billing and CRM, among other things. In a 5G scenario, with MTM communications becoming a reality through IoT, cloud services can not only reduce resource requirements but also increase efficiencies.
Telecom companies today recognize the importance of ERP implementations if they must keep growing. In this context, and as stated earlier in reply to your first question, NetSuite can help them provide an omnichannel customer experience, the ease of financial consolidation, and in the management of multiple subsidiaries easily, much like it helps companies in many other sectors.
The world is in the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) and new technologies are changing the way industries and businesses operate. The Internet of things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are together playing a key role in IR 4.0, which will create smart factories.
In this pandemic-driven world, the world is already witnessing an increased use of IoT on the shop floor and 5G technology will play a key role as the world minimizes human interaction.
Even as we discuss this, Indian industry is trying to find opportunities in the midst of a crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic is providing enough opportunities to adopt 5G-IoT connectivity on a ubiquitous basis, with collateral benefits for much of the wider Indian subcontinent, for communities often left unserved or untouched by the telecom revolution. That is a huge market opportunity in itself!
Without a doubt, 5G will open up an entirely new world of opportunities for services that will seek to take advantage of the higher speeds and lower latencies that the technology offers. However, as with most big opportunities, there are challenges and risks for network operators and users alike.
And, despite all the challenges these uncertainties create, including the fact that 5G architectures/networks of the future will be complex, there is also enough evidence to suggest that a move towards a pervasive 5G environment will take place sooner than later and that it will be device-specific.
These 5G networks will also undoubtedly spur the introduction of the latest technologies like LoRaWAN, NB-IoT (Narrow Band IoT), among other things, which as we move forward, will become the glue for 5G and the Cloud to integrate and accelerate massive adoption over existing cloud networks.
I believe 5G technology will usher major improvements in the world of Cloud Computing largely because it is today an established fact that most technology innovation can be more efficient when they are cloud-dependent, and with 5G, in turn, improving integration with its low to zero latency making for smoother communications.
(Anusha Ashwin – firstname.lastname@example.org)