The telecom industry is currently going through another transformation. The industry has already changed drastically since the era of the internet began in earnest in the late 90s and early 2000s. It is now going through a similarly significant transition.
The rapid increase in the amount of communication and business being done in the cloud has enormous ramifications for telecom providers. These organizations must also keep up with advances in IoT and Artificial Intelligence. As with any significant transition, this emerging era of telecoms provides many challenges and many opportunities for those providers prepared to adapt. Focusing on providing customised services that can be adapted to your users’ needs and developing long-term relationships will remain crucial for telecom providers in this new era.
Telecoms companies have always had to quickly adapt their services to new realities in order to remain competitive, and this time is no different. In this article, we discuss some of the challenges and opportunities in the telecoms industry in 2020.
Telecom companies must be prepared to meet increasingly diverse demands from their customers. This means IT and connectivity infrastructure must grow and become more adaptable. Customers expect service that is affordable, reliable, fast, easy to use, and secure. Telecom companies must quickly adapt to meet this demand by developing and diversifying their service while keeping costs down and managing security risks.
As technology develops, new security threats emerge. This means that telecoms companies must train staff to identify and deal with new threats as they arise. Platforms must also be designed to use AI to identify and neutralise security threats.
In the coming years, artificial intelligence will become increasingly important in our communications. Technology will be required to learn routines and processes to increase the efficiency of daily tasks and transactions. Telecom IT must, therefore, have the capacity to function alongside AI while maintaining efficiency and security.
Effects of the Pandemic
The outbreak of Covid-19 has had a dramatic effect on every aspect of society. It will continue to do so for some time to come. The virus has presented a range of new challenges for the telecoms industry. Online customer support has become even more crucial in the absence of physical shops. Customers require direct, personalised assistance without speaking to staff in person.
As more people are working from home and more business is being done online and over the phone, fast, reliable and secure service has also become even more essential. Users also want support from real, expert staff members, rather than automated responses which can be inefficient and frustrating.
It has become even more important for telecom providers to provide immediate solutions to network and connectivity issues even as resources become stretched. Financial overheads have also been increased by the need to introduce or improve capacity for online processing around invoicing, billing, order fulfilment, customer support and other transactions.
New systems and technology also come with new security risks. Telecom providers must introduce or adapt systems quickly while making sure they are fully secure. Reliable authentication features and secure connections are becoming even more important.
IoT – Internet of Things
IoT will continue to become more influential in how we communicate, do business, and organise our homes. Gartner estimates that there will be almost twenty billion devices connected through IoT by the end of 2020 and that IoT providers will create $300 billion USD in revenue.
As IoT increases the connectivity of devices, it also increases the demands on telecom providers. Incorporating IoT into your service offering is essential. It will also open up new opportunities in terms of remote management, monitoring, security, and the adaptation of IT infrastructure. Particularly as more people work from home, the ability of IoT to support these processes and to manage them remotely will become more valuable.
Adapting effectively to IoT will help telecoms companies provide better service for customers. It will also help those businesses operate more efficiently internally. Adapting existing infrastructure towards IoT and offering staff training in IoT and M2M will help telecom companies adapt successfully to the new reality.
5G – Telecom technology that will change our lives
5G will be one of the dominant issues for telecom providers this year and beyond. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) estimates that 5G will account for 15% of the global mobile industry by 2025. Companies must be ready to meet 5G requirements. The technology will lead to faster internet, and providers must be ready to keep up in terms of capacity, security and flexibility.
Telecom providers will need to utilise low-latency edge networks that are maintainable, flexible, affordable and secure. More dense, complex networks will be required. It will also be important to keep costs down with regards to setup, maintenance, management, security, and testing. Systems must also be ready to adapt quickly to new security threats.
Telecom companies that adapt to 5G quickly will be able to take advantage of new opportunities with regards to remote management and maintenance. They will be able to provide customers with efficient, comprehensive support. 5G will also use distributed networks without a single point of failure and platforms that will be able to proactively identify security threats. 5G also allows bandwidth to be split into separate channels, which are separately secured. This means that telecom companies using 5G effectively can provide a more secure service.
The increased points of contact between customers and their IoT devices will also allow telecom companies to gather and analyse more user data if they are set up to do so. This will to provide more effective service and support.
It is a transformational time for telecoms. This will present some serious challenges. However, it will also create exciting opportunities for companies prepared to take them.