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Article   |   September 2020

Competitive Pressures

Faced with increasing competitive pressure from new communications players coupled with increasing bandwidth demands from customers, communications service providers (CSPs) have been compelled to diversify and adapt their product portfolios, organizational structures, and business models to maintain profitability and stay relevant in today’s dynamic environment. Disruptive Over-the-Top (OTT) services like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger have siphoned off market share from telecommunications and cable TV incumbents galvanizing a shift toward forming partnerships with key OTT players and prioritizing technology investment to bolster network infrastructures while enhancing operational efficiencies.

Expanded Possibilities Through Artificial Intelligence

To improve customer service, some telcos are turning to AI-powered chatbots to handle time-consuming and repetitive tasks, freeing up time for agents to address more complex issues. In a post-COVID-19 world, where work-from-home trends have driven meteoric demand for high-quality data and voice services, the need for 24/7 customer service availability has never been greater. While AI is being used to support the rise in demand, companies are also exploring ways to use the technology to improve the level of personalization of the services they offer. Through AI-enabled systems, they are able to send tailored notifications and promotional offers at opportune moments to help meet customers immediate needs boosting sales revenues.

Anticipating the Data Deluge

Although innovative AI technologies offer CSPs a range of options to better serve customers and secure competitive advantages, telcos must also prepare for the upcoming exponential growth in connected devices and the bandwidth surge this will ensue. According to Gartner, by 2021, the number of connected “things” will reach 25 billion. Many of these endpoints will be non-traditional connections such as sensor instruments, CCTV cameras, and smart home/office hardware which altogether representing a vast and growing web of new IoT devices. Telcos need to strengthen and expand their infrastructure to handle the massive traffic that these new data sources will introduce. While this requires significant capital expenditures, the growth in IoT also gives rise to a number of revenue generating opportunities where CSPs can leverage their decades of experience in managing large networks at scale to help them pivot into now also functioning as IoT service providers. Focusing on particular industries such as autonomous driving, smart city, or/and surveillance, CSPs can develop the requisite infrastructural backbone and digital platforms to facilitate the deployment, optimization, and analytics that are essential for supporting modern and future IoT-based services.

Taking 5G from Hype to Reality

Vaunted as a panacea for society’s insatiable bandwidth and low-latency demands, 5G technology is another major near-term priority within the industry. The potential for greater speed, reliability, and availability that 5G is expected to deliver will grant providers the ability to support new applications in areas such as remote healthcare, precision agriculture, and Industrial IoT. With 5G having reached the peak of its hype cycle (i.e. Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2019), consumer understanding and expectations are beginning to align more with the reality of what the current technology can deliver. Providers are undergoing pilot projects and tests as they attempt to roll out the technology to the mass market. The work is ongoing with wider deployments estimated for 2021.

The Nimble One Wins the Race

Despite the marked pressure that CSPs are facing, providers are finding ways to adapt to the latest innovative technologies. Areas such as OTT, AI, IoT, and 5G present both challenges but also opportunities for those telcos who are able to remain nimble and successfully chart out a path suited for their unique situation. Because of Cizmic’s agility, industry awareness, and experience, our team has helped numerous clients integrate these cutting edge technologies into their business in ways that directly improve their bottom line. Our data driven problem solving approach helps us craft strategies and solutions tailored to the specific target markets in which our clients operate. We are ready to help your organization navigate these complex paths and remain profitable for years to come. For more information on the suite of services we offer see our Expertise page.

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