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ANALYSIS

Telecoms: Building blocks for digital transformation

LONDON, August 12, 2017

As the digital revolution unfolds, one industry in particular plays a pivotal role. Telecom companies provide the fundamental building blocks—access, interconnectivity and applications—enabling this digital revolution to take place,a report said.

Creating a solid, sound foundation for digitalization is key, with a potential $2 trillion at stake for the industry and society through 2025, said Accenture, a global management consulting company in its new report titled "Telecom companies: Building blocks for the digital revoltion".

Telecom companies need to deliver essential infrastructure, applications and productivity improvements in many areas for global digitalization to realize its full potential. With 44 zettabytes forecast as annual data flow in 2020 (equivalent to 44 trillion gigabytes)—and no slowdown in sight— the time to begin transformation is now, starting with their own business model.

Four main areas of digital impact for telecom companies

Accenture sees four main areas of digital impact for telecom companies over the next several years:

Networks of the future

Virtualizing the current physical hardware layer promises to fundamentally change the basis of future service, by creating self-optimizing and secure zero-touch networks.

For instance, AT&T has emerged as a leading digital adopter, pioneering Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV). The company aims to cover and control up to 75 percent of its network using SDN and NFV technologies by 2020.

Its Domain 2.0 vision for its networks includes rich Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that manage, control and consume services on demand and in real time, and common infrastructure that can be provisioned as data-center pods. This initiative will help create a blueprint for other global carriers to follow.

Beyond the pipe

The increased digital transformation of consumers’ lives and businesses presents the telecom industry with important opportunities to extend revenue streams beyond connectivity, through integrated internet of things (IoT) solutions, consumer and enterprise digital services, and reimagined models of digital communication leveraging advances in natural human interfaces and augmented reality/virtual reality.

Semiconductor specialist Qualcomm is already building interoperable Internet of Things (IoT) offerings across diverse sectors of its business. By developing advanced chipsets and modules to bring various IoT use cases to life, it is moving towards building a comprehensive, cross-sector suite of IoT solutions that help companies and users overcome some of the largest challenges around interoperability and integration. Qualcomm Life, for instance, is an end-to-end, open and device-agnostic healthcare platform that integrates healthcare devices, stores and communicates health information, and provides remote monitoring.

Redefining customer engagement

To win the race for customer loyalty and mindshare, telecom industry players will need to increasingly deploy features and tools that deliver delightful digital experiences. This goal is especially important as customers now expect the high-quality digital experiences they receive in one industry to be matched by companies in other sectors.

A large UK-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), GiffGaff, has increased customer engagement by doing something that sounds counterintuitive, at first blush. The company completely eliminated its call-center-based customer service model. Instead, it developed an online community where its own members share and resolve queries. In doing so, the company not only saved a massive amount of money, but was also able to significantly drive up customer engagement.

The company’s transparency and customer centricity (it sends users a text message every month on how they can save money on their phone plans) has allowed it to surpass more than 160 other MVNOs in the country in size, to become the third largest.

GiffGaff’s innovations in this area show that customers are willing to shift to new models of customer service, a traditional pain-point for major operators, and still be delighted.

Bridging the gap on innovation

The need for rapid innovation, greater convergence and new services means that telecoms must fill capability gaps using new innovation models and revamped talent strategies for a digital workforce.

For example, Telecom Italia has launched the Joint Open Labs initiative, which creates collaborative research platforms between itself, academic institutions and external research laboratories. These platforms also incubate start-ups focusing on their areas of interest. Other “outside-in” models include Nokia’s Open Innovation Challenge, which combines crowdsourcing and partnerships with digital companies. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: telecoms | Accenture | Digital revolution |

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