The digital revolution, driven by high-speed internet connectivity and a plethora of software products and services has become the backbone of social, economic, and technological prosperity today. Communication systems are evolving. As the technology landscape matures and provides more robust solutions to help enterprises and businesses navigate a complex, dynamic, and competitive business world, new and creative business models, products, and services are emerging to fulfil consumer demands.
The telecom sector has a pivotal role to play in this dynamic new age.
Here is a look at five new-age digital solutions that telecom leaders should care about
CPaaS and telecom
The CPaaS market has been on an incremental and steady rise. The demand for cloud communications expanded use cases and prompted new suppliers to enter the market. CPaaS, or Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS), allows organizations to cherry-pick real-time communications features, such as voice, video, and messaging, and embed them into business apps and services. This delivery model allows organizations to customize their communication stack and allows employees to communicate with each other and with customers on a platform and device they want.
CPaaS is cloud-based and software-driven and allows application developers and product owners to tap into and leverage digital and mobile features without having to build or locate any of the expensive physical network infrastructures.
While API providers and network owners are riding the CPaaS wave, it is time for telecom providers to identify how to cash in as well. Telecom providers often do not partner with CPaaS developers since they offer few APIs. The process infrastructure also tends to increase the time-to-market.
However, telecom leaders have the opportunity to get a share of the CPaaS pie since they have access to mass telephony. The cost and routing control, the database of phone numbers, and SIP or traditional switch infrastructure can be put to use to deliver a value proposition for CPaaS.
That apart, telecom companies can extend their services to a wider range of sectors such as entertainment, gaming, fintech, social media, etc. to advance their projects that blend video, voice, text, data analysis, and interactive communications and help deliver better feature-rich services.
Forecasts estimate that there will be more than 50 billion connected IoT devices in use across the globe by 2030. The greatest advantage that the telecom companies have is that of the infrastructure that exists with mobile phone towers and internet cables infrastructure serving the groundwork for creating new solutions and services based on 5G and IoT.
The IoT market is also expected to reach $381.16 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 24% as IoT use cases and industry adoption continues to increase rapidly. Apart from the use of IoT in home automation where the role of the telecom providers becomes that of providing exceptional mobile and network connectivity, there are significant opportunities for telecom companies to leverage in industries such as manufacturing, security, agriculture, logistics, smart cities, etc. that run on IoT.
Especially as 5G arrives, there will be a need for IoT specialists to help telecom companies implement the technology into existing infrastructure and business processes. Some telecom companies might need to build their own IoT platforms that aid the development of custom products and services to meet customer needs.
Telecom can not only help organizations adopt IoT to drive better outcomes but can develop IoT-linked products and services. IoT connectivity services and data storage and management are the usual suspects of where telecom providers come into the picture. Telcos can also provide better data and analytics from IoT-generated data and help businesses extract valuable insights from raw metrics.
Telecom leaders can drive real-time asset monitoring by employing extended communications networks in conjunction with cloud computing to collect signals from embedded devices and deliver them to the industry-tailored applications.
By adding IoT to their offering mix, telecom leaders can increase revenues by offering IoT services and solutions, retaining clients, and attracting new ones.
Edge computing is gradually becoming a mainstay in the digital solutions toolbox especially as 5G explodes onto the scene. Analysts reveal that almost 75% of enterprise-generated data is expected to be created and processed outside the cloud or the traditional data centre by 2025. Most cloud computing giants such as AWS and Google are not ready for operating in massively distributed and remote edge environments.
The need to run edge computing at a massively distributed scale and the increasing reliance on the cloud to enable remote/hybrid work has accelerated the race to 5G adoption. With edge computing coming into the picture, telecom leaders have a greater chance for market dominance. This is because the hyperscale data centre advantage demonstrated by public cloud providers becomes irrelevant at the edge even though the uniform software stack advantage persists.
With 5G, organizations can distribute workloads to run at the Edge and reshape cloud computing and user experiences. 5G offers increased distribution, greater network speed and reliability, and the capability to provide new experiences because of reduced latency. These experiences will be powered by applications running on the network edge in contrast to running in the cloud.
For telcos, this means accelerating their move from a hardware-driven appliance model into a software-defined architecture and developing the capabilities and taking advantage of open-source technologies like Kubernetes as a potential foundation for 5G deployment. Delivering higher performance, lower latency, distributed scale, and stringent SLAs will become essential for telecoms as 5G and Edge become the next cloud disrupters.
Rich Communication Service (RCS)
RCS or Rich Communication Service is now emerging as the successor of SMS services. RCS is a feature-rich messaging service that allows organizations to create richer conversations with their customers. RCS delivers the eye-catching function of OOT applications and also leverages the unbeatable reach of SMS.
While RCS is not going to replace OTT applications, native messaging based on RCS is the next evolution of operator-led SMS and will play a big role in the new messaging environment. Customers are also ready to embrace RCS with some major brands already leveraging RCS heavily.
Telecom leaders have to work towards providing fully interoperable, RCS-based cross-operator advanced messaging platforms and develop the right partnerships with aggregators, and connectivity service providers to ride the RCS boom.
AR and VR
AR and VR are attracting a lot of attention today as these technologies are in the next stage of delivering new value propositions. They are now moving out of the realm of gaming and finding real-world applications across industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, worker safety, and compliance, aviation, oil, and gas, etc.
Telecom providers can dip their toes in the AR and VR pool since they are an essential part of the ecosystem. They help with the discovery and delivery segment and help subscribers find differentiated AR experiences.
While telecom companies do not stand great monetization opportunities directly from AR presently, they can leverage AR to drive better operational excellence with improved network inspection/maintenance, repairs, inventory management, workforce training, customer service, etc. using AR-based remote assistance.
Interestingly, the rise of digital solutions and the pursuant push towards digital transformation also demands a convergence between IT and telecom. Whether it is IoT, CPaaS, Edge computing, RCS, or the use of immersive technologies such as AR and VR, the telecom sector has a role to play as the enabler of everything.