Hilary at Akixi explains about the challenges faced by the telecoms industry.
Just like every other sector in the newly digitized world, telecoms is in the midst of a significant transformation. The way that we communicate is evolving to suit an environment that demands more agility, opportunity, and flexibility.
In 2020, the first year of a new decade, the environment is rife with disruption, and changes in the telecoms industry are everywhere.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is now a standard of everyday communications, supplementing and enhancing the discussions between customers and brands.
5G technology is growing, paving the way to richer mobile experiences. There has also been an unprecedented rise in demand for new network services thanks to substantial growth in these unique markets.
According to the EY Digital Transformation (2020 and beyond) report, disruptive competition from vendors in the technology, service management, and other spaces, is the biggest challenge facing telco companies.
So, what are the other significant issues that communications companies will need to overcome going forward?
Let’s take a look.
Demand for Traditional Services Is Decreasing
While Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G have started to fuel more diversity in vendor product offerings, businesses using legacy tools have struggled to stay ahead of the curve.
Vendors in all environments need to expand their offerings, going beyond the basics of voice, to deliver everything from SMS to video.
The way that people are communicating is changing. Internet messaging, VoIP and other cloud-based technology is taking over the industry. Even smartphone traffic is moving to WiFi.
This means that businesses of all sizes need to consider how they’re going to evolve their service packages to suit the new cloud-focused community.
Not only do companies need to deliver the next generation of call and contact centre offerings to stay ahead of the game, but they need to ensure that these new services are reliable and practical too.
Customers are increasingly less accepting of drops in quality and performance.
The ability to monitor data in real time and check the quality of call traffic will be critical if communication companies are going to thrive. Communication services need to be faster, more agile, and more dependable than ever.
Security and the Risk of Data Breaches
Monitoring call and communication quality is crucial to ensuring that customers get the kind of telecom experience that they deserve.
However, tracking and understanding your communication life cycle will be essential to telecoms companies for another reason, too – data and privacy.
It has become increasingly important for telecommunications companies to make data security and privacy a key priority.
The Digital Media Trends Survey from Deloitte shows that customers are still terrified by the idea of identity theft and financial loss.
The result is that customers are demanding the same level of control over their personal data that they get when it comes to placing passwords on their bank accounts and email addresses.
Telecommunications firms will need to work harder to create environments where people can feel as safe as possible.
More Regulatory Scrutiny
This shift will also include a greater focus on GDPR and the way that data is captured in the new AI environment. Through virtual assistants and chatbots, telecommunications can improve customer service. However, AI also collects a lot of information.
Customers crave the personalized experiences that are available when businesses capture rich data, but they don’t want to compromise on how that data is protected and stored.
Telecommunications companies will need to ensure that their networks can protect the data that they collect and follow regulatory guidelines.
On the one hand, businesses will need the freedom to see what’s happening in their calls from beginning to end. Proper logging technology that allows organizations to keep a close eye on the communication strategies that they’re using will lead to enhanced service experiences.
On the other hand, the data that is captured needs to be carefully assessed, analysed, and stored according to guidelines that will only become stricter in the years ahead.
2020: The Year of 5G Adoption
The 5G action plan created by the European Union already includes access to uninterrupted 5G coverage by 2025 in the new vision of the future.
As well as being able to support a considerable increase (hundredfold) in connected devices, 5G will also offer things like improved data rates, better network slicing, and ultra-low latency.
This opens the gateways for new services, network operation, customer experience, and more.
5G has the potential to truly change the role of telecoms companies.
These businesses will evolve from being distributors of technology to full-service providers too. This could mean that telecoms companies are engaging more regularly with enterprise customers, governments, and other groups.
It may also mean working with other technology companies to build more effective communication apps in the 5G landscape.
While 5G may just be in the build phase for now, as people come to understand its potential, we will begin to see a new wave of business built on this strategy.
The Demand for More Thoughtful Companies
As the experience continues to stand out as the most important differentiating factor for many companies, consumers are searching for brands that can understand their needs and deliver exceptional results.
With in-depth reporting tools, organizations can place themselves in a better position to deal with things like rising and falling demands in staffing levels or trends in customer experience.
However, customers on the hunt for better experiences aren’t just relying on their vendors to deliver solutions that benefit them.
Tomorrow’s generation also wants telecoms to think more carefully about how they impact the planet. An IEEE article on broadband communications illustrates that telecommunications companies consume some of the biggest volumes of energy in the world.
In a decade that opened with events including a global pandemic and Australia burning, sustainability is at the height of our concerns as a community.
Moving away from plastic on the desk and into software and cloud-based solutions may be one way to make businesses more energy-efficient in this new environment.
On the other hand, merely evaluating your communication system and looking for ways to optimize the way that you use your equipment could make sustainability more accessible too.
Gearing Up for More New Technology
Everywhere we look, the demand for new and disruptive technology is growing.
Artificial intelligence has officially changed the way that we interact on a fundamental level. We have entered a time when many of us use voice commands instead of text to interact with machines.
At the same time, businesses are embracing remote working and video-first cultures to reduce costs and improve work/life balance.
The integration of IoT into our everyday world is looming ever closer, with billions of connected devices already in the marketplace. Platforms that support high levels of connectivity will be essential in this new environment.
What’s more, telecoms companies will need to think more carefully about how they can deliver end customers the flexibility and extensibility that they need.
Even concepts like robotic process automation and computing at the edge could deliver their share of challenges and opportunities.
On the one hand, things like robotic process automation will reduce the frequency of mundane processes, allowing employees to concentrate more of their efforts on creative challenges.
On the other hand, these kinds of tech mean more monitoring for IT teams and more planning when it comes to things like data protection too.
Preparing for the Future
It’s difficult to know for sure what the future might look like in the communication landscape. What we do know is that the environment is becoming more sophisticated and advanced by the day.
This means that if businesses want to stay ahead of the curve and deliver the results that their customers and shareholders expect, they need the right plan. It’s not enough to simply jump on the latest trends as soon as they arrive.
Business leaders need to assess the current gaps and issues in their communication strategy and look for ways to fix existing problems.
Those who are ready to embrace opportunities from the new environment, like 5G and AI, will need a plan for monitoring the performance of their tools and ensuring that they’re not swapping reliability for innovation.