2018: The Year of Business Co-opetition, Competition and Transformation

2017 saw a great deal of shake-up in the communications and entertainment industries – with disruption rippling in from all directions. The social media era gave content offerings a face-lift in 2017, and short-form, original content provided revenue opportunities for every provider. The entrance of tech giants including Apple, Facebook and Google into the video content arena not only furthered the disruption initiated by Netflix and Amazon in 2016, but also presented opportunities for streaming, tech and cable providers to work together.

Meanwhile, across the telecom sector and many others as well, organizations began wrapping their heads around the wide range of new technologies, skills and strategies needed to effectively translate the Internet of Things into real business value.

So, what’s in store for 2018? We tapped some of our experts to get a sense of what is on their mind when it comes to the trends that will drive digital transformation in the year ahead:

Co-opetition and competition

Brice Clinton, Senior Engineer, CSG: “A new wave of broadcast and OTT co-opetition is upon us.”

Comcast and Netflix were among the first Pay-TV and OTT providers to look past historical rivalries and partner to keep subscribers within the Pay-TV provider ecosystem – while extending the reach of OTT services to the large, already-existing, Pay-TV subscriber pools. The enhanced customer experiences achieved through Pay-TV/OTT partnerships sparked an industry-wide co-opetition phenomenon, which will continue into 2018.

The next evolution of co-opetition will primarily involve broadcasters and OTT providers. Broadcasters will extend campaigns to OTT apps – developing affordable streaming offerings that are highly configurable to viewers’ tastes. The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality will motivate network and content providers and aggregators to work more closely together to service a common target audience.  This convergence will also allow more access to customer data – empowering providers to deliver interactive and engaging advertisements centered around individual preferences.

Ken Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Technology and Product, CSG: “2018 will see vertical comparisons break down when it comes to defining the customer experience.”

The word ‘industry’ is becoming obsolete as lines are blurring between cable and telecom; between communications and entertainment providers. As we look ahead to 2018, we will see these industry categories further break down when it comes to defining the customer experience. Uber has established a new standard of on-demand service on a global scale –  to the point where “the Uber experience” and “the Uber economy” are widely used and understood phrases.  Following suit, brands (regardless of their origin industry), will look for new ways to open their business models to both replicate and compete with successful elements of the customer experience offered by players like Uber.

Embracing new technologies – and corresponding business opportunities

Chad Dunavant, Vice President of Product Management, CSG: “The ‘Internet of Things’ will evolve into the ‘Internet of Everything.’”

Gartner projects that there will be over 20 billion connected devices by 2020. Specifically looking to 2018, the “Internet of Things” will seem more like the “Internet of Everything.”

In the face of widespread connectivity to be seen in 2018, service providers would be doing themselves a disservice in overlooking the connected home market (projected to exceed $9 billion by 2021).

Despite speculations that many in-home connected devices will “self-install,” eliminating the need for human intervention to connect these elements –  consumers will want human help more than ever before to build connections between the machines in their homes. In fact, our recent market survey polled 2,000 consumers across the globe to discover how the connected home will become more connected – and uncovered that 67 percent of consumers will feel not at all confident to install multiple devices on their own. Additionally, 84 percent of survey respondents believe that consumers will want help from a skilled technical resource to connect just two-five devices. As smart home devices become part of daily life, service providers are given a huge opportunity to capitalize on the booming connected home market by evolving the skillsets and offerings of their field service technicians.

Keeping pace in the digital transformation race

Ken Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Technology and Product, CSG: “You have to walk before you run: transforming business models is the key to transforming for digital.”

In 2018, we will see communications service providers prioritize a focus on core business transformation, as well as further developing B2B business models and centering operations around an agile business model that is able to continually embrace and deliver the latest technologies.

Business opportunities and challenges ahead

Transformation will likely continue as service providers are pressed to create compelling and engaging content and experiences for tomorrow’s consumers. As the “Internet of Things” evolves into the “Internet of Everything” – organizations around the globe and across market verticals will be presented with a whole new set of business opportunities (and corresponding challenges).

Looking forward to seeing what 2018 has in store!

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