With 2019 well underway, we’ve uncovered six new trends that are transforming the telecom industry, sourced directly from our global experts in the field.
1. Customer experience continues to shape the conversation – Brian Shepherd, Executive Vice President and Group President
The exponential pace of change driven by consumer demands is forcing businesses to reinvent the services they provide and the way in which they provide them. With over five billion mobile users in the world today, it is not enough for companies to focus solely on their networks and technology; it also requires a fundamental shift in their business model and processes to provide their customers with a digital experience that builds brand loyalty and wallet share.
The winners in the Digital Age will be those that can successfully simplify their legacy business processes, leverage the power of new technologies such as cloud and 5G, monetize new services, and transform terabytes of data into real-time insights that deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.
2. 5G Picks Up Steam – Brice Clinton, Senior Engineer, Ascendon
5G isn’t expected to be commercially available until 2020, but service providers aren’t waiting until then to start trialing new use cases. At the Olympics, Korea Telecom and Intel partnered to support 4K and 8K streaming over 5G test stations. At MWC19 all four major American carriers announced their intentions to launch 5G in 2019, and in October 2018, Verizon began offering its 5G Home broadband service.
We predict that 2019 will be the year 5G really comes into its own. Twenty-five service providers around the world plan to launch 5G in 2019, with increased speed and lower latency supporting use cases like immersive content (augmented reality, virtual reality) and high-resolution video. And while initial industry excitement may come from consumer applications, expect to see some movement around enterprise-specific applications of 5G, such as autonomous vehicles and massive machine-type-communications (connecting billions of sensors and devices).
3. Blockchain Will Connect Consumers with Content – Chad Dunavant, Head Global Product Management
Meet blockchain for content. Most people immediately associate Blockchain technology with cryptocurrency, specifically bitcoin. These virtual, decentralized currencies are the most prevalent (and obvious) use, but in 2019 blockchain will permeate to other industries.
As content sources become less centralized, the ability for content creators to go directly to consumers and monetize in new ways grows in tandem. Creators are starting to use blockchain to monetize their content either through the community of fans upvoting content and being rewarded for popularity, or via direct payments using proprietary coins built on the blockchain. Secure in this knowledge, in April, CSG announced the launch of the first Blockchain Technology Lab for the Wholesale BSS Industry.
4. Smart Cities Will Be Built Out – Ian Watterson, Head of Americas and Asia-Pacific
In 2019, there will be more than 10 billion IoT connections worldwide—4 billion of which will be industrial connections. These industrial connections are an essential part of capturing and transmitting data to power smart city use cases like smart lighting, heating, metering and smart grid.
In years past, service providers’ networks didn’t have the capacity to OR were unable to handle the amount of data produced by IoT devices. With more device connections coming online and the development of a 5G network that’s ready to support those connection, we predict the first truly smart city to be built in 2019. Major metropolitan hubs in countries like the U.S., China and India are leading their own smart city initiatives—it’s just a matter of who will get there first.
5. Field Service Takes on A New Role – Lonnie Mahrt, Head of Customer Communications Management
As consumers start using more connected devices, field service technicians will need to be able to manage all newly connected devices. As shown in our Connected Services survey last year, 84 percent of consumers said they would want help from a skilled technical resource to connected just two to five devices.
In 2019, we predict that field service technicians will have expanded roles, moving beyond the cable box to devices like smartphones, washers and dryers. We also anticipate technicians providing consumers with more Uber-like experiences, where they can view technician status and drive time, and schedule technicians on demand. Technicians will also be able to use augmented and virtual reality to aid them in installing and repairing devices.
6. Goodbye “digital transformation, hello “digital journey” – Haifa El Ashkar, Executive Director, Managed Services
In 2019 brands will realize that digital transformation is not a blanket term that applies to everyone – each organization is different with its own unique set of needs and challenges. Companies will instead embrace the ongoing “digital journey,” wherein they take a flexible approach to continuous waves of innovation that support business outcomes centered upon customer benefits. In turn, fostering brand loyalty and increased revenue opportunities.