Balancing Innovation and Efficiency in the Connected Economy

International Telecoms Week 2018 is soon upon us, bringing together operators from around the world to negotiate the essential partnerships that make the global connectivity that is crucial for modern communications a reality.

The key topics under discussion at this industry mainstay epitomizes the challenges of the telecoms industry overall—cutthroat margins offset against never-ending demands for innovation. Key trends include automated messaging to people and machines to drive revenue; AI and the benefits it brings to wholesale automation; the monetization models for 5G and how global connectivity provides an essential backbone for IoT, and the list goes on.

And yet, with all the innovation needed, the conundrum for many operators is funding new projects while maintaining profit margins. This reflects the dilemma in the intercarrier space, which has been transformed over the last decade from a high-performing profit center for carriers into an area with incredibly tight margins. This is because the voice interconnect business with its once lucrative revenues has fallen away dramatically with advent of free—or nearly free—OTT VoIP applications such as Skype and WhatsApp.

This means that those needing to invest in wholesale solutions for innovation are in parallel looking for more ways to cut costs and, ideally, to increase revenue. The typical telecoms wholesale division is now focused on the automation of previously manual processes as a source of efficiency and cost savings. Automation, through AI or otherwise, is essential as the number and types of partners boom with new business models and partners joining the wholesale community. Partners from content providers to OTT players are now an essential part of the ecosystem. Also, high on the agenda is revenue protection, from fraud detection with auto-blocking options to dispute and reconciliation management. Automation of these often intensely manual processes can provide quick wins in stemming leakages, increasing cost savings and boosting the top line directly.

Service providers are also looking at wholesale SaaS solutions—which have reached maturity in managing latency and scalability for carrier-grade operations. The value of SaaS solutions plays right into the heart of the innovation/efficiency seesaw. A cloud-based, out-of-the-box software solution that is always up-to-date automates operations through client interfaces and APIs to reduce costs and shifts expenditure from CAPEX to OPEX. SaaS solutions also include the latest functionality, from today’s challenges with origin-based rating and streamlining the latest regulatory compliance requirements to tomorrows unknown demands.

ITW is where the conversation about efficiency and innovation comes to life and helps mold the shape of our connected future. We’re looking forward to it!

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