25 Mar 2021

Reshaping telecoms' future through emerging technologies

Technological advances are changing the way Telecommunications companies operate and do business. Telecoms have effectively responded during COVID-19 pandemic without disruption by ensuring continuity of services when the demand skyrocketed. They are now gearing up on a rapid scale by applying operation changes, deploying system thinking and building a resilient future. 2021 onwards will be the years of ample opportunities and finding solutions on the lesson learned from the pandemic. The top emerging technologies trends to watch out for are: 

Expansion of ‘5G’ 

5G would gain momentum and the Telecom industry would cater to its ever-changing demand of high-speed connectivity with enhanced user experience. 5G would help to work better in today’s new normal enabling video calls, gaming, streaming or online learning.  

For businesses it would mean building new agile models, skills, products and services facilitating to move the UK economy towards a new horizon. Telcos can create 5G use cases wide spreading from manufacturing and healthcare, to education and automobile disrupting the digital sector. Internet of Things (IoT) and connected sensors will provide enterprises and operators a data rich environment leading to faster and informed decisions. 

The Importance of ‘Edge Computing’ 

The Edge Computing ecosystem is vast and is gaining momentum. Edge computing brings the processing capabilities closer to the location that takes place on the device in real time which eliminates sending to the cloud data centre and reduces latency. This makes the data more relevant and useful to the end user with higher speeds. Edge computing also reduces overall network traffic which improves performance giving benefits to businesses and their customers. Not only this, it also improves network security by providing local encryption and security features at low cost.  

5G and Edge Computing are two inextricably linked technologies and extremely compatible. 5G will boost the network capacity which will play a significant part offering rich data transfer and benefitting Streaming data and analytics, Industrial IoT (IIoT), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) etc. It will help increase speed by up to ten times than 4G to improve the throughput of large amounts of data to be processed in real-time. 

Embracing ‘Open RAN’ 

Open RAN will introduce new competitive dynamics into the network infrastructure currently operated by a handful of companies. Open RAN allows software and hardware components from disparate manufacturers to interoperate and remove the supplier lock-in of proprietary systems. This would result in more options for the Operators enabling innovation such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Open RAN is gaining growth in the UK in improving connectivity in rural communities contributing to the diversification of supply chain and innovation of network transformation. 

Transformation leveraging ‘Artificial Intelligence’ (AI) 

One of the popular drivers for growth of Telecom is AI. Operators are already excited for AI and ML and started optimizing operations and services to gain competitive advantage. According to Gartner, Telcos investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies for improving their infrastructure planning, operation, and products will rise from 30% in 2020 to 70% in 2025, AI is helping automate repetitive tasks improving customer experience, saving time, reducing cost, generating new revenue, and achieving the scale. AI-driven predictive analytics are one of the latest trends helping Telecoms provide better services by utilizing data, sophisticated algorithms and machine learning techniques to predict future results based on historical data.  

Right-skilling and Preparing for the future 

Over the years, technological changes remain as one of the major factors changing the nature of work and impact on skills. The pandemic has exposed the shortage of tech skills to deliver the large-scale transformation projects rapidly. The organisations need to swiftly shape the people strategy with a mission to transform, inspire and redesign the work experience. This involves companies investing profoundly on their workforce to build skills for tomorrow by fostering continuous learning, upskilling and reskilling. Further, the companies can also navigate the skill gaps by attracting talents with niche skills to stand out from the rest of the pool. Likewise, the employees need to understand and adapt to these emerging changes and invest in developing skills of the future. 

Guest blog by Bhupender Tuteja, HCL Technologies UK Limited, a seasoned professional with 20+ years of experience across Telecom, Energy & Utilities, Media, Smart Cities, Smart Metering IoT domain with expertise in Digital Transformation, IT Transformation, Digital enabling of Business, Strategy Planning, Technology & Innovation Leadership, Product Development, Application & Software Development, Program & Delivery Management, Operations & Transition Management. 

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