The Convergence of Technologies and Industries: Implications for Telcos
Industry Lines Are Blurring
In the past, we had standalone bakeries, butchery and dry good shops. Now, we get access to all these in a single mega shopping mall such as Walmart. In the same way, the convergence of technology, much like it had been in the past, is transforming the way the telecommunications industry will operate and profit.
Just recently, the world’s leading e-tailer, Amazon, released its first smartphone. In an instant, a retailer is now a player in the telecommunications industry. At the same time, Amazon operates in the High-Tech sector with offerings such as cloud services. Industry verticals are becoming more integrated; the convergence of industries is evolving at an unprecedented rate.
Implication For Telcos
Time has eliminated many of the technological impediments to convergence. All voice and data services will eventually belong to a single data stream. Mobile phones will handle calls, instant messages, streaming television, applications, photographs and email. And converged networks will employ Internet protocol (IP), the architecture used by the World Wide Web.
Convergence – the integration of current products, technologies and industries that will lead to emergence of new, innovative and unique industries, products, technologies and competition in the future (as defined by Frost and Sullivan) – may make some services, such as radio and cable TV, obsolete. It, however, opens up a wealth of opportunities for existing communication service providers (CSPs) and entrepreneurs to exploit this trend.
Overcome Challenges To Succeed In A Time Of Rapid Convergence
In light of the increasing convergence of industries that compete in each other’s markets, it has created a situation where incumbent operators may not be natural winners. Instead, new entrants and other players such as ISPs and cable companies with deep customer-focused strategies might triumph. This is a clear challenge Telcos have to face squarely.
Some strategies that will be key to a Telco’s future success must include:
- Innovation of new services and new business models
- Smart management content across different countries with different content jurisdictions
- Provision of hyper-personalized 1:1 customer service
- Delivery all of these services through mobile devices
Offering new services enhances customer retention and counteracts a company’s services from becoming obsolete. What the Telco must see itself as now is being the medium of delivering content and the management of content to the end-user.
Knowing What The Customer Wants: Enablers Of Success
What we are witnessing today is the real explosion of digital revolution in which mobile technology, the power of Big Data and cloud computing has connected the world. These same technologies which had created the revolution can be harnessed for value-creation.
Take Big Data for example. By using scale-up, scale-down computing resources and advanced analytics software, the industry can make sense of rapidly growing volumes of data, and analyze Big Data in real-time to obtain actionable insights.
This can solve industry problems such as those related to churn analysis for enhanced market share or to create a seamless customer experience through a more complete and transparent view of customers. It can enable smarter and more intelligent marketing campaigns that allow the Telco to make purchase
recommendations to customers based on buying patterns as well as meet customers’ needs with a superlative brand experience through hyper personalization. What this can mean in terms of a competitive edge is the ability to choreograph completely tailored 1:1 dialogues with customers across
all channels, creating greater customer intimacy whether it is with traditional solutions or in the cloud, making technology innovations truly useful, simpler and more affordable than ever for Telco’s.
Expanding Convergence Necessitates Deep Expertise
The trend of converging industries looks set to expand. Healthcare, Transportation and Tourism is another area of convergence as we see medical tourism becoming more popular. Leveraging technology innovations such as Location based Services, Big Data and Predictive Analytics to resolve customer issues with healthcare quality and increased service levels by enabling a seamless experience. Retail and Financial Services are too are also converging through virtual shopping experiences and mobile payments. Sport, Entertainment and Retail are working via predictive analytics to enhance fans’ experience and influence customer purchasing behaviour.
As this mega trend continues to disrupt the Telcos’ way of doing business, it compels innovation – which makes looking towards experts with solutions backed by deep industry knowledge and expertise as well as coupled with flexibility critical. In an era of convergence radically different from the past, how are you taking proactive steps to transform? Will you remainthe key medium end-users look to for the delivery content and the management of content to themselves?