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Telecommunications and the digital experience platform

Robert Merlicek, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific and Japan, TIBCO | Oct. 25, 2017
Digitisation is profoundly changing the competitive boundaries of the telecom industry.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Changing Landscape of the Telecommunications Industry

Digitisation is profoundly changing the competitive boundaries of the telecom industry. The days of the telcos' autocratic monopoly control over their customers, when a phone connection seemed to be a privilege, are long gone. A fixed line at home was just that - a fixed line.  There were no phone jacks to allow you to move the phone from room to room.  And as far as customer service is concerned, older subscribers may remember having to book overseas calls months in advance, waiting for the operator to connect them, and paying for the privilege.

The digital revolution gave consumers unparalleled access to an amazing array of services: both voice and data, via mobile and fixed line. Social media has also opened up new communications channels beyond traditional voice service. Today, telcos are inundated every day with millions of terabytes of digital information from multiple sources.

What is perhaps surprising is their failure to develop a business model that would integrate this vast volume of data, in order to capitalise on its value and generate multiple customer service offerings.


The Digital Telecommunications Revolution

What is happening now is the next wave of the digital telecommunications revolution. According to McKinsey, the traditional telco business model is under attack from two disruptive directions - the advent of new consumer touchpoints represented by devices based on the Internet of Things, and Over The Top (OTT) business models that obviate the need for the telcos' role as a middleman.

A flood of data is now being generated by smart devices - watches, glasses and apparel, many related to health monitoring. These technologies facilitate new forms of engagement with customers that do not depend on telco mediation. We are also seeing an accelerating adoption of smart home technologies, measuring everything from the food we consume to our pattern of electricity use, and even analysis of the device's own physical condition.

At the same time, OTT brands like Netflix are sitting comfortably on top of broadband and mobile platforms, moving customers away from traditional bundling like pay-per-view packages, and offering a far wider choice of product, and garnering twice the loyalty of their traditional telecom counterparts.

This greater convergence between the physical and digital and intensive data usage is presenting telcos with opportunities and challenges which demand a rethink in terms of the partner models and eco systems used. Where previously, telcos could manage their channels as separate entities, today's customers are constantly demanding changes like new rate plans, value-add services, better and faster connectivity, and popular mobile applications. Telcos must constantly fight to keep up with the expectations of customers, and a lack of cohesion across various consumer touchpoints quickly undermine brand reputation and result in losing their customer base.


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