Telecommunication companies are faced with shifting tides and a shaky future. Several alternative connectivity services are rising, which threaten not just the dominance of telcos, but their complete relevance in modern-day society.
As internet-based and digital economies giants increase in value and resources, they’re starting to look into providing the same service they rely on big telecom companies to do. Ever heard of Google Fiber and Google Fi? What about Elon Musk and SpaceX, a spacecraft manufacturing business that’s set their sites on creating satellite-based internet access?
That’s only a couple firms of probably several who are considering the move but the foreseeable impact of these two is undoubtedly powerful. Whether it’s a win for consumers or simply a turnover of power from old players to new ones, it’s still hazy. For telecom operations, it’s bad news. The urgency to expand their portfolios of products is definitely at throbbing levels to avoid being reduced to commodity wholesalers of network services and data, competing mainly on price. The problem is to what direction should they shift their attention to? What should telcos be focusing on in 5-10 years?
1. Content Production Through Social Media
This was the strategy a Southeast Asian telecom planned to adopt. While there are no updates if they’ve taken it further, the company’s chairman, Manuel Pangilinan, shared that user-generated content is an option they were looking into.
He explicitly said there was “no future” for their business if they were to stay the same then speculated that media would soon merge with the telecom industry. “[We need to] move firmly into the social media, social networking and internet space before they move into ours and eat our lunch.”
Why focus on social media, though, and not create Netflix? For context, online streaming subscriptions like Netflix weren’t big in the region around the time the chairman made the statement. Also, he said the allure of social media is other people create the content, unlike with traditional forms. For example, “Your television content is not user-generated, somebody else produces content, your [series], your news, even your radio commentaries.”
It would be a wise move if pursued. Research shows that social media platforms have impacted the telecom industry through a widely-embraced communication strategy and the assurance of accurate information.
2. Big Data
One of the main advantages of the internet is being able to track and measure results more easily and more accurately, with the right software, compared to other channels. Telecommunication businesses have an advantage in this, having access to different kinds of information such as the geography of users, devices used, and more.
While some industry players have begun utilizing them, there’s still a lot more to be improved. Data is the bread and butter for many because it eases the execution of business strategy, even molding it. Here are a few of the variety of fields that rely heavily on data gained through the internet.
A lot of data used for hospitals are information shared within their system but internet and web development have made online reporting systems, health tracking, and wearable tech possible.
As technology becomes more sophisticated, doctors and governments are better able to make critical decisions, track trends, and develop better treatments, such as for cancer.
Data gives firms better understanding into their customers and allow them to tailor relevant campaigns accordingly. It not only means attractive but also valuable content and offers. The internet has moved marketing away from the hit-and-miss of television, billboards and other means.
Systems integrated with the internet allow for faster, even real time, updates of your transactions. That’s why customers expect their current balance to be immediately reflected when they log in to your bank’s mobile app. It also helps them spot red flags immediately, protecting clients from fraud and theft.
Data has become part of the framework to how organizations, from businesses to non-profits to governments, conduct their day-to-day functions. So much so that data gathering isn’t a surprise anymore. What’s essential, but often overlooked, isn’t the amount collected but the ethics in gathering input, what they’re applied to, and how well they’re used.
3. Internet of Things (IoT)
Creating seamlessly flowing lives needs the syncing and automation of different technologies that we use across tasks. For that, manufacturers have begun introducing devices, like light switches, and big items, such as appliances and electronics, that connect to the wifi. The smart TV has been around for a while but did you know about the smart fridge? Or the smart washing machine?
Even blinds and shutters can be set up to activate on voice command. The vision for IoT isn’t limited to simply being able to talk to your devices but they’d be able to communicate with each other. Imagine alarm clocks signaling the coffee maker when to start brewing so it’s ready at the exact time when it’s needed. The fridge would order preset groceries once food is low and the delivery will be on its way before anyone realizes what’s happening.
In fact, Google and Amazon are now competing for the smart home industry with devices that serve as the hubs, the Google Home and Amazon Echo. The latter is the most popular with their famous character and the customer’s personal assistant, Alexa. The possibilities are endless and while that idea of the future could very much change, we imagine whoever ends up dominating tomorrow’s largely smart homeworld would be one of the most powerful companies.
This fluid connectedness between various parts of the home all relies on the internet connection and the infrastructure of telecommunications companies. It wouldn’t be a complete pivot and more like an additional service building on what the industry already provides. Target markets involved are already ones the company is familiar with but with a more updated lifestyle closely tied up with modern tech.
Innovation has never been seen at such a scale as we have today, so telecoms won’t run out of options of what to shift to anytime soon. What matters is a clear understanding of the company’s values, mission and goals, and the strategic utilization of current resources. Leveraging by partnering with companies that already have a footing across different tech and tech-related solutions would fill any gaps in expertise and assets. Book a meeting with a trusted brand such as Forest-Interactive.