The success of telecommunications companies today depends largely on their adoption rate of new technology. The shift from simple phone banks to omnichannel contact centers involves the integration of multiple technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing. The widespread deployment of 5G networks will also enhance the experience of contact center customers, who increasingly expect answers on demand. These technologies will necessarily increase the need for privacy and security in 2020.
AI currently plays a vital role in telecommunications through the use of chatbots and virtual assistants, which are now essential for customer service. It’s also being used with increasing frequency to optimize networks and predict their maintenance requirements. Telecoms generally experienced a loss of trust from both the public and regulatory authorities in 2019, largely as the result of several high-profile data breaches. This backlash is expected to continue in 2020 as regulators like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) increase their scrutiny of large telecoms, especially their data security. Telecoms will continue to strengthen their reliance on AI as the number of devices connected to the internet grows, making direct human monitoring of networks increasingly impractical.
Cloud computing was one of the most important telecom technologies in 2019, but it wasn’t often implemented to the extent needed to fully leverage its benefits. The adoption rate of the cloud will increase greatly in 2020, resulting in the introduction of many new services and a reduction in costs. This capability will make telecoms more competitive in an increasingly globalized market, while also providing the flexibility of adjusting to localized fluctuations in service demands. The on-demand service model of the cloud allows telecoms to easily scale services with a virtual call center, which is essential for controlling costs as a company grows. Telecoms can also improve their operational efficiency by migrating their call center software to the cloud, which is much less vulnerable to localized service outages.
Telecoms must maintain complex infrastructure since they routinely serve as gateways to many other businesses. Furthermore, this role requires them to store large amounts of sensitive data on their networks, making them highly attractive targets to hackers. Telecoms must take stronger measures to reduce their vulnerability to both direct attacks like distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and indirect attacks from malware. These solutions require them to implement infrastructure, processes, and talent that will provide the resiliency needed to withstand the well-coordinated attacks that will inevitably occur in 2020.
Internet of Things
The widespread use of the IoT will be one of the data trends in telecom for 2020, primarily due to its ability to provide remote locations with access to centralized networks. Most telecoms will increase their adoption of IoT to leverage this benefit, allowing them to monitor their data centers remotely, thus reducing network downtime. The role of telecoms in providing internet connectivity also means that they’ll be able to offer their own IoT services to the rapidly growing IoT market. Key drivers in this process include the revenue increase from the other technologies that telecoms acquire. IoT billing is also set to disrupt the telecom industry in 2020.
The use of over-the-top (OTT) services allowed telecoms to offer text messaging and voice calling on their 3G networks in 2019. However, the revenues from these legacy services will be eroded by more innovative technology such as 5G in 2020. The widespread adoption of 5G will require telecoms to diversify their services to remain competitive with enterprise and individual consumers.
This process requires telecoms to exploit technologies as they emerge, rather than simply increasing their capacity of existing services. This requirement generally means that telecoms must offer more digital services, especially streaming services for mobile devices. Telecoms that invest in transforming their networks with technologies like 5G and optical fiber will be in a better position to efficiently increase their digital services.
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