Surmounting disconnectedness: the telecom race to agility
Telecom is consistently one of the most competitive industries around the world, with companies pushing to build improved networks and offer better and more useful services across their enterprise. Whether it be through the race to provide the most reliable 5G network or re-configuring company infrastructure to become more agile and more efficient, telecom leaders know that every step forward they aren’t taking is most likely one that their competitors will.
Agile software and processes have already been very well developed and to great effect in the telecom market. Companies can churn out new products faster and at much lower costs than before, saving money at every step of the way, resulting in better returns on investment for the business and better products delivered to customers, thus improving all sides of a transaction.
But now agile is about more than simply gaining traction and building better business practices; telecom has reached the point where it must embrace agile or be left in the dust with antiquated models and a slowly dying consumer base. Beginning the process of transitioning to agile delivery and software is crucial to the future of telecommunications and the world’s infrastructure as a whole. Artificial intelligence and data-driven process are taking over, and the telecom industry cannot be left behind.
The first step to implementing more agile deployment is to study company structure and determine the best practices to streamline initially. The problem with initiating such change, especially involving network operations or constantly active customer services, is that should those services be interrupted for any period of time, clients would be unhappy, the brand reputation would suffer, and we would have sacrificed business in the name of progress, which is an unnecessary step.
Updating your technology stack in telecom is one of the most difficult transitions for any corporation to make, as the landscape of interrelated IT systems is so complicated that a change made on one end can disturb connected operations all the way down the line. This daunting connectedness causes companies to forgo the prospect of progress in the name of safety and continuity, relying on the same systems because they still work and can be marginally improved upon over time. While certainly presenting a formidable task, telco’s must craft an approach that can reinvent the entire stack over time, considering their framework more broadly and ensuring their systems remain stable but also top-of-the-line.
One of the most important developments of the 2020’s will be the advent of 5G, or fifth generation, networks, which will open yet another door to technology providers in their attempt to develop the next big app or service. 5G is still not yet ready to be used to its fullest capabilities, but just as we saw the massive rise of Uber, Airbnb, Postmates, and other services last generation, we should expect a similar outgrowth of tech solutions to crop up as 5G becomes more ingrained in infrastructure worldwide.
Telecom networks have always connected us and made it possible for us to share our information and offer ourselves to other people around the globe. 5G will make that possible on a level greater than ever before. Part of the hope of 5G is to eliminate “dead zones” and slow areas of connectivity. One of the most important technologies we could see in the coming years is the emergence of satellite internet, which, as it sounds, is the use of satellites that will deliver reliable broadband performance anywhere on Earth. This will make real-time communication possible anytime and, more importantly, anywhere. Big companies will obviously love this tool, but a hidden impact will be in the access it grants smaller, more isolated communities and the encouragement it provides to join the digital age.
However, as we continue taking steps forward and building out our networks, privacy and security will become increasingly important. As we become more capable of sharing content, that content becomes more liable to be stolen or misused, and as such we have to take precautions to ensure that doesn’t happen. Both global and national regulators will be issuing laws and statutes to govern the new technology being created, but telecom companies must take the onus upon themselves to assure their customers all of their data will be safe.
As telcos become more agile and continue to work toward the elusive goal that is finalizing 5G development, telecommunications will look increasingly different in 1, 5, or 10 years. The greatest reward lies with those who can take greatest advantage of advances in technology and use them to power their own networks, becoming more efficient and more reliable in the process.