What’s next for telco in 2022?

As we reach the end of the year, it’s interesting to look back at how telcos have continued to provide connectivity and capacity as the world has spent another 12 months grappling with the pandemic and the various obstacles it entailed. Though almost two years in, it’s fair to say we have only seen the beginning in the change in behaviour that remote working especially has caused, and the digitalisation that comes with it.

Even beyond COVID-related developments, 2022 is set to be a big year for telecommunications and brings with it many opportunities, as it relates to ever evolving technology, customer experience and cloud-first approaches. Let’s take a look at what might be on the horizon for the next 12 months…

Telcos will adapt to meet changing behaviours and connectivity requirements

The pandemic has elevated the importance of network connectivity and digital technologies for work. As network traffic increased as we transitioned from the office to the home office, telcos did a good job providing connectivity and capacity in places like our homes. However, we have only just seen the beginning of the change in consumer and business behaviours in response to the pandemic and the digitalisation required to support these changes. An example of an area of improvement here, which I expect to happen in 2022, is conducting efficient hybrid meetings, as we come out of COVID with some attendees virtual and some in office. Hybrid meetings are still usually a nightmare to conduct, but here telcos could make a difference. This is a typical playing field for telcos, but it’s worth noting that there is a significant risk that other players will start solving that problem before them. Horizon Workrooms, by Facebook/Oculus is an example in the right direction.

Looking ahead to 2022, it’s likely that telcos will start to mature and take on a significant role in this change apart from just providing connectivity. While we are starting to see initiatives to meet these changes, first and foremost, the foundational need is for telcos to adapt to the changes in connectivity that are needed to support these new services and applications. With the predicted maturity of telcos, I think we will be in a strong position to start to imagine how we redefine and shape the future of work.

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Customer experience and value will begin to drive digitalisation efforts for telcos, not cost

Digitalisation is still very much a front and centre priority for telcos, and the industry has seen a lot of progress over the past two years. Digging a bit deeper, it’s essential to understand the desired outcome for telco’s digitalisation efforts to understand if they are digitalising for value add or to cut costs. In my conversations with customers, time and time again, I hear them say that digitalisation is a ‘cost play’.

For example, a common scenario for telcos is to defer calls to a call centre and instead provide self-service capabilities. Looking ahead to 2022, I predict that telcos will start to shift their mindset in how they approach digitalisation and view customer experience and value as the main driver for digitalisation, not cost-cutting. By telcos digitalising their interactions with customers with the goal of providing more proactive and relevant experiences, they will, in turn, increase the value and perception from their customers in the end.

Telcos will start adopting a platform business model

Telcos continue to be under pressure to deliver over the top services and generate revenue. In response, we have seen telcos starting to think about adopting a platform business model inspired by the hyperscalers and others who have managed to capitalise on this approach successfully. Looking ahead to 2022, I predict that telcos will start to grow beyond just providing a platform for entertainment services and looking for ways to monetise their data by turning it into the product in the platform business model. This would allow for a more holistic approach and present telcos the opportunity to integrate into one platform, allowing them to transform into a successful platform business.

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Telcos will prioritise a cloud-first approach

2022 will be yet another year of “cloud-first” strategies. I’ve seen more evolution from telcos this year than the year before in how they are approaching a cloud-first mindset in an entirely new way. Up until last year, some telcos hesitated to even bring data into a cloud environment because of concerns around things like privacy. Either beginning to bring or bringing more data into the cloud is a prominent trend that I am continuing to see come through strong in all my conversations with telcos. This goes hand-and-hand with the fact that telcos’ businesses are increasingly being run in the cloud and being increasingly software-defined.

As enterprises continue to move towards a cloud-first approach, they will need a cloud future proof data & analytics partner, simultaneously helping them grow profitably in both current and future times of disruption.

Written by Martin Tidell, senior industry consultant telecommunications EMEA at Teradata

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