Digital Transformation in Telecom Industry: A Comprehensive Guide
Table of Contents
In an era where connection is an essential part of life, the telecom industry has rapidly evolved to match the soaring needs of a world that is becoming more digital. An astounding 5.18 billion people around the world are using the internet, meaning over 64.6% of the world’s population has access to the internet.
With these figures, which are only expected to rise, the telecom industry finds itself at the center of a significant shift that needs a complete digital transformation. This digital transformation isn’t just updating technology but also revolutionizing how we interact, collaborate, and grow industrial enterprises.
As the world is moving towards this transformative journey, understanding the digital transformation in telecom industry becomes essential. Therefore, in this article, we will cover each and every aspect of digital transformation in telecom industry, such as its meaning, why it is important, its benefits, and the case studies of digital transformation in the telecom industry.
Understanding Digital Transformation in Telecom Industry
Digital transformation in the telecom industry is all about leveraging state-of-the-art technologies to enhance services and infrastructure. The telecom sector is responsible for providing network and internet services to customers. Therefore, with time, leveraging technologies to enhance services is necessary.
When we talk about digital transformation in telecom industry, there are various ways in which it can be achieved. However, a detailed elaboration will follow in the article ahead. Here is a brief-up of that!
Personalised experience: Focus on providing customers with a personalized experience to the customer. This can include reminding the customer about their top-up date or data balance.
Using new technologies: Try to integrate technologies like IoT, AR, AI, and more into the workflow. These will help in faster problem detection and issue resolution.
Enhancing customer interactions: Telco firms can focus on developing omnichannel contact centers. These centers can focus on maintaining customer interactions on top of just voice calls. Customers can reach out to these centers via chatbots and social media platforms.
Data security: Telecom companies have heaps of user data. Therefore, they must invest in powerful cybersecurity measures. These can include encryption, multi-factor authentication, and more. Investing in a cloud solution can be a great way.
Data analytics: The more data, the better services you can provide your customers. With the data analytics software, you can monitor usage data and customer behaviour. Hence, you can provide the customers with a better user experience. Further, the use of continuously fed data from the machines can be used to implement predictive maintenance methods.
Regulatory and Compliance: To be the best in the eyes of your customers, it is necessary to abide by all the rules set by various regulatory and compliance organizations. This proves that you promise data security and privacy while leveraging digital technologies.
Other than these, telcos can make many other minor changes to boost digital transformation.
Why the Telecom Sector Needs Digital Transformation?
If we look at the forecast of the investments and returns in the telecom market, the market has been declining in the long term. As per a report by McKinsey, telecom investors have seen a 28% return on investment in the last seven years (2015-22). This is just 20% of the returns received by those who invested in the digital entertainment industry (143%).
This is one of the reasons the telecom sector needs to implement digital transformation methods. Further, there are other reasons too.
Unlike legacy systems that use older technologies, today, the market is filled with advanced digital technologies that harness the power of AI, IoT, AR, VR, and many other techs. Moreover, many different industries use 3D visualization technology to produce high-quality graphic information that helps improve communication or provide a more realistic digital experience.
Therefore, to ensure you are leveled with the competition, telecom companies must invest heavily in these technologies to create better solutions and boost operational efficiency.
Cybersecurity thefts are common in the telecom sector, and as technology improves, so are the attacks. As per a study conducted by Infosys of 90 senior executives from telecom companies in Europe, Australia, NZ, and the US, 61% of the companies face issues with keeping up with the rapidly changing cyber technologies.
As companies are not able to catch up with the changing cyber technologies, cyberattacks will rise. Hence, digital transformation is necessary, including advanced security measures in place.
Rising Customer Demands
One of the prime reasons for the need for digital transformation in the telecom sector is customer demands. Customers today need to access a variety of mobile apps that are connected to the web. These mobile apps, such as game apps, social media apps, etc., require a lot of data at a faster speed for running. In such a scenario, digital transformation in the telecommunication sector is imperative. It allows telecom firms to adopt technologies like 5G to meet growing customer demands.
Fun fact, 5G has a speed of 10 Gbps that supports all devices beyond smartphones.
Competition with OTT Platforms
We all are fond of Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., right? Well, these Over-the-top platforms are one of the reasons telecoms need to implement digital transformation. These platforms use the telecom infrastructure and provide services to users at a cost-effective price. This defeats the purpose of telecom companies to improve the infrastructure, or should we say the OTT providers are smarter?
Whatever the case, telecom operators’ key need is to devise ways to compete with them. It can be done by implementing digital transformation and taking up ways like
Building custom OTT products
Partnering with OTT platforms
Using 5G as an advantage
What are the Benefits of Digital Transformation in the Telecommunication Industry?
So far, we are clear on why to choose digital transformation for the telecom industry. Now, let’s see what if all the reasons are fulfilled and the telecom sector undergoes a digital transformation.
Faster Issues Resolution
If the workers face an issue, they are not just bound to call the expert to resolve it. Now, workers can go online to the official website or app and chat with the agents. The best thing about the chats is that an AI chatbot can help you with your issue during off hours.
Another aspect of this is the use of Augmented Reality. When workers face an issue, they can resolve it themselves based on the instructions provided by the remote expert. The expert can help the frontline workers via a video conferencing session. They can add annotations on the screen to properly guide the workers to fix the issue. Therefore, saving time. A great example of this is Ericsson.
Better Customer Service
Customer support is the first thing that every telecom firm prioritizes in its business plan. With the use of technologies like IoT, AR, VR, and more, it is easy to provide faster and better customer support.
As an example, IoT sensors can be installed at remote telecom locations that send periodic data to the central location. This data can be analyzed to check the health of the equipment and take necessary actions before anything goes wrong. Hence ensuring that the customers get the best service.
When digital technologies like AI, IoT, and ML are in place, you can get data from every device periodically. This helps in making better decisions. As data from each device is accurate, you can look for patterns and trends to estimate the device’s health and take necessary action before anything goes south.
This collected data can also be used to design blueprints for new devices.
An agile network witnesses change quickly but carefully posts proper planning. With the use of digital transformation technologies like IoT, AI, ML, DL, and more, small and frequent changes can be made to the network based on changing user needs. Hence ensuring better network operations. Further, it also helps telecom brands to stay competitive.
Automation of processes has been undertaken by almost every industry sector today. In telecom, you can automate various processes by using AI and ML technologies. Besides edge computing, these technologies can be implemented to speed up the data analysis and issue resolution process. Further, automating some processes also reduces human errors.
How can Digital Transformation Happen in the Telecom Sector?
There are various ways to bring a revolution in the telecom sector, and one is via digital transformation.
Improve B2B and B2C experiences
OTT giants are the primary rivals of the telecom sector, and there are satisfactory reasons for that. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and many other OTT platforms deliver excellent B2B and B2C services to their clients and customers at more affordable prices than regular TV packages. Moreover, some OTT providers like Amazon and Apple leveraged their existing customer base to fuel their value-added services. These aspects helped them surpass the services of the telecom providers.
To counteract them, telcos need to use their user base and lead them towards their custom OTT services. Moreover, telecom operators could partner with OTT platforms than compete. The key advantage for telcos is their massive customer base. Lastly, maintaining an omnichannel user experience will be the trick of the trade.
Develop Virtual Platforms
Gaining traffic can be tough for telecom providers. Therefore, it is best to go virtual to boost traffic for their business. And going virtual means developing a virtual platform. It can be a software-defined network, network function virtualization, or cloud. These will enable massive traffic growth while keeping costs under control. Having a virtual platform also helps in continuous improvement as it is an open environment for developers.
Invest in State-of-the-art Technologies Like AI, Cloud Computing, AR, and More
Not to stress more, investing in state-of-the-art technologies like AR, VR, AI, and more will take the telecom industry to new heights. For example, if the telecom sector needs to attract more traffic, stronger infrastructure would be needed. Consequently, the need for repairs and maintenance will also be more.
In such a scenario, technologies like AR and AI will be required for faster repair and maintenance. AI for faster data analysis and AR for remote assistance and training. AR can also be used for inspection and quality analysis in the telecom industry.
Field technicians can face many problems while performing daily operations that require immediate action to resolve the issue. However, as experts may not respond promptly, this practice can be time-consuming. Hence, it is essential to provide an effective solution to this problem.
By implementing AR in the telecom sector, field technicians can connect and collaborate with experts and troubleshoot issues quickly. The experts can add multiple 3D AR annotations on their screen and share their solutions, diagnoses, or assistance with the frontline worker. Hence, with the help of AR experts, you can guide the entire repair process instantly and effortlessly.
Extract Essential Equipment Data
With the help of AR headsets, users can simply scan the QR code of the machine and get the training module, SOP, and tool library instantly. Workers can access all necessary data in real-time to simplify complex tasks. This helps the telecom industry in training their workers for the smooth functioning of processes. In addition, workers can get any information regarding the equipment anytime, anywhere. Hence, AR-powered solutions in the telecom industry can provide all important information to their workers without putting in more effort or time. Not only this, workers are able to get hands-on interactive experience.
Perform Regular Inspections
The telecom industry can perform regular inspections using AR-powered solutions. Moreover, workers may easily record the functioning of the equipment and detect any errors with the help of checklists. With AR, inspectors can get updated step-by-step instructions for conducting inspections effectively. As a result, AR technology accelerates and improves their auditing processes.
Case Studies of Successful Digital Transformation In the Telecom Industry
Various telecom firms have successfully implemented digital transformation in their workflow across the world.
KPN is a reputed telecom provider firm in the Netherlands. Currently, it has 33 million subscribers throughout Europe.
As the company’s operational scale is wide, maintaining network equipment and ensuring uptime poses a challenge to the firm. As they already have over 3,000 field technicians who need guidance with the type of telecom equipment, KPN roped in Accenture to create an AR-based guidance system.
The produced solution used software and Google Glass that allowed the technicians to get live remote help from experts.
AT&T and Dallas Cowboys
AT&T is a recognized telecom and media company that worked with Samsung and Netgear to create an awesome AR experience for the fans. The brands created 5G attractions, providing a unique way for fans to interact with the sporting landscape immersively.
It was done via augmented reality and volumetric 3D video. The company used 5G as the processing power required for this was huge.
Plutomen’s Approach To Driving a Digital Transformation
Plutomen is a modern-day firm that aims to reduce the gap between top expertise and the global workforce. By providing an ingenious set of AR solutions, Plutomen tends to excel in remote assistance, remote training, and inspections. The primary tools offered by Plutomen are
Plutomen Connect: The tool enables remote workers to get in touch with on-site experts for AR-based guidance and assistance.
Plutomen Workflow: The tool allows firms to produce digital work instructions to help their on-floor and field staff in carrying out the work.
Plutomen Assist: Plutomen Assist is a tool that can be used to provide immersive AR-based training to the workforce.
To help the telecom sector keep up with the competition with OTT platforms, it is necessary to undergo digital transformation. Some of the key benefits of it are data-driven insights, better customer service, improved automation, and more.
With the launch of 5G and the use of technologies like AI, AR, VR, IoT and more, the future of the telecom industry is promising. It can become a bit tough to keep up with the competition, but it can be taken care of with a strategic approach.
A digital telecom consists of apps and software that enable the customers to leverage the services of a telecom operator online. Users can buy products and services through the app. Digital services like these can streamline a lot of telecom operations.
With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.
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