The Future of Telecommunication Companies: Straddling the Divide between Differentiation and Synergies
As a key opinion leader in business technology and digital transformation, I was invited by Huawei to attend the Better World Summit for NetX 2025 event, hosted online on September 17–18 2020. The conference theme was the future of telecommunications from an operator’s perspective. Considering the sponsor and my 37 years of working in the industry, I figured I would see the usual spell-binding presentations and captivating promotional announcements from the organizer (Huawei).
Instead, I found myself engaged in transparent conversations with independent third-parties and telecommunications leaders. In a word, the event focused on sharing facts and lessons learned, rather than presenting solutions and sales pitch. Great!
In terms of my key takeaways and impressions, two elements stood out:
- The value of a differentiation strategy (i.e., providing customers with something unique from what’s available in the marketplace); and
- Achieving synergies across technologies.
Today’s technology is an enabling factor, rather than a mere catalyst to doing something better or faster. I say this because technology creates new scenarios, market opportunities, consumer needs, communication channels, and new opportunities for cooperation between people, companies, and nations. In this context, technological advances can also undermine telecommunication companies’ competitive edge, if they fail to come up with the right strategic vision in the face of change.
After all, telecommunication companies are not just the foundation of our global network; they drive the systematic evolution of Western society (which we commonly refer to as “digital transformation”). Against this backdrop, being caught unprepared could be fatal.
To give you a sense of the overall impact of connected devices, consider this slide from the global market intelligence firm, IDC:
By 2025, almost 75% of our global devices will be connected, and this will, increasingly, include all production processes — from connected factories and smart buildings to transportation. Of course, all of these devices generate data that must then be transmitted somewhere, processed by a computer, and aggregated to allow for strategic decision making.
What about artificial intelligence, which is gradually replacing traditional, deterministic software? Data management has become a critical factor in guiding business practices and decision-making. Similarly, customers are coming to expect frictionless services and streamlined processes, thanks to digitization at their fingertips. To create incomparable value and position themselves as architects of change, telecommunication companies must differentiate their products and services and synergize technologies.
Companies are becoming more productive, people are more connected and engaged, and consumers are demanding customized services to meet their needs within ever-narrowing windows of time. The future will see smart objects communicating with each other to take administrative and household tasks off of our daily to-do lists. For this, they will need ultra-fast connection times.
In turn, telecommunication operators must rethink the status quo, differentiate their offerings, and learn not only how to manage technologies but to achieve synergy to remain competitive.
While this is no small task, I’m confident that many of them will be able to rise to the challenge.
For those wishing to learn more about the event, or to register for the next one, follow this link: https://events.carrier.huawei.com/BWSSept/en/broadcast-lm.html