Every leader in the telecommunication business world today knows that the telecom arena is evolving at a breakneck pace and accelerating. With driving forces like the wide spread mobile use, the rise of the internet of things, and hyper scale cloud computing, there’s no end in sight for the ongoing growth and evolution of this sector. By the year 2020, estimates suggest that there will be 7.6 billion people on the planet and 50 billion connected devices Whereas before, customers needed basic voice and data services are now demanding high speed multi-device connectivity to power mobiles, tablets, wearables and other internet of things such as smart home appliances, autonomous driving vehicles and internet connected industrial, and consumer machinery. By the year 2020, estimates suggest that there will be 7.6 billion people on the planet and 50 billion connected devices. For telecommunications companies, this means greater pressure to expand network capacity and agility through new network technologies such as 5G, SDN and NFV to meet growing demand for data. For telecom carriers who want to take advantage of these opportunities, now is the time to restructure businesses, capture new revenue streams, and transform their infrastructure to offer new capabilities across the network. How is Telecom Industry Evolving? Just a few years ago, customers were marvelling at how they could connect to the Internet anywhere through mobile phones. Now, a wave of wearables, smart cars, smart homes, and smart industries have created connected consumers that are driving the Internet of Things. While this brings in incredible new opportunities for technology companies, the strain on data networks is beginning to show. This need for improved infrastructure and new digital services is offering new opportunities for telecom companies. As consumers find connectivity in more places, they demand it in even more places. Customers are no longer satisfied switching from WiFi to 4G to a landline and back again. Just offering data and voice is no longer enough, either. Companies like Netflix, Spotify, and Pandora are all offering streaming services that are “over the top” and create new experiences for customers. Consumers have seen a rapid increase in the amount of data they can access, how quickly they can access it, and the flexibility with which they can reach out for it. From the Apple Watch to the FitBit to autonomous cars under development by companies like Google and Tesla, we are seeing a huge increase in the amount of data that customers are willing to passively provide in exchange for a new set of insights into their life. What Considerations Do Telecom Providers Need to Consider as They Evolve? Create a digital eco-system by becoming an integrated services provider. Telecom companies need to offer more than just voice and data services. By expanding their offerings to include better connectivity that integrates seamlessly with current technology and anticipates emerging ones, companies will have both the flexibility and positioning necessary to offer truly new services to customers. Build digital capabilities to work with legacy ICT and networking infrastructures. Carrying a large legacy debt of IT infrastructure and enterprise systems, telecoms need to consider how to add digital services over the top by leveraging existing infrastructure while making incremental changes. Create alliances and partnerships that will allow companies to expand into new areas and bring new products and services to market with the required capabilities. While telecom industry will be key in driving the continued growth of the IoT industry, success will require these companies to partner with the industries driving the relevant technology. This includes healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive, for example. By creating partnerships within this industry right now, telecom leads will gain a crucial voice in determining how this change occurs. Drive investment in new spectrum technology, such as 5G, voice-over WiFi and network efficiency tech such as Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation. With even more mobile and IoT devices demanding connectivity on a daily basis and smart technologies becoming more and more involved in consumer lives, new infrastructure will be needed to manage the amount of data that will be pulled to and from the cloud and transmitted throughout the home, cities and industries. To remain relevant, telecom industry needs to be at the forefront of driving this technology evolution. What’s the Next Step? Telecom companies have a unique position in enabling the next evolution of our smart, connected future. Their investment in new carrier technology, IoT and digital will open doors to the rest of the tech community and transform consumer experience. What trends do you see influencing the next evolution of the telecom industry? Please share your thoughts with us.