We live in a perpetually disrupted digital world — the new normal. Evolutionary business models, like those created by Uber, Airbnb and Netflix, and paradigm-shifting technologies, such as virtualization, the iPhone and Bitcoin, have forever changed how we live and interact. From smartphone ubiquity and streaming everything to share economy and augmented reality, our global digital landscape is influenced by endless innovation. Lately, it’s all about instant gratification, the customer experience, digital transformation, adaptive intelligence and the next big thing.
You’d think Telcos would be elated with the rapid progress and relentless shaping of a worldwide $6-plus trillion industry.[i] And, there is reason for smiley face emojis, with 5G trials and a massive pivot toward optimization services, faster data insights and subsequent revenue streams. In my twenty-plus years across the industry, never have I seen such digital effervescence as now.
Yet, the pendulum swings between amazing opportunities in the communications space and epic challenges. Keeping up with continually evolving market dynamics, interoperability and who’s who, while striving to secure network automation, densification and assurances — well, let’s say it would be a popular reality TV show. Telcos and media partners want traction regarding security, latency, cloud options, universally accepted standards for network function virtualization (NFV), containerization, application agility, premium content, Omni-channel offerings …the list goes on.
Now It’s Time to Do Things Different
As you know, revenue streams are shifting toward consumer services, and the customer experience reigns supreme. Service assurance and anywhere-and-all-the-time data access are critical to your customers’ satisfaction and your business. And, the momentum of global mobile data traffic shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, by 2019, Cisco forecasts that 5.2 billion people will be mobile users and 72% of mobile data traffic will be video-centric. (See Figure 1.)
Figure 1: Forecast of Mobile Data Traffic
Communications service providers (CSPs) need to invest in technologies and capabilities that can deliver differentiated solutions and reduce time-to-market for new products (See Figure 2.) The idea is to drive massive data usage and real-time service assurance, but these efforts can also rapidly increase core-to-edge data complexity and cost. Top-line business factors, such as competition, convergence and regulation, along with bottom-line influences, such as ARPU, and market saturation, collectively drive up expectations and whittle away revenues.
Figure 2: CSP and carrier responses
The sweet spot for most CSPs would be to improve the customer experience, develop new revenue streams and lower the costs of doing business better. So, how do you get there?
The overly simple answer is data. If we take the 2019 projected 5.2 billion mobile users and Cisco’s forecast for 50 billion connected devices by 2020 (Figure 3), we begin to understand the data magnitude. And the world’s population — and its mobile users — continues to grow. The structured and unstructured data from those machines are digital gold for understanding the breadth and depth of customer behaviors, patterns, nuances. Analyzing IoT data is maybe like having a superhero for telco innovations, trends and transformation.
Figure 3: Cisco forecast for IoT
That’s Where We Come In
Hitachi has not typically been known in the telco space. Our stronghold is global IoT management technologies. With 100 years in global operational technologies (OT), 50 years in information technologies (IT), and now our integrated business operations as Hitachi Vantara, we offer that effervescence for your data.
Let me explain. Gartner cites “more than $440 billion will be spent in IoT in 2020[ii]” and that there will be those double-digit billions of connected endpoints and digital twins. Some of our telco customers and alliance partners are on the precipice of harnessing disruption for a more curated, holistic customer experience. We’re the bridge between the two. Many forces come together to strike a balance between the art of what is possible and the science of your data: open source software, portable digital architecture, big data analytics, operational intelligence and machine learning, to name a few.
We believe IoT is in its digital adolescence. This is excellent news for telcos wishing to capitalize on market opportunities to save money, make money and modernize, a.k.a. digital transformation. Hitachi Vantara is uniquely situated to provide cohesive strategies that enable your success in this indispensable deliver-big-or-go-home customer experience era.
We have tightly integrated technologies proven to help you stimulate and liberate your IoT ecosystem data to manage intentional telco disruption for the greater good. My job as CTO in the telco and media space is to guide our technologies, our strategies, to meet the very real needs ahead.
Right now, I’d say Hitachi Vantara has a promising mix of available solutions and in-the-works innovations. Our Hitachi Analytic solutions immediately comes to mind as a foundation for generating new revenue streams and meeting consumer-centric service assurances. (See Figure 4.) Fully explaining the slide and its opportunities could be a blog unto itself. Another is our Hitachi hyperconverged architecture, which offers the gold standard for speeding, simplifying and scaling digital transformation — sleek and modern.
Figure 4: Tightly integrated and well-thought-out blueprint for success
And then there is our Lumada IoT Platform software, with advanced analytics, deployed at the edge, in the core, on-premises or in the cloud (See Figure 5). The new software stack is designed to help quickly and easily gain insights, predictions and recommendations from their data, and can be easily adapted to support mid-to-large-scale Industrial IOT environments. Lumada's integrated advanced analytics have also been enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) functionality at scale. The result is a highly intelligent and flexible platform that accelerates IOT business outcomes.
Figure 5 Introducing Lumada 2.0
Honestly, there are so many things we can explore together in this online community. The digital world is bracing for another data Tsunami, and the communications industry lies in its direct path. I see us in it together, boldly moving forward to innovate.
I hope you will take the journey with me.
PS) Check back for my next blog, which will address the power of continuous transformation, by design.
[ii] 1Gartner, IoT's Challenges and Opportunities in 2017: A Gartner Trend Insight Report, April 2017 – Mark Hung,