As some of you may know, I have always done quite a bit of work in telecom, mobile and ICT but am now getting a lot more requests for speeches, seminars and advisory sessions on this topic. I reckon this is partly because of some recent developments such as Facebook/WhatsApp, Apple’s iPay, Alibaba’s IPO etc, all of which might be pointers towards a future that will be very different than the present or the past. Therefore, here is a new topic I am offering to those that are interested.
Digital transformation in telecommunications, mobile and ICT: challenges and opportunities in a new ecosystem
In the next decade, we are facing a magnitude of new opportunities as well as some seriously ‘wicked challenges’ driven by exponential technological progress, and the cultural changes this is causing.
Most importantly, the telecommunications, content / entertainment / publishing, e-commerce and social media sectors are finally converging as mobile devices (incl. tablets, wearables and quite possibly implants) are becoming the preferred tools of connectivity and interaction for GenY and Z. All digital content – music, books, movies, banking/money, education, health / medical and all kinds of information – is rapidly moving into the cloud, making very reliable, high-speed yet low cost connectivity a must-have at all times, anywhere. Yet, the business of merely connecting to the cloud is not likely to remain a stand-alone industry in the very near future because converged, digitally-native business models are proving to be increasingly disruptive (maybe a ‘Tesla of mobile services’ is likely to emerge, soon).
Increasingly, cloud / data security and surveillance vs privacy – issues are quickly becoming a major concern for consumers as well as for the platforms and connectivity providers. Meanwhile, the Internet of Things / Internet of Everything is gearing up to be 10-50x the size of the traditional ‘Internet of People & Computers’, promising huge cost savings and much increased efficiency in energy, transportation and logistics, infrastructure and marketing / advertising, and creating entirely new opportunities for the entire ICT sector, and beyond. The buzzword of 2014 clearly was ‘Big Data‘ which – in tandem with the exponentially evolving machine/artificial intelligence – is quickly becoming the new global currency. Data is now truly becoming the new oil – by 2020, big data is expected to generate over $ 7 Trillion USD in new revenue streams, according to MGI. Add other significant global trends such as the rise of the sharing economy, the fast adoption of new interfaces such as voice control, AR and VR plus the dawn of mass-market 3D-printing (the ‘napsterization of objects’) to the mix, and the magnitude of this transformation becomes obvious.
By 2020, many of these trends will have converged and created an entirely new ‘telemedia’ ecosystem that will be deeply converged and interdependent, circular and much more sustainable in every way.
This development will no longer tolerate the traditional silos of telecommunications i.e. ‘infrastructure’ versus content, media or services, forcing telecoms and mobile operators to think of themselves as platforms and brands rather than as walled gardens, channels or infrastructure providers. The total abundance of connectivity, devices and content will create an entirely new breed of user/consumer that will constantly look for added values and what Kevin Kelly called ’New Generatives’, monitoring the strength of a brand and its overall purpose and relevance. Business as usual is dying. Telcos, ISPs and mobile operators (and those that cater to them), need to understand and reflect on those key trends, and discover ways to fundamentally transform their business models in order to remain relevant (better yet, indispensable) in 5-7 years. In a world of 5-6 Billion hyper-connected users (i.e. by 2020) the mere provision and selling of that connectivity will no doubt become a commodity – still a valuable one, yes, but (a lot like music, films or news / publishing) – no longer the single most important driver of growth and market value. Digital business model transformation is the name of the game, now.
As usual, here are some related images: