Among the many challenges that telecommunications providers face are the need to transform and consolidate their businesses. They need to adopt new business models that allow them to move away from commodity services such as voice traffic where revenues are dwindling, to stave off increased competition from new market entrants, and to take advantage of opportunities in emerging market sectors.
There are several areas of opportunity that will allow telecommunications providers to transition themselves in order to stand out from the crowd. Given their technology and communications expertise, they are well positioned to reposition themselves as managed service providers for their commercial and public sector customers, supplying information and communications services that will help their customers to consolidate highly complex, heterogeneous network infrastructures into efficient and secure networks, incorporating next-generation technologies in conjunction with their technology partners.
Telecommunications providers can also help organisations to tackle the challenges and opportunities that they face in specific vertical markets through the development of new technology products and services designed for specific business needs. For example, in the healthcare sector there are opportunities to aid in the development of telemedicine capabilities, home-based care and health monitoring, and, in the US, to support the development of health information exchanges.
Telcos are also in the position to tap into a number of markets with extremely high growth potential. These include machine-to-machine applications, which rely on communications systems to allow devices such as sensors or meters to communicate directly with each other for greater efficiency, especially in industrial markets and in the critical infrastructure sectors.
Big data presents another opportunity, allowing telecommunication providers' customers to harness the potential of the huge volumes of data that their businesses generate, turning raw data into actionable intelligence that will allow them to achieve improved operational and asset performance, and that will provide revenue-generating opportunities by enabling them to offer more personal, relevant services to their own customers.
For small business and consumers, telcos can answer calls from governments worldwide to provide customers with security services, in conjunction with their technology partners, so that they can take an active stand against the security threats that they face, as well as providing other value-added services to allow consumers to take advantage of new digital lifestyles.
In short, there are many opportunities for telecommunications providers to turn the challenges that they face to their advantage, allowing them to leverage the investments they have made in information and communications infrastructures to stave off competition, increase their relevance to customers and identify new revenue-generating opportunities. A white paper that explores these challenges and opportunities in greater detail can be accessed here: Challenges and opportunities in the telecommunications sector.