From 'T' to 'IoT'


When I first started working in the Telecom industry (over 30 years ago) Telecommunication (T) and Information Technology (IT) functions and systems were completely separate, with their own distinct disciplines.
Progressively, they morphed into IT&T and today, the telecom industry is borrowing aspects of cloud computing from IT and, together with the Internet, forming their future network architecture strategy in Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Software Defined Network (SDN).

Innovation is known to accelerate the adoption of technology. It took the telephone 35 years to reach 25 percent market penetration in the US, alone. Personal computers took 18 years, cell phones 15 and the Internet, seven.

Using your connections

Yet within six years of Facebook’s 2004 launch, the fusing of the digital camera and the cell phone was encouraging more than 500 million Facebook users to share information, pictures, and videos, breaching the boundaries between communication, information, and media.

Mobile phone penetration now exceeds a global population of over seven billion. And sensors instrumental in the development of IoT (a term coined by Kevin Ashton in 1999) are expected to grow three fold over the next four years. The Internet of Things(IoT) will accelerate the convergence of not only communication, information, media, and content, but will also alter the structure of vertical industries and business models. Let’s examine recent happenings in Telecom and Media Entertainment to find out why, and what mature industries can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Fixed-line or wireless?

Technological changes are disrupting consumer behaviours, affecting industry structures and forcing organisations to alter their business models. For the longest time, telephony services have used fixed-line connection, whereas, TV and radio have been transmitted wirelessly.

Now, cable TV providers offer voice and high speed data. Internet service providers (ISPs) provide Voice over IP (VoIP) and IP video services. Telecom providers have expanded their broadband services to offer voice, video, and internet services. And TV broadcasters are partnering with ISPs to offer on-demand video content for laptops, smartphones, and TVs.

In fact, data centres with cloud-computing value propositions are popping-up everywhere, in place of the old local telephone exchanges.

Industries at the crossroads

Technological convergence leads to disruption in vertical industry structures, causing corporate strategists to have a rethink. What business is their Telco in? Communications, Media, Retail, Banking, or Telemetry?

Take eCommerce and mCommerce for instance. Rapid convergence driven by the convenience of broadband-connected smart devices has changed customer attitudes and behaviours. Retailers, Bankers, and Telcos, are all trying to get a handle on the changes. They’re competing for a share of customer wallet while having to protect their own market share from adjacent market players, and non-traditional players such as eBay, Amazon, and Google.

This means that while strategic planners for the mature industries are pondering future options, their customers are:

  • walking into bricks-and-mortar retail stores

  • taking out their smartphones

  • scanning the bar code for an on-shelf item

  • comparing prices online

  • watching a YouTube product demo

  • buying the item five percent cheaper on eBay

  • paying via PayPal

These retail cuckoos then stroll out of your store, free as birds basking in the warmth of a satisfying, multi-channel, and hassle-free, shopping experience.

Now, how much are the thousands upon thousands of missed opportunities like these likely to cost your business, do you think?

Sundara Raman

Sundara has been a Telecom professional for over 30 years with a wide range of interests and multi-national experience in product management, solution marketing, presales for new generation networks and services, information management strategy, business intelligence, analytics and enterprise architecture development.

At Teradata, Sundara focuses on Business Value Framework, Business Outcome, Business Value Consulting, Business Intelligence, Discovery Analytics and Customer Journey / Experience Management solutions.

Sundara has a Master’s Degree in Business and Administration with research on economic value of information from Massey University, New Zealand.

For the last 20+ years, Sundara has been living in Sydney, Australia. In his spare time, Sundara enjoys walking and maintaining an active life style. Sundara is an inventor and joint holder of an Australian patent with his clinical psychologist wife. The invention is an expert system in cognitive mental health that applies machine learning algorithms.

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