Top 8 Telecommunications Industry Trends for 2020

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This year, the telecommunications industry has come under scrutiny like never before. Technology is helping us work remotely as the coronavirus lockdowns force us to stay at home. So, let’s look at some of the biggest industry trends to emerge in the sector in 2020.

The telecommunications industry – what exactly is it?

Telecommunications makes the exchange of information possible on a global scale. The sector’s biggest businesses include wireless operators, cable and satellite companies and internet service providers. Telecommunication companies allow data in the form of voice, words, audio and video to be sent and received anywhere.

Today, most sectors rely on the connectivity provided by the telecommunications industry, as well as the activities and services it supports.

COVID-19 and telecommunications in 2020

As you might expect, the coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on the development of the telecommunications industry this year. Most notably, it’s played a key role in helping a large proportion of the world’s population work from home. We’ve used VPNs to access shared files, instant messaging platforms to talk to colleagues and video conferencing tools to host virtual meetings. As more and more people switched over to these digital solutions, the telecommunications industry focussed its energy on improving its offering and providing consistently high levels of service.

Many businesses have been able to continue working with minimal disruptions, and some experts believe we won’t be rushing back to the office when lockdowns are lifted. While employers stand to save money on expensive retail space, workers can cut out the commute and enjoy a lie-in if allowed to work from home.

Stanford University economist Nick Bloom says:

I could see it being totally standard for jobs that can be performed at home to allow two days at home [per week].

So, there’s plenty of pressure on telecommunications companies to continue to improve their services. Let’s have a look at some of the biggest changes to the sector to emerge this year.

The top 8 telecommunication trends of 2020

  1. Improvements in consistency As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, more and more people are using telecommunication tools for business. Workers rely on high quality services if they’re to do their job properly and maintain a professional reputation. But, at the same time, higher usage is putting more of a strain on the resources we have. Many people have been losing network connection more frequently and experienced low audio/picture quality, among other issues, while telecommunications providers have worked to improve their offering.
  2. New platforms and (free) upgrades Lots of new businesses have sprung up, taking advantage of the growing demand for telecommunications services, while existing companies have seen a huge uptake in their number of users. A whole range of businesses have come to the forefront in 2020, and companies we may not have even heard of six months ago are household names now. Just take Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack as an example. Some have been able to capitalise on the situation by offering upgrades to superior services, sometimes for free.
  3. Automation/remote control Business owners who work towards automating their processes and being able to control them from afar stand a good chance against future issues. As Neil Anderson, Senior Director of Network Solutions at World Wide Technology says:

    "The enterprises who were very far along in being able to programmatically control their network with automation certainly have a distinct advantage [in the COVID-19 outbreak]. Because you can operate your network from anywhere, you've got a lot of visibility and you've got a lot of tools that are fairly automated.”

  4. Immersive content This year there will be a surge in immersive content, and telecommunications companies will work to lower any latency with 5G. Personalisation is a key part of this trend and Communication Service Providers (CSPs) will start to depend on it to reach more customers. Expect to see customised recommendations, subscription plans, content and UI (user interface). Personalisation will allow customers to have their needs met more effectively and efficiently with access to better targeted content.
  5. The rise of 5G Hype around 5G began in 2018, and the appeal of the new infrastructure is growing. People are looking to its enhanced efficiency and faster connectivity, as well as its links to cloud technology and virtualisation. Publicity surrounding the 5G scheme is giving customers high expectations, which will force telecommunications providers to improve their network operations. 5G will also influence artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, as well as impacting the rapidly evolving ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). Industry expert Emma Mohr-McClune highlights why 5G could become so important:

    “Coming out of COVID-19, millions of users worldwide will be more connected and more familiar with digital tools. Telco networks will have gained first-hand experience in dynamic network traffic management while businesses and their telco partners will have a better understanding of the challenges of homeworking. The need for robotic health workers, biometric virus predictors and AI health management tools will provide new use cases and investment justification for 5G. The situation will provide a shot in the arm for telco innovation around AI and machine learning and a catalyst for app and solution innovation ecosystems.”

  6. The evolution of loT With the rollout of 5G, loT will be able to work at ultra-high speeds with incredibly low latency. Still, the growth in loT will not solely be down to 5G. As an increasing number of countries are developing smart city initiatives, intelligent homes and energy efficient building strategies will start to become mainstream. A new wave of opportunities should emerge from the development of loT and automation.
  7. Increased safety and security of data Data security has long been a primary concern among businesses; even the biggest tech companies in the world are susceptible to data breaches. The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other legislation has introduced new challenges for businesses in all sectors. Noncompliance results in big penalties, so organisations must keep their data protection policies up to date and enhance their security practices.
  8. A new conception of the cloud While the cloud has been around for some time, it’s still as relevant as ever. It’s low-cost, easy-access and scalable, and plenty of telecommunications businesses use it. One of the main industry trends might be hybrid cloud ecosystems, which merge private or public cloud services with on-premises infrastructure. The latter allow you to be in complete control of your files, rather than leasing data centre resources from a third-party provider. This ecosystem makes it possible for businesses to transition to the cloud effortlessly without compromising on flexibility and control.

A new world of telecommunications

The telecommunications industry in the UK and across the globe is evolving and innovating all the time as we find new ways of using technologies. But 2020 has introduced a whole host of new challenges in the sector, and given companies the chance to roll out innovative and sometimes vital tools and services.

If you are interested in running your own business in the IT sector, take a look at our list of telecommunications franchises and their investment opportunities.

>> Read more articles on the Telecom sector

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