Aveek is the Regional Director & General Manager for the Asia Pacific region at Aerospike. He is based out of Bangalore. In a career spanning over 22 years, he has held various roles in sales, technology, market development and consulting. As a business leader, he is passionate about working with leaders in the space of data and solving real-world technology challenges. In his current position, his responsibilities include strategising and prioritising sales efforts in APAC with an eye for the long term. He plays a key role in building a high performing team across the region, establishing a strong executive connect with key customers, partners and prospects, and leading cross-collaboration efforts across marketing, business development, sales, technology and consulting functions. Aveek also acts as a key escalation point in customer issues and managing key internal stakeholders.
Customer needs and expectations have always been at the forefront on what businesses focus on. The pandemic has accelerated these needs and expectations multi-fold. Seamless connectivity, always-on access to services, on-demand shopping, streaming and more – the post-pandemic customer wants everything to be simpler, faster and available yesterday. The world is increasingly more connected and collaborative. And at the heart of this connectedness is an important breakthrough for Communications Service Providers (CSPs): 5G.
This fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks promises ultra-low latency, improved data rates and greater volumes of data. Take a look at these statistics, for instance: Over the next five years, the rise in mobile-phone penetration and decline in data costs are expected to add over 500 million new internet users in India. App downloads in India are expected to increase to 37.21 billion in 2022F. By 2025 alone, India could need approximately 22 million skilled workers in 5G-centric technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and cloud computing.1
The signs are clear: 5G is opening the doors to new services and higher profit margins for CSPs. Here’s a closer look at some of the changes in store for the future.
#1: Hyper-personalization of customer experiences
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s got the best customer experience of them all? That’s the question on every business’s mind. 5G will be a key differentiator in how effectively CSPs capture the consumer’s attention in an already competitive world. Take your favorite mobile service provider, for example. From just mobile and data plans for calls and internet browsing, service providers have grown to offer personalized music, subscription, payments and OTT services. The ultra-low latency and improved data rates associated with 5G will enable network slicing, which means more services at better speeds, within the same infrastructure. The challenge, though, will be to manage, leverage, and analyze the data across silos, while also optimising new investments in modern infrastructure and applications. All this, while providing the best customer experience –at real-time speeds.
With 5G, CSPs also get massively parallel low latency databases that can help simplify, collect and consolidate huge amounts of operational data at terabyte – petabyte scale in real-time from all online and offline customer data sources. This will enable them to create a dynamic customer profile with a single 360-degree view and drive more personalization, while also opening the way for other business drivers with microservices like online gaming, streaming media, personalized advertising, online charging & billing systems with self-service capabilities. All of which can grow into highly profitable revenue streams.
With the zip zap zoom of 5G networks, energy efficiency and sustainability will also be a point of focus in how environment friendly the customer experience will be.
#2: Transformation of traditional elements of the telecom business
Once real-time usage of data is enabled, CSPs can leverage the operational data that comes in, analyzing it in real-time using Machine Learning to:
- Prevent fraud more effectively by easily detecting unauthorized account access for TV, Internet, and mobile usage and services, or cloning of TV and networking devices.
- Reduce customer churn and increase customer delight by identifying customer events and patterns as they happen, and creating an intelligent, contextual engagement model across channels.
- Personalize real-time charging and policy management by enabling rating, discounting and settlements across networks.
- Reinventing billing systems to facilitate new revenue services that are based on ever-changing customer needs. These can be service agnostic and need to be monetized efficiently with massive amounts of data.
#3: A highly connected ecosystem of cutting-edge tech
Beyond the telecom industry, 5G will continue to play a pivotal role in enhancing experiences and driving digitization of industries, especially in manufacturing, supply chain, gaming, e-health, connected vehicles and traffic systems. By enabling a greater in-flow of data across devices, businesses will be able to use new AI and ML models to realize better outcomes for network transformation, customer centricity and digital innovation.
Multi-access Edge Compute, or MEC, is a noteworthy partner to 5G. It brings technology resources closer to the end user, thereby reducing latency significantly. Localized data is an additional advantage – businesses can access it faster and create more contextually aware services. Online gaming will also be impacted significantly, as mentioned earlier. In conjunction with MEC, 5G will facilitate the passive collection of in-game data, which can then be processed in real-time at the edge, leading to dynamic in-game engagement – which in turn makes the game experience ‘stickier’ for a gamer.
Another key capability that 5G enhances is in the area of IoT. Its ability to connect to innumerable IoT elements at the same time translates into broader device sensing and control. This would be especially useful in industrial, robotics, agriculture and mobility sectors and smart city projects. As for daily wearables like smart watches, EarPods, AR/VR headsets, they will continue to evolve as 5G gets implemented more widely. The combination of 5G and IoT will also be critical in preparing for natural calamities in the future. Take the example of the current pandemic – wearable devices in the healthcare segment have helped remotely monitor the health of those with illnesses, or even connected doctors and patients for seamless, virtual consultations via video.
A trend that’s here to stay
5G may have begun as a trend, but as we explore what it’s capable of, the invaluable data it enables and how well it works with AI, ML, MEC and IoT, it is likely to be a game changer for customer experience, globally. If organizations need to stay ahead in the game, they don’t just need to ride the 5G wave – they also need to put on their innovation hats and find new ways to make waves with it.