In the run up to the Carriers World 2018 event, we caught up with Steven Yap, Chief Executive Officer at M800 Limited, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the carriers’ community
What trends are you noticing developing in the market at the moment?
Many enterprises currently are working towards elevating the security of their communication and data handling. The progress of technology in recent years has brought about various ways for individuals and businesses to communicate and store data. These include email, the cloud, and public communication apps. These platforms are freely accessible and convenient for communication but are highly susceptible to attacks. Governments have shown their concerns regarding this fact as well. The recently established GDPR in Europe was created specifically to address this and is evidence of the transformation of data privacy.
For companies, there are those that are in heavily-regulated industries such as fintech and banking where millions of dollars are being exchanged on a regular basis and the risk of hacking needs to be kept at zero. The solution that many of these company found was either to invest in building their own private servers to store their data or rent infrastructure usage from a trusted certified party.
What this means is that enterprises are starting to prevent employees from using public apps (ie WeChat and Whatsapp) for internal and external communication with customers, driving for private enterprise applications.
What are the key challenges facing carriers in today’s telecoms market place?
The world at large has shifted into the digital age and carriers likewise have been put into a position to evolve as well. While the normal pure telecommunication business model is ‘safe’ and will generate a healthy revenue stream, a wise business would see the changes that are happening and transform. With this being said though, adopting a new digital-centric business model requires time, resources and knowledge.
For carriers, the answer to this issue is partnering with a communication solution provider that offer products that build on the strong foundation of the telecommunications structure and industry standards, with an added IT layer on top. The partner company should value the concept of ‘federation’ where fellow industry players are considered as being a part of their bigger team. In this case, the partner company would offer the carriers with new digital-based communication solutions that assist them on a new revenue stream. This also allows carriers to quickly beat the market since everything already exists.
What predictions do you have for the state of the industry over the next 12-18 months?
Internet-of-things and mobile apps are growing rapidly and are going to continue to do so for the next 18 months. According to some industry reports, the number of IoT devices globally will reach almost 31 billion by 2020. With an estimated 7.8 billion world population by then, that is almost four devices per person. It is safe to say from here that we are becoming increasingly more connected. What this also means, however, is the amount of personal information and data being transferred will increase as well.
This leads into the subject of security and how businesses can ensure individuals that use their devices won’t be at risk of having their data taken. They will need to expand on their security policies to match industries standards or government requirements, which are seemingly becoming stricter as time goes on. Data protection will likely be the most if not one the most important issues for the communication industry over the several years and companies need to be prepared.
What new technologies are you particularly excited about at the moment?
Presently, the technologies that we are most interested in are artificial intelligence and big data, components which we believe are vital for businesses and will attain mass adoption in the future.
Many companies nowadays offer or use digital products to support their clients, be it a mobile app or computer software. While these products are powerful in of itself, they will become exponentially better at doing their job once they are compounded by AI. Adding intelligence to devices and software, AI allows them to automate high-volume computerized tasks reliably and without fatigue.
One area we believe we will see AI most prominently is in data collection and analysis.
Through this procedure, businesses can process a large amount of data such as customer interests instantly and find structure and regularities in them. In addition, through deep learning, AI will get only better as more data is fed into them, allowing them to be even more accurate and faster as they grow.
What new markets are you particularly interested in at the moment?
We are very excited about the significant growth we are currently seeing in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Greater China when it comes to developing their information technology and communications industries. Businesses in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, for example, have been producing a number of IoT devices that we believe will have a huge impact in the future. These include several driverless flying vehicle projects that will change transportation completely. However, if we were to speak about sheer growth and utilization, then we have to turn to Greater China.
Greater China since several years ago, has seen an explosion of demand and usage of communication apps. Be it for chatting purposes or digital payments, almost every Chinese citizen now hold in their hands a connected device. We see a huge opportunity here where CPaaS companies can step in and provide network infrastructure support to facilitate or add communication functionalities to these apps and devices.
Empowering connected devices with further communication capabilities will allow them to do what they are doing already but better. This includes extending their network reach to the rest of the world or making their connection more reliable. Of course, security is also a key matter on this subject and the support provided by a proven network infrastructure provider will allow all the information and data that is regularly passed around to be kept safe.
How would you describe M800 background and success?
First, we establish our technical capabilities. We have over 35 years of experience we have developing industry-leading solutions in the telecom, mobile and software industry. In the time since our founding, we have built a very strong communication platform that is able to support the needs of many different markets, ranging from retail to fintech. In order to best serve our partners, we have invested a great amount of time and resources into building our extensive global network infrastructure and upgrading and maintaining our security procedures.
Second is our firm belief in the federation model. We treat our fellow industry players as partners and make any effort possible to support their achievements. At the same time, our partners allow us to leverage their strengths as well. In multiple instances, our partners and we have worked together to create something that was truly unique to our cooperation. That is how we grow together.