Total Telecom and Intel brought together a number of expert speakers from numerous fields to discuss the necessity for telcos of embracing emerging technologies effectively, from 5G to AI, if they are to remain competitive

In the modern world, technology is advancing at a blistering pace. The pandemic has brought digitalisation to the fore, with the world gaining a renewed appreciation for just how vital connectivity is in every aspect of our lives.  
For telcos, this time in the limelight and digital growth has brought numerous opportunities but also new challenges. Customers may be more receptive than ever to the adoption of new technologies, but it is the telcos themselves that must rapidly transform to embrace technological innovation if they are to avoid being bypassed by opportunistic enterprise players. 
In a recent Intel event hosted by Total Telecom, numerous telcos and tech companies came together to discuss the intricacies of a number of these important new technologies, exploring their transformative nature and why telcos must lead from the front or find themselves being left behind. 
5G & Communications: A catalyst for innovation 
Many had forecast 2020 to be the so-called ‘Year of 5G’, but that was before the pandemic struck in earnest. Nonetheless, 5G has gained considerable momentum globally, opening a myriad of doors for telcos and forcing them to rethink their existing business models. 
“In fact, pandemic drove us towards innovation,” explained Peter Rodriguez, Senior Manager of 5G Programme Delivery at Vodafone UK. “We had to rapidly improve our network. In many cases the technology has already been developed, but we are now in a situation where you are forced to use it.” 
With digitalisation taking centre stage, 5G is becoming more important than ever, not only for the transformation of the telecoms industry but also global economies on a larger scale. 
“The silver lining of the situation the world is currently going through is that there has been a significant rethink of what needs to be done to be ready for such situations, not just now but in the future, and that involves 5G in a big way,” said Sriram Vishwanath, CEO, GenXComm.

Delivering Innovation for Telco Transformation – 5G and Communications Track

IoT & Edge: Building a connected world 
The range of applications for the IoT and edge computing is mind-boggling. Far from just simple in-home smart metres, these are technologies that will fundamentally change the way we gather and utilise data, ultimately bringing concepts like smart cities and autonomous vehicles within reach. 
“One fascinating example is being able to identify and alert drivers to the presence of black ice,” explained Ziv Livne, Chief Business Officer at TriEye. “Currently, drivers can only be made aware of black ice when the car detects that its movement does not match those of its driver’s physical commands – but by then it is too late. Using IoT and the edge, you can use an on-board solution to directly assist the vehicle and its driver in real-time, or use road monitoring cameras to ensure real-time updates for other vehicles.” 
But alongside a wide range of opportunities, there remains a number of challenges for these technologies’ implementation. Collaboration between stakeholders at multiple levels will be required to truly harness the power of edge computing and the IoT.  
“We need to find a way for different companies and different authorities in numerous countries to talk to one another,” said Ludovico Fassati, Head of IoT at Vodafone Americas. “All of this requires very specific infrastructure. The more data we have, the better decisions we can make.” 

Delivering Innovation for Telco Transformation- IoT Track 

AI: Harnessing data in real time 
With so much data to analyse and so little time in which to do so, AI is becoming a staple throughout telco networks and business operations. 
“The reasons AI should be embraced by telcos is two-fold,” explained Cornelia Schaurecker,?Big Data & AI Director at Vodafone. “First, for the telcos themselves; the digital transformation we are seeing across the industry right now will serve to enable AI, and that in turn will enable greater automation, which will ultimately enable yet more digital transformation. It is a positive cycle that will result in a constantly improving quality of service.”  
“Secondly, it will directly benefit the customers. As telcos we have things like 5G and edge cloud computing, which will be real assets to our customers, but they will need AI to perform optimally. 5G, edge computing and AI will really allow any company, even smallest ones, to perform better in their respective markets.” 

Integrating AI into telco products and solutionsIntegrating AI into telco products and solutions 

Cloud & Data Centre: More data, more potential 

With new data-hungry technologies emerging seemingly every day, it is clear that data management is going to be an area of ever growing importance for telcos. Luckily, innovation in the cloud and data centre technology is stepping up to meet demand, allowing the operators to make the most of their enormous data hauls. 
“With 5G and the IoT, data is expanding exponentially,” said Charlie Yu, SE Director at Memverge. 
“Our focus for handling this data is three-fold: more real-time, more analytics, and lower costs. New technology means we can go both large and fast when it comes to data – this simply was not an option before.” 
But once again telcos cannot afford to become complacent. Transitioning to cloud native architecture is becoming paramount in terms of network transformation.  
“The Vodafone approach has been to target all areas of our internal network – be that the IT stack or the network stack – to focus on making them as cloud as possible,” explained Joanna Newman, Principal Cloud Transformation Manager, Technology Strategy & Architecture at Vodafone. “What we’re seeing is that there are a lot of cloud native opportunities on the IT stack, which is brilliant, and we’re starting to see them become available for the network stack too. One of our golden rules is to be cloud native wherever possible.”

Delivering Innovation for Telco Transformation – Cloud & Data Centre 

Undeterred by the pandemic, technological innovation continues to flourish throughout the telecoms industry. Now it is up to telcos to ensure that they adapt and dedicate themselves to this changing tech landscape before it is too late. 
 All of these sessions are free to watch in full from the links above
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