Are telcos ready for the second industrial revolution?

Imagine you could predict the future, how would you use your power? Would you make millions or inform the telco industry how digital will impact telcos in five years?

Speaking at the Managed Services World Congress in London A1 Telekom’s Slobodan Keseljevic was asked to make his mind up and chose to provide insight into not only the role of digital within the telecommunications industry, but also the opportunities for growth.

Firstly, the industry needs to understand not only the expectation on the digital transformation strategies which are now in place, but also the long-term impact. The implementation of new technologies and new business processes are not only a means to make organizations more efficient, but also signals the beginning of the second machine revolution.

The first machine revolution occurred during the 17th century industrial one. While this was not the first time machines had been used to increase efficiency, it was the first time the muscles of humans/animals were replaced by machines. This was a very significant moment in the development of modern man, and it would appear we are on the bridge of another significant phase.

The new digital era is the beginning of the second machine revolution. However this one will see machines replace the human mind. Certain functions will be automated and certain roles within an organization will become redundant. This is a significant change and according to Keseljevic it will continue to drive the effectiveness of the digital era.

With the vast quantities of information being collected on individuals, it becomes almost impossible for human beings to comprehend and process this data. The second machine revolution will allow machines to do the thinking for us in this context, while allowing humans the ability to look at the insight and create a greater value proposition for the digital economy. The future of digital is no longer creating products, but creating value for the customer.

But what does this mean for the telecommunications industry? The successful companies will diversify and invest in new areas to drive new revenue streams, whereas others will continue on the current path. One guarantee for the future of the telecommunications industry is the role of connectivity. Connectivity will drive the digital economy and the telcos will be responsible for the delivery. But is this enough for the telcos to continue to bring in the attractive profit margins? Considering the industry is heading towards the role of utility, it is highly unlikely.

The future of the telecommunications industry is unknown for the moment, though dark clouds are gathering overhead. As connectivity and the digital experience continues to grow throughout the world, the OTT’s become more influential, which in turn quietens the voice of the once supreme telcos.

The role of the telcos will change over the next five years. Whether this is for the good or the bad depends on the attitude of the organization to embrace diversification, and the reality that the business model which has served the industry well for many years, is now leading it towards the role of disappointment

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