It’s a good thing the Mayans got it wrong and the world didn’t end on Dec. 21st 2012, because 2013 introduced game-changing telecom trends with focus on network automation, cloud computing, small cells and big data.
Last year the wireless industry saw some pretty mind-blowing forecasts — from the SDN, NFV and network virtualization market growing to $4 billion in 2014 to Infonetics Research projecting the small cell market to hit $2.7 billion by 2017. In the third quarter alone, there were over 250 million global smartphone shipments, up 45 percent from a year ago.
Now with 2014 full-speed ahead, Nexius’ experts from across the wireless industry break down what these huge numbers really mean and share their own predictions for SON technology to UCaaS and much more:
1. SON Technology and Geo-Analytics
Naveen Bhatia – VP, Network Engineering:
Small Cells: We will see a few thousand small cells deployed in 2014, allowing operators to increase network capacity in localized areas. Small cells will help remove pressure from macro sites and meet the growing demand for data. However, with the complexity of small cell deployment, the infrastructure of small cells will evolve to support multiple wireless technologies, such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi.
SON: With increased small cell deployment, self-organizing networks (SON) will be necessary to maintain increasingly complex heterogeneous networks (HetNet). Basic tasks such as self-configuration, self-optimizing and self-healing will be automated allowing human intellect to focus on more complex tasks.
Geo Analytics and Localized Services: Geo analytics and localized services will be a vital part of 2014 with renewed focus on optimization for smaller customer-centric pockets. Instead of monitoring an entire city, network performance will look at very specific areas. This shift will result in more detailed network planning and optimization to improve customer experience and reduce costs.
2. Cross-Border Deals and Cool New Carrier Offerings
Paul-Andre Raymond – VP, Technology:
Cross-Border Investments: In 2013, we already saw operators begin to expand globally, but in 2014, we will see even more increases in cross-border investments. Top U.S. operators will shift some of their focus away from expanding their domestic network footprint and look for growth opportunities abroad.
New Services: 2014 will also see proliferation of new service offerings. The large LTE footprint that operators have already achieved is making a wealth of new, innovative services possible. So in the next year, operators will not only invest in expanding their LTE networks, but also in increasing the monetization of their existing structures. Because of this shift, you can expect to see more attention on applications such as connected cars, gaming and video services in 2014.
Internet of Things: With the focus on applications, you can expect to see new device manufacturers emerge. Companies will get creative to produce new wearable technology and devices for the Internet of Things (IoT).
3. Understanding Data and Customer Behavior Better
Atul Srivastava – VP, Software Delivery:
Unlocking Data: There will be a lot more emphasis on unlocking the value of structured and unstructured data in 2014. This will come from enhanced analysis tools and capabilities that will help carriers identify customer sentiment, reduce churn and increase efficient spending.
Customer Focus: More attention on understanding customer sentiment will result in a shift from a network-centric view to a customer-centric view. Through understanding customer behavior and feelings, carriers will be able to optimize their focus and spending.
Demographics: Carriers will also look to monetize the data they already have. There was movement in 2013 as some operators began to sell very focused information to outside marketers. This intelligence provides outside marketers with information such as the demographics of and actions performed by people on their smartphones and the types of services are they using. Information is even available to identify people’s movements after events, giving event sponsors a better understanding of their consumers.
4. The Cloud, Standards and UCaaS
Jim Hudmon – Director, Cloud and Service Delivery:
The Cloud: In 2014, operators will begin to utilize the bundling potential of cloud computing and virtualization to provide on-demand increased network resources and bandwidth. These efforts will define how operators securely free up network resources for managing costly network applications and services, while also introducing new revenue streams.
SDN/NFV: With software defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) efforts in place, value focus will shift from software to high-value network services for the operators. SDN/NFV standards define how applications and services can control network assets to shift resources real time for high value applications running on the operator’s network.
UCaaS: With the maturation of unified communication as a service (UCaaS) in 2014, operators can offer a standard unified communications experience across all devices. In 2014, we will see UCaaS services combined with web real-time communication (WebRTC) clients to provide operators a portfolio of embedded converged communication services for PCs, mobile devices and tablets.