This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Zoltan Varnai, Cloud Native Core Marketing Manager at Nokia
Start-ups can make established companies uncomfortable. While they typically have lower resources and budgets, these newcomers are armed with innovative ideas and an enthusiasm to take over the market. Now that the fast evolving world of 5G is upon us, telco companies could learn a great deal from such a mindset.
5G will create new ways for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to create innovative products and services that capture the attention of users. With a programmable 5G cloud-native core network, CSPs can transform services that are taken for granted today, such as voice.
Though CSPs are well organized and professionally managed organizations, many could find new ways to accelerate innovation, reduce costs and disrupt competition by adopting five key traits from startup companies.
First, accept that the services that will make you money in the future will probably not be the same as those that have been profitable in the past.
Voice services today tend to be free or offered on a decreasing flat-rate charge. But voice is a nonnegotiable for customers. Rethink your voice offering by connecting and integrating it with other services. For example, with support from the programmable IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), voice could be at the heart of a new streaming service that builds on the smart stadium. Working with event organizers, premium stadium tickets could include access to share video streams with to up to three friends in voice and chat bundles created by the CSP.
Second, be agile. Startups develop ideas fast without being held back by bureaucracy or red tape. Their nimble and adaptable way of working should be adopted by more and more companies to break down siloes and achieve a faster time to market with customer focused services
Third, be prepared to experiment and fail. Not every idea will pan out. This approach will limit the amount of time and resources lost on unsuccessful projects. It allows you to pursue several projects at once with limited risk and ensures that only the most profitable ideas make the cut in the long term. 5G can help, as it offers a new Application Programming Interface (API) exposure framework that supports sandboxing for safe testing of new cloud-native applications to find errors quickly and rule out unviable concepts.
Fourth, capitalize on technology enablers. It’s essential to be cognizant of and exploit the secure cloud-native application creation capabilities enabled by APIs.
5G is built on technologies that open up the network and enable more exciting and valuable services. The Network Exposure Function (NEF) acts as a secure API gateway for cloud applications to reveal network programming capabilities. NEF is constantly exposing a growing number of APIs. It’s important to implement NEF in a way that also enables integration of third-party APIs for limitless service creation possibilities. For example, keyword detection systems and natural language processing plug-ins can be integrated into 5G voice to create a new service, like voice IoT activation.
Fifth, don’t try to do everything yourself. Startups know they can’t do everything. In response, they turn to partnerships. CSPs should do the same. Find partners to develop cloud-based services with, and share the workload of testing, implementing and operating those services. This will inevitably lead to revenue sharing, but it will be more than offset by the power of ecosystem development. By taking advantage of other parties’ expertise, companies will find increased revenue and greatly reduced development time and project risk.
The new frontier for 5G: voice
As I mentioned previously, voice is just one industry that will be completely transformed by 5G. The capabilities of 5G that allow for a huge variety of novel new services are about to change the business relationship between CSPs, consumers and enterprises – and the opportunities are endless.
Whether its services, partnerships or strategies, 5G is going to change the game for CSPs and sticking to the status quo isn’t going to cut it. By adopting the techniques of startups, CSPs can accelerate innovation, reduce costs and disrupt competition to come out on top.
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