Predicting the future is always a risky business, but a safe bet in telecommunications is that technology will be at the core of what the future promises for the industry. It wasn’t too long ago that the telecom industry lived in a copper world and the dominant service was voice. Fiber, mobile, and IP technologies have ushered in a perception where it seems like anything is possible as long as you can solve the insatiable demand for more bandwidth. This ability to meet future demands will be sorely tested if we are to believe the Gartner forecast that there will be almost 20 billion connected devices supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020.
There is no doubt that network technology will advance, but what will the telecom of the future require to continue meeting our growing service demands? Perhaps history can help us gain a glimpse of the future. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, domestic employment in the telecommunication service industry was fairly steady in the early 1990s—at around 1 million employees—before growing rapidly in the latter half of the decade, eventually peaking at over 1.4 million in 2001. Since then, there has been a steady downward trend, reaching a low of 802,000 employees early this year. Despite declining employment in the service industry, consumer spending continued to grow. Through investments in new network equipment and automation of internal workflows, companies are meeting the demand for increased bandwidth and new services. Undoubtedly this trend will continue, but the telecom of the future will need to do more than automate today’s manual processes. Companies need to take a fresh look at how they can leverage new technology to eliminate work processes that might no longer be relevant.
Esri is working closely with other industry vendors and associations, such as the TM Forum, to ensure our GIS is helping meet the needs of the telecom of the future. Our latest efforts will be showcased at the TM Forum Live! event, May 9-12, in Nice, France. Esri and other vendors have participated in catalyst projects organized by the TM Forum that will help service providers improve customer experience and sell new IoT-based services. This is truly the telecom of the future, but in many ways, it is already here.
Learn more about Esri at TM Forum Live! and sign up to meet with us in Nice at go.esri.com/tmforum.