The telecommunication industry’s unique position for new revenue opportunities in big data, IoT, and VR

Telcos must regain value from over-the-top services and develop new sources of revenue by leveraging their data and infrastructure.

By Emily Drevets
December 15, 2016
Cellular network. Cellular network. (source: Pixabay)

Telcos are facing massive challenges stemming from new customer usage patterns, the rise of over-the-top (OTT) services, and a stagnant subscriber base. In this interview, O’Reilly’s Jon Bruner sat down with Dheeraj Remella, director of solutions architecture at VoltDB, to discuss how telcos must compete in the current industry landscape by using big data to regain value from OTT services and capitalizing on their infrastructure investment with the Internet of Things and augmented and virtual reality.

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Here are some highlights from their conversation:

Using big data to maintain an edge in customer intelligence and discover new revenue streams

When you look at the OTT providers [e.g., Skype and YouTube], they know their users in their universe, but all the universes of all the OTT providers are flowing through a cable service provider’s (CSP) network. This means CSPs have a unique opportunity to get a 360-view of customer behavioral patterns and utilization patterns across all of the OTT services a specific subscriber could be using. Depending upon how they manage opt-ins and opt-outs, they have an opportunity to create a platform in which they’re aggregating the subscribers’ behavioral DNA across these platforms.

With that intelligence, telcos can turn around and start using this to create revenue-generating opportunities while maintaining contextuality for the subscriber, because the utilization across the various OTT services ties to the subscriber. That subscriber DNA is going to provide continuity of contextualization.

Investing in the Internet of things could mean billions of new subscribers

We’re in an historically significant time frame where massive changes are happening through the Internet of Things. Think of what these IoT platforms mean for telcos. The telcos are provisioning the platform on which connected things are talking to each other. Instead of looking at it as an additional responsibility or additional load or challenge, the platform is an opportunity that can counter the effect of the limited population—and growth in subscribers—of the human world.

The IoT opens an opportunity to enroll several billions of subscribers, where the things are subscribers. If you just charge a cent per thing or two cents per thing, whatever actually makes sense, it becomes a real opportunity. On the other hand, of course, the infrastructure and the ability to transport the data and analyze it in real time starts increasing tremendously. Making the right investments in the right technologies is essential to tap into this new wave of market creation activity.

Capitalizing on infrastructure investment with augmented and virtual reality

When you’re making the kinds of investments needed to make 5G happen, you don’t want to just build the infrastructure and wait for something to happen. Rather, you should be the driver, facilitating the platforms that can begin to leverage the AR and VR infrastructure that’s coming into play. For example, look at Facebook and the other VR players. Right now they’re offering VR content, but as technology evolves, the content will become more advanced, more engaging and more real—with real opportunities for the telcos providing the platforms.

If telcos do not tap into that market by provisioning a platform as a service, they will give other players the opportunity. Now is the time for them to act because they are the first to market at this point. If they miss this opportunity, it’s going to be a missed opportunity to build on what they know about their subscribers—and a very expensive one at that.

This post is a collaboration between VoltDB and O’Reilly. See our statement of editorial independence.

Post topics: Data science