By Patrik Melander, President, Ericsson GCC & Pakistan
As the world becomes increasingly digital, network vendors have to explore innovative solutions in order to provide their customers the ability to encompass a shift to the Networked Society.
The continued development towards the Networked Society reality will include significant progress in the life of people, in business and in shaping the society of tomorrow. The spread of technology in the years ahead will bring radical interventions across entire industries throughout the Middle East and Africa Region, as well as the world.
So who’s leading this ICT transformation?
Interestingly, consumer demand for digital services, products and solutions, sometimes extending beyond what the operator is able to provide is leading this transformation story. Until fairly recently, providing data and connectivity for digital devices – which allowed end users to increase connectivity from an on demand basis to continuous connectivity and communication across multiple channels including talk, message, VoIP, social applications and internet services – was enough.
However, ICT has changed nearly every aspect of modern life and, if we are to realize the full value of the Networked Society, it is time we used it to transform the nature of telecommunications as a whole. Consumer demands for digital services have begun to seep into non-digital enterprises, which is a further compelling reason for operators to fully transform to the digital sphere to meet these increased requirements.
As we witness the convergence between telecoms, IT and media domains, it becomes apparent that bridging them is key to the ongoing transformation within the industry; it acts not only as a focus for telecom operators, but extends to enterprise and government segments as well. Transformative ICT will empower operators to manage the complexity of change, speed the adoption of new technologies and add intelligence to the end result.
The Networked Society enables new levels of interaction as it provides a new mode of innovation that is constantly changing, responding, experimenting and adapting. Rather than rewarding exclusive vertical silos, Networked Society thrives on participation.
For this reason, it is vital for companies like Ericsson to capture these opportunities and collaborate with customers, partners and consumers to make these possibilities a reality. Succeeding in this environment calls for an entirely new level of performance, broadening capabilities and establishing strategic direction. But achieving it will take massive transformations in nearly every aspect of the operator’s business – which would be impossible to effect in a practical timeframe were it not for the transformative power of IT.
Vendors will also have to diversify their customer relationship strategies from CTO (Chief Technology Officer) to encompass a broader audience across the whole gambit of senior management. This in turn, will spur industries to espouse ICT into their business so that they can offer a portfolio of digital services that the end user requires.
These requirements include agility services such as charging and billing as a service, or collaborating with emerging disruptors to create an integrated service – for example over the top (OTT) services. ICT transformation touches on each function within an organization today and alone each change marks progress; when combined however, it unlocks the capacity to transform entire industries as we know them.
Rapidly transforming industries include transport, utilities and oil and gas, which continue to become increasingly reliant on machine to machine (M2M) technologies and cloud based services. These industries are, in turn, leading the Smart City evolution by providing increased connectivity, not just between the industry and its customers, but between the industry and machines.
ICT Transformation is driven by the global vision of a Connected Planet, with major initiatives that are being enabled by key ICT solutions and foundational products and services. There is a bright future for service companies that embrace this next generation service approach. It demands a shift away from technology-led to business outcome-led solutions.
Looking ahead, the immense collective capabilities of digital networks and their users has the capacity to solve challenges on a grand scale. Using ICT will enable us to capitalize on inefficiencies at an organizational level enhancing our capacity for making radical interventions across industries, cities and societies throughout the region.
It is the operators that are taking on an increasingly strategic role within this industry transformation and the rise and rise of the Smart City is becoming increasingly dependent on them. So it is only natural to believe that the operators that can provide global best practice solutions and ensure successful advanced networking deployments to emerge as leaders in the Smart City transformation story.