Telco forecast: what to expect in 2019

Telco forecast: what to expect in 2019

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Portfolio

Simon Leather, Head of Connectivity Portfolio

What can you expect in 2019?

The next year will be significant for the telecommunications industry. Powered by the new full fibre strategy, the UK is a leader of technology. We’ve seen a surge of connected IoT devices which we predict will keep growing and artificial intelligence will help businesses improve service and insights. Want to learn more? We’ve gathered insights about the key things Telco’s should be paying attention to in 2019.

Connectivity

FibreNationFull fibre

In November 2018 TalkTalk announced the launch of FibreNation, a new company to build our fibre network across the UK. Building on successful trials in York, where the city has benefitted from super-fast Internet, we aim to provide over 3million people in the UK with full fibre broadband.

This follows the UK government’s plans for full fibre, a strategy which includes reducing the cost of fibre broadband, prioritising remote rural areas for funding and increasing the spectrum of innovation for 5G services. The Government hopes 15 million homes and businesses will benefit from full fibre services by 2025. Currently just 5% of UK homes and businesses have access to the full fibre broadband, compared to over 80% elsewhere in Europe.

5G

Are you ready for the new era of technology? 5G creates faster and more flexible connectivity for mobile and IoT devices and brings new experiences in augmented reality and virtual reality.  5G is predicted to account for as many as 1.2 billion connections by 2025 and is likely to cover one-third of the world’s population, according to research by GSMA.

Networks are predicted to begin rollout 5G in late 2019 or 2020, however some claim that they are ahead of the game. CEO of BT Group, Gavin Patterson, said EE would lead the market to 5G by looking to have a commercial product launched within the next 18 months. However, Ofcom have previously advised that the 5G targeted radio spectrum bands may not be completely ready for commercial use until sometime in 2020. Even then, both the network hardware and the consumer phones may not be ready to support 5G. We look forward to seeing how 5G is rolled out over the next couple of years.

AI 

As consumers, we have embraced artificial intelligence (AI) and welcome it into our homes with the likes of Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple’s Siri. However, in the next year we predict that more businesses will utilise AI technology to streamline their operations. For example, machine learning analyses and manipulates large volumes of data and helps to free up manual workloads. AI can carry out tests quicker than an engineer could, while predictive reasoning discovers creative solutions to problems solving.

Here at TalkTalk Business we’ve been using Robotics to improve how we support customer order provisioning and communications. Keep your eyes peeled for our ‘Easy to do business with’ series of blogs, which will be coming in the next few months for more information on that.

The Internet of Things AI computer

Connectivity is driving major changes across every part of our lives, whether at work, in the community or at home. This transcends beyond laptops and smartphones, it’s the ‘Internet of Things’ - smart cars, homes, wearables, cities and healthcare which contribute to create a connected life.

According to a Gartner report, by the year 2020 connected devices across all technologies will reach to 20.6 billion. The Internet of Things (IoT) devices will demand a huge surge in data volumes, from exabytes or even zettabytes per year, placing a large amount of pressure on the current UK infrastructure.

Research conducted by Sandvine reported that Nest home was the most significant IoT device, coming in as 55th on the list of connections at 0.16% and .01% of upload bandwidth. While Alexa and Siri appeared at 05% of connections worldwide, with Alexa 97th on the list and Siri at 102nd. Some of the top IoT devices include

The Digital workplace

Our connected environment has blurred the lines of the physical office, with more people enjoying the benefits of working remotely than ever before. It’s not a trend that will be going anywhere - in the State of Remote Work 2018 Report conducted by Buffer90% of remote workers surveyed said they planned on working remotely for the rest of their careers, while 94% of people said they would encourage others to work remotely.

For the digital workplace to thrive, connection and collaboration are key. The key to making remote work a success is providing employees with the right tools to collaborate, communicate and connect with one another. The use of VoIP and SIP technology as the basis of business communications will be integral to this success. As companies upgrade their data networks to become more mobile and flexible, this technology will offer productivity and cost benefits, enabling firms to streamline their systems and easily scale up and down when required.

You can learn more about the Digital Workforce in our Workforces 2025 report (full report available here) with YouGov & industry-leading futurist, Graeme Codrington.

The connected office

In 2019 we predict that more businesses will use connectivity to improve energy efficiency and monitor workplace costs. Using a combination of software and sensors, the network facilitates an exchange of data between objects and mechanisms. Do all your staff work remotely on Wednesdays? No problem, you can save money and energy by switching off the lighting and heating all from a smart phone or connected device.

Digital transformation via the cloud

Man and woman looking at tabletAccording to research by Vanson Bourne and cited on the Cloud Industry Forum 84% of UK businesses will increase their use of cloud in 2019 in pursuit of digital transformation. The research surveyed UK-based IT and business decision-makers and found that 68% of businesses have a digital transformation strategy in place, or are in the process of implementing one, with the majority seeing cloud as a vital component of their strategy.

In addition, the research found that organisations are spending more money on cloud infrastructure than they are on on-site premises. It predicted that by 2022 only 12% of IT budgets will be spent on legacy technology as more people have adopted the cloud.

Voice

The WLR switch off

The countdown is on. Soon traditional telephony networks will be switched off and replaced by IP telephony services, representing the move to a digital, fibre-led future. Although 2025 seems like a long way away, there is a feeling that people aren’t convinced it will happen. We’re here to tell you this it will happen, and you need to make a change sooner rather than later.

Don’t worry, there are a plethora of alternatives such as SIP or hosted voice, or if you’re a small business you could use a single line for your voice traffic. Plus, there are loads of benefits that come with using voice products. For example, IVR is perfect for call routing and call handling capabilities, allowing you to save time and money and improve workflow.

Web RTC function

Web RTC is a functionality that creates real-time communications via simple APIs. These can be developed for browser, mobile applications and IoT devices, allowing them all to communicate via a common set of protocols. Currently only a handful of small providers are utilising this functionality, therefore Web RTC could be a great option to compliment your product portfolio.

Will these technologies pass the ‘trough of disillusionment’?

Gartner’s hype cycle describes how interest in emerging technologies either wavers, grows, or fails due to lack of investment and implementation. Will these technologies reach the next stage of the cycle over the coming year?

Blockchain Glasses infront of computer screens

Blockchain is a database that can be distributed by multiple users are the same time. Instead of having several databases that singular users can access, blockchain uses decentralised technology, which means that any change on one database effects the entire network.

There are several benefits to using blockchain, Plus, by storing data across its network blockchain eliminates the risk of that come with data being held centrally.

Li-Fi

Li-Fi has been around for the last few years, could 2019 be the year it breaks into the mainstream?  Li-Fi stands for Light Fidelity and is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system which powers wireless communications that travel at very high speeds. Li-Fi runs on visible light waves and uses household LED bulbs to enable data transfer, with speeds of up to 224 gigabits per second. As connectivity can only be transferred via the LED bulbs in one room it means that the connection is completely private and secure.