The Next Big Thing for Communications Service Providers – Big Data Analytics

What is the next big thing for Communications Service Providers (CSPs)? Several exciting concepts and disruptive ideas – in many cases, Over-The-Top (OTT) player relevant rather than CSP specific – would compete for this coveted title. Amongst them, a couple of industry buzzwords have already captured the public’s imagination and led to tangible product offerings.

The first one is ‘big data’, typically used to describe extremely large sets of data records that would be difficult and cost-prohibitive to store and process with traditional methods. For years, CSPs have collected network, service, handset/device and customer related data. Due to cost and complexity, this information was typically incomplete, used in departmental silos and discarded after a short period of time. The advent of big data facilitates a new paradigm.

With a cost-effective architecture that enables the storage of data records for long (volume) and the fast processing (velocity) of at-first-glance uncorrelated information (variety), CSPs can start realizing the promise of big data. This promise lies in analytics, which can be used to detect and reduce churn, improve customer experience and generate new CSP revenue streams, for example via targeted OTT service offerings. Big data analytics is also making its way into network engineering and operations to bring considerable CapEx/OpEx benefits through customer-centric decision making. And this is only the beginning.

On the other hand, the ‘connected world’ has monopolized headlines and industry events recently. The concept of connecting not just people but also ‘smart’ devices that gather everyday information and could communicate via wireless/wired systems has been described by a number of slightly different terms. Irrespective of the terminology (Internet of Things {IoT}, Internet of Everything {IoE}, Machine-to-Machine {M2M}), this concept is inextricably linked with the way we live.

Indeed, after phones and TVs, everything is becoming smart and connected: wearables, pacemakers, fridges, toothbrushes, pots, houses, energy, roads, cities… The ‘smart world’ era is dawning. And with more than 20 billion connected devices predicted by 2020, this presents extensive opportunities for CSPs. Just imagine the sheer amount of data that billions of connected devices on CSP networks would create, which would then need to be stored and analyzed…

In effect, the big data (analytics) and smart world concepts should be seen as distinct but associated entities. The smart world era will accelerate the need for and maximize the potential of big data. CSPs should grasp this unique chance to create value and escape the dumb-pipe provider ‘curse’, by working with vendors who speak the CSP language and can provide smart, flexible and scalable solutions. And although other industry buzzwords are likely to pose a challenge, it would appear that the next big thing for CSPs is smart, is (literally) big, and is here now.

MYCOM OSI enables ‘Smart Networks for a Smart World’, and is participating at Mobile World Congress 2015, Barcelona. Click here to request a meeting.