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Obsolete structures in the telecoms industry put a wet blanket over new innovations

Welcome to Packetfront Software’s new blog. Here we will publish regular posts about issues surrounding the telecommunications industry and the business of operators in particular. Our intention is to highlight the many challenges our customers and potential customers face today.

All too often we notice an unwarranted resignation among them to many of the problems facing the industry. One such recurring problem or theme is the energy and focus they are forced to devote to keep their networks up and running manually.

The instant parallel you get is how the auto industry looked like 40 years ago, then with a high degree of manual processes and high dependency on individual skills to handle many routine operations in the production. Today the auto industry has evolved and is now highly automated and will become even more so in the future. The same thing has happened in most other industries, including agriculture.

But in the telecom industry the degree of automation of routine activities are at best rare, at worst non-existent. It forces the operators to put a lot of energy and resources into just keeping their networks up and running. Too much resources. This is reflected in the low number of new services and innovation level in the telecommunications industry. And the new services that are being developed are not coming from the operators themselves, but driven by the over-the-top content (OTT) providers, such as Google and Netflix. Consequently, it is the OTT which in many cases “owns” the customer and thus earn the money.

But this scenario can be changed we believe. In a series of blog posts, we aim to provide you with our views and thoughts on this situation. What problems do we see and how can the power of innovation be returned to the operators again. For without the innovation of new services that can be realized at the rate customers are demanding, the telecommunications industry will end up in a cul-de-sac. A large scale elimination of operators will take place as many of them end up being only bit pipes, constantly struggling with price pressure and increasingly dependent on volumes in order to make a profit.

A major problem that permeates the entire telecom sector today are the many myths that exist. We often encounter these myths in our contact with customers and we will initially focus on the three of the most common ones:

  • “Our network is so complex that it is impossible to automate.”
  • “Changing our network would involve excessive risks”.
  • “The transformation of our network will take a very long time and cost significantly more than it tastes. We simply do not have the time to look over our network right now”.

All these myths are, as we will discover, practical (and mental) barriers to innovation. In our next post, we will develop the context around the myth of network complexity.