By Aditi Mishra – Blog Oracle
Mobile devices play a pivotal role in the technology innovations that continue to transform the business and consumer worlds, as attendees at the recent Mobile World Congress 2018 (MWC) saw and experienced. The cutting-edge applications for artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and a plethora of connected devices (aka Internet of Things, or IoT) demonstrated at the conference, while promising tremendous benefits for all industries, also create an explosion of data that needs to be managed before they realize their full potential.
For traditional telecommunications companies, it is the data generated from this connectivity that holds the key to differentiating themselves and maintaining a competitive position in the industry.
Accelerated 5G: It’s All About the Data
There is a growing sense of urgency to complete the deployment of the 5G networks that will bring the potential of IoT to reality. Ericsson and Nokia are reporting that 5G rollouts are ahead of schedule, and telcos like Verizon and AT&T are hoping to be the ‘first’ to roll out 5G soon. This eagerness stems largely from the realization that with a 5G network in place, telcos become uniquely positioned to facilitate and monetize the data they collect. Thanks to 5G and IoT, the data capital of telcos will quickly expand, and the opportunity in front of them is tremendous.
To get a sense of the revenue possibilities, note that IHS forecasts that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 75.4 billion in 2025—a nearly 400% increase over a 10-year period. Considering that every connected device will generate enormous amounts of data, this increase presents huge new potential revenue for telcos that have an IT infrastructure ready to optimize the coming data deluge.
One need only look to the smart city revolution occurring in Barcelona to learn both the opportunities and the challenges.
Lessons Learned from the Smart City of the Future: Barcelona
In Barcelona, Spain, the current possibilities of IoT are continually being tested. After implementing 500 km of optical fiber, free Wi-Fi routed through street lighting, and sensors that monitor air quality, the city’s leadership is finding ways for IoT to better serve its citizens.
Examples of the successes to date include the ability to deliver more reliable bus services with information updates at bus stops and easier ticketing, and sensors in multistory parking garages that help people find vacant spaces.
These advances have not come without issues. The most pressing has been how to manage data coming from disparate sources, which poses a challenge for how to integrate that data so that it can be efficiently analyzed and leveraged. Said Barcelona CTO and digital commissioner Francesca Bria, “City Hall ended up with a lot of data, with a lot of dashboards, and yet without any capacity to really use data and information to take better decisions for the public good, or to give ownership of the data to citizens.”
Big Data: The Winning Strategy
There’s no question that big data solutions are needed. There’s also no question that DIY infrastructure is not the answer. The vast potential and real-time impact of IoT makes building the needed infrastructure both time and mission-critical. While DIY solutions may be tempting, they also come with risks and challenges. In fact, Gartner estimates that 85% of big data projects fail due to the difficulty of integrating with existing business processes and applications, among other challenges.
To realize the potential of monetizing their data, telcos must recognize the vital importance of a seamlessly integrated infrastructure that is capable of supporting massive data workloads. Fortunately, telcos can learn from the success of one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, Telefonica Spain.
Telefonica Spain serves 320 million customers in 21 countries in Latin America and Europe. The telco giant is investing big in the future of the communities where it operates, with more than $7.5 billion already invested in R&D.
With the huge amounts of structured and unstructured data that it must manage, the telecom company’s goals included:
- Unifying business intelligence (BI) systems for visibility into market trends and customer preferences
- Simplifying and integrating IT, BI, and big data systems to analyze data from multi-device customers
- Developing new and better products and services
To accomplish these goals, Telefonica Spain deployed Oracle Engineered Systems, which included Big Data Appliance, to aggregate massive amounts of data from multiple of sources at speed and scale. Specifically, Telefonica used Big Data Appliance to analyze data from coming from their landline service, mobile service, pay-TV, and other digital sources including market trend data to gain a better understanding of customers’ use of services and generate customer insights. Telefonica also leveraged Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic to power and unify the company’s mission-critical applications and CRM platform with BI tools, and thereby analyze more than 3,200TB of data.
The results have enabled Telefonica to reduce costs, create seamless integrations between systems and networks, make better business decisions, and offer more personalized services. Telefonica’s ability to analyze real-time data from multiple customer devices has made a significant impact on customer satisfaction in several areas, including call center efficiency, complaint resolution time, and the ability to enhance its cloud TV service with personalized content recommendations. The company tripled the cost efficiency of its BI infrastructure and reduced the time-to-market of new data sources by 90%.
Building the Data Infrastructure to Monetize IoT
We all know that telcos operate within a heavily regulated environment, and, as such, typically rely on on-premises infrastructures to maintain control of their data. On-premises environments address compliance regulations, but if massive amounts of data must be retrieved from multiple remote locations in the cloud, latency issues arise. These latency issues can hinder the real-time data processing that will be necessary to truly monetize IoT.
What telcos need is an infrastructure that keeps them compliant but can also deliver the benefits of a cloud deployment—for instance, real-time data processing, simplicity, and an on-demand, subscription-based consumption model. Oracle Big Data Cloud at Customer (BDCC), which brings the cloud to them, inside their own data center, delivers on the promise. BDCC allows telcos to not only gain the ability to monetize real-time data generated by IoT, but also cut time-to-market and operating costs.
A Pivotal Time for Telcos
IoT will create an explosion of data that will require 5G networks to make its potential a reality. Telcos are ideally positioned to lead this charge, but the commitment to invest in integrated infrastructure designed specifically for big data processes will be critical for the successful monetization of this opportunity. Now is the time for telcos to not only reimagine the future of their business, but also to begin going after it.
The ability to leverage engineered systems to create the foundation of a highly connected world, upon which business and government can implement IoT innovations, will create a brighter future for people—and a more profitable future for telcos.