Communications service providers (CSPs) see enormous opportunity in convergence and recognize that improved back office systems will be one of the keys to seizing those opportunities, according to a new survey.
Other keys include forging a web of partnerships with Internet companies (e.g., Google, Facebook) and being flexible about business models.
The Connected World Survey polled senior executives at North American and U.K. CSPs who are responsible for overseeing strategies for emerging devices, machine-to-machine connectivity, architecture and planning, and research and development. It was commissioned by Amdocs and conducted by Frost & Sullivan.
Trillions of devices could be connected to the network by the year 2017. The survey aimed to identify the technology challenges, business models and partnerships that service providers are considering in the near future in order to meet the demands that will be created by such hyperconnectivity.
More than 80 percent of respondents cited investment in the network and network planning as the No. 1 area of investment in terms of preparation for what the pollsters are calling the “connected world.”
In addition, respondents identified the areas of device activation, billing, charging, settlement and customer-directed self-service as essential to ensure future success. Seamless activation, self-healing devices and "do-it-yourself" support were ranked as critical.
More than 90 percent of respondents stated that wholesale services and partnering with consumer Internet companies such as Facebook and Google were a growing area of business opportunity.
More than 90 percent recognized the need for flexible business models to support new partnership opportunities. More than 90 percent also see an opportunity in their business to shift to emerging models to benefit and support the connected world.
Qualitative data from the survey found that the most promising new areas of focus for service providers include health care, consumer electronics, government and utilities. Service providers identified these industries as prime for a high degree of new device adoption, infrastructure support and potential end-user demand.
Two-thirds of the respondents expect that outsourcing part of their operations will be critical to succeeding in the connected world.
"In addition to the growing device and network demand, service providers are actively considering better, faster and more productive approaches to succeed in the connected world," said James Brehm, senior consultant for mobility and the unwired experience at Frost & Sullivan. "Nearly all of the service providers with whom we engaged recognize that they must quickly evolve and have identified partners that can help them meet new levels of demand."