A Very Bright Future for the Telecommunications Industry

The future continues to look really bright for the telecommunications industry. Let’s talk about the details. Today, we’re going
to talk about the global telecommunications industry, which has a very bright future indeed.
But you have to keep in mind that technologies are going to continue to disrupt many sectors
within telecommunications, and some sectors and some companies are facing a lot more competitive
pressure than others. Now, let’s talk about telecommunications on a pretty broad scale
to begin with. Telecom includes some of the obvious things, like landlines, wireless phones,
the Internet. It’s really a very, very, very broad industry that takes a lot of moving
parts to make it work and a lot of technologies keep evolving to keep those moving parts as
efficient and competitive as they can possibly be–and it has become and incredibly competitive
industry because of those technologies and because of the greater and greater level of
the services that consumers and businesses demand. So, to give you the biggest competitive
example that consumers see in their day-to-day lives, is the battle between the landline
companies, such as AT&T, and the cable companies and the wireless companies. So, what’s going
on is what we call “cord-cutting.” Where in the past, in a well-developed economy, virtually
every household had a landline telephone, today that percentage is dropping and dropping
and dropping as households either switch to just using their smartphones–why bother with
a landline?–or switching from landline services to DSL or satellite. Now, the other big battle
in telecom today is who’s got the best technologies, and how quickly can they get them installed
and rolled out in a cost-effective manner. On a short list, those technologies include 5G
wireless, fiber to the home, or fiber to the premises, cube sats, or what we might call
just miniature satellites, the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications,
and for business users what’s called “unified communications” and also “telepresence.” So,
let’s just start with business users. Of course, the Internet is obviously revolutionizing
business practices of all types, but business is also finding advanced ways to take advantage
of the Internet to integrate new technologies into day-to-day operations. So business is
really relying on advanced telecommunications to increase productivity, cut operating costs,
and be able to do a whole lot more work in a much shorter period of time. On the consumer
side, and of course still to a large extent on the business side, there’s wireless, and
wireless means many things to many of us. For a lot of us, it means our smartphones,
and those smartphones are evolving very, very quickly. Wireless phones will, over the long
term, be moving ahead on a global basis through an advanced technology known as 5G–fifth
generation–which means much, much faster access to downloads and uploads via smartphones,
tablets, and other devices. And this is not only going to make the mobile devices we carry
around a lot more effective and a lot more interesting to use, but it also has implications
for another incredible telecommunications trend that’s going to literally change the
world, and that’s the Internet of Things, or IoT. The IoT and 5G wireless communications
are going to make it practical for things like self-driving cars and trucks to work
because those vehicles are going to communicate not only with each other but also with remote
databases and intelligent systems to make the best real-time decisions about which way
to go, which way to turn, when to put on the brakes, what to avoid–in other words, how
do you make self-driving vehicles more efficient and safe, and that’s going to be through wireless
communications on a really advanced IoT level. Now, that’s a brief summary of what’s going
on in the telecommunications industry. For everything you need to know, be sure to see
our terrific reference product, Plunkett’s Telecommunications Industry Almanac, which
we rewrite and republish every year, and it’s a standard item in libraries, corporate offices,
and government agencies around the world all the time, and see our related Telecommunications
Industry Research Center at Plunkett Research Online. Thanks.

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