Navigating the twists and turns of digital era

30 March 30 March

To say that our industry has never been so challenged today is probably an understatement.  The digital revolution has become a reality far quicker than we imagined.  A reality that has created electrified changes in our industry and indeed across all industries.   A reality where new players are moving the goal posts at very high speed. The Tech giants and multiplying start-ups that continue to emerge are becoming the new Masters of the Digital World.  Today, in the digital era there are the disrupters and the disrupted, or the “traditional” players. The masters, Google, Uber, AirBnB…the “digital natives” are stretching their tentacles across the whole economy. They are inventive, they’re disruptive, they’re nimble.  And, they are all inventing the “next big things” in the vibrating Silicon Valley! Where else?

Shaping the next phase of the era

We see four key areas that will shape the next phase of the digital transformation and indeed involve the carrier industry as we lay our course for the future.

Connectivity, to connect the unconnected
There are still approximately 1.7 billion unconnected people today in the world. We all can and we all need to participate to drive full connectivity. Reduce the access barrier to Internet by reducing the cost of infrastructure. There’s also the need to accelerate the speed of transit of data through the networks by diverse technologies to enable the passage of future innovations that will be bandwidth ravenous.

Next generation of messaging, preparing to go into orbit
The collective initiative launched by Google to build the next SMS generation bringing together 30 operators and 6 OEMs3 aims to offer enhanced messaging experience with RCS1 for consumers worldwide. This is a huge positive development for the industry. We now must create alignment on the universal profile with GSMA.

Next gen AI2 systems to transform man-machine collaboration
AI made great leaps as it moved from the labs and the pages of Sci-Fi to becoming an active component of several sectors of activity today from healthcare to financial services. The promises of big breakthroughs in coming years are set to revolutionize the industrial world. They’ll be applicable to multiple sectors including telcos. One of the prime applications we see is the is the development of detection tools for cyber security and the monitoring of our networks

Virtual and augmented reality, for stunning immersive experiences
The smartphone is probably going to be the platform for many AR features rather than the headset or glasses as millennials and gen Z’s show eagerness to experiment with new ways to express themselves and seek in-the-moment content to share instantly.

The need for greater agility to navigate the digital era smartly
In a world where the players of the platform economy are invading our ecosystems, carriers must exercise greater agility to be able to smartly navigate the digital era. We need to accentuate our unique strengths that distinguish us, adjust our business models and sharpen our competitive advantage with increased disruptive competition.
Faced with the biggest obstacle of the digital transition, cyber-criminality, we should transform the threat into opportunity. Companies are attaching higher importance to cyber-security as the see the scale of the threats. The cyber-security industry is set to grow by around 10% per year*. As leading players in the in the cyber-security value chain, we should seize this opportunity. Our priorities? Become trusted service providers to accompany our customers, create value for them and for us. Cruising days are over, digital is here forever.

1Rich Communications Services
2Artificial Intelligence
3Original equipment makers
* report, 2016

Pierre-Louis de Guillebon
CEO, Orange International Carriers