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Say hello to the future of communication and entertainment

by Blogs & Opinions
Article ImageLooking back at the evolution of digital technology, the communications industry stands out as a catalyst for changing the way we work, live, share information and keep in touch. Telcos need to be credited for the shift to a mobile-first mindset in large measure supported by their vision and resources. Concurrently, mobile network technology has leapfrogged by generational shifts, enabling faster and more reliable connectivity as well as the convergence of communications, media and entertainment.

Looking ahead, unlimited bandwidth and always-on connectivity will be ubiquitous to drive Internet of Things (IoT) services ranging from autonomous driving and home automation to mixed reality-powered retail and remote healthcare.

The next frontier for the telecom industry is new-age technologies that boost scale of operations, improve process efficiencies, and enable insights for planning and execution. As every user device transforms into a "connected" data source, challenges as well as opportunities abound.

The upside of 5G
The operational and technical requirements of 5G networks, in which Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered applications and services are business imperatives, far exceed the connectivity demand and use cases of 4G networks.

Telecom operators should decouple the network infrastructure from underlying components as well as upgrade the IT infrastructure to support an exponential increase in data and data feeds of the connected ecosystem. Mobile operators will need a new spectrum of technologies to address 5G traffic. The demand for high-quality and cost-effective data and voice services as well as reliable live/on-demand streaming and broadcasting services needs to be met by operators. Agile wireless technology will be a focus area of 5G connections to support new mobile platforms for Industry 4.0 and immersive media content.

The growth in sources and volume of data managed by networks renews the focus on IT security. Telecom networks and user devices will require secure authentication systems equipped with biometric readers. Highly reliable mechanisms, such as fingerprint, facial or retinal recognition, to verify user identity on mobile devices will be required to safeguard privacy and curb fraudulent transactions across industries notably retail, banking and insurance and transportation. In short, communication over 5G networks needs to be faster, seamless and more secure.

On-demand, premium services
The Internet of the future will be a convergence of work, leisure, payment, and commerce applications within a mobile app. One of the popular Chinese social media and messaging super apps offers a standardized infrastructure with marketing and payment systems via mini programs. The software allows businesses to set up a digital storefront that does not require app/purpose-specific download or sign in.

Digital consumers seek convenience along with Internet connectivity from their service providers. They want smartphones pre-loaded with built-in apps for shopping, payments, money transfer, ridesharing, food delivery and entertainment, among other services, within their preferred communications application. Communications service providers need to provide a feature-rich ecosystem and ensure stickiness with a simplified user experience.

Content libraries for streaming service
User experience is the glue that binds the communications, media and entertainment business. Enterprises need to become increasingly audience-centric with offerings that resonate across demographics, content genres, user interests and affinity groups. TV networks, film studios and entertainment enterprises have to broaden content libraries to support quick re-bundling for diverse streaming models such as ad-supported subscription, ad-free subscription, free or non-subscription services. Further, streaming service providers should expand into analogous direct-to-consumer services, such as gaming and music to grow their consumer base, loyalty and revenue. Similarly, premium content needs innovative distribution to attract and retain consumers.

Video, music and gaming service providers seeking to maximize streaming/viewing time and revenue from paid services need to better understand interests, consumption patterns and buying behavior of consumers. AI-powered segmentation, targeting and campaign management strategies will differentiate enterprises. For instance, AI-driven content, behavioral and site analytics can drive accurate content personalization via insights-based development. Predictive analytics is useful to anticipate user interests and storylines that match preferences without explicitly querying fan forums and influencers. Significantly, co-development and third-party streaming require robust content rights management as well as payment systems to manage multiple subscriptions.

Robotic assistance for content processes
A suite of AI technologies, including machine learning, deep learning, robotic automation and natural language processing, will make inroads into various workflows across content publishing. Robots to identify keywords; tag content; and support fictional, business, political and financial content will become commonplace. Some of the leading media houses in the US employ an AI-powered workforce to deliver relevant content to their audience.

Computer vision and automated image processing have the potential to transform the development and reconstruction of visual content. The AI ecosystem will rationalize costs and effort across film and television content processes from design, production and special effects to cataloging and auditing. Sophisticated algorithms for video structuring, recognition and analysis can decompose large-scale video content as well as discrete video frames, enabling superior editing and synthesis. Significantly, automated systems for intelligent classification and review of video content will augment copyright protection.

A converged future of Internet service providers, broadcasters, publishers, over-the-top platform operators and online entertainment companies is the new digital frontier. Co-investment and collaboration for content creation, analytics-based bundling services and business models for effective content monetization will emerge. The current state of the industry is a tip of the iceberg as the age of ubiquitous connectivity beckons.

— Anand Swaminathan, EVP, Global Head of Communications, Media & Technology, Infosys

Photo by: unsplash-logoGlenn Carstens-Peters

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