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What Are The Likely Profitable Trends For The Telecom Industry In 2020?

How do you identify the ‘big transformational technology developments’ in telecoms and networking for the next (pick a time frame) few years (or so). After all it’s a time honoured end-of-year exercise to pluck out the killer trends – especially when there’s a decade clicking over. So is there a ‘something’ that might define the next decade in telecoms?

Not so much.

The big ones we know about: 5G, Cloud, Edge. We’re not as sure as once we were about 5G; while two years ago we might have included IoT in that little line-up.

Instead we seem to be faced with a “plethora” of technologies and trends rather than a line-up of “killers” and ABI Research has taken the bull by the horns with a white paper entitled 54 Technology Trends to Watch in 2020. Fifty four!

The analyst firm is not saying all 54 are going to be winners, though. “ABI Research’s analysts have identified 35 trends that will shape the technology market and 19 others that, although attracting huge amounts of speculation and commentary, look less likely to move the needle over the next twelve months.”

So, just to provide a flavour, while the researchers welcome network slicing, they worry (as do many others in the industry) that its complexity means progress will probably be too slow. With a disjointed approach it’s difficult to see how the much-vaunted ‘end-to-end’ approach with 5G slicing will be achieved – certainly not in 2020, if at all.

The researchers gallop through the full gamut of transformational CSP to DSP trends and opportunities, gauging the upsides and highlighting the weaknesses and bear-traps.

So Cloud-native technology is becoming a critical priority for CSPs with DSP aspirations and they are likely to band together to develop standards and common approaches but “caution must be taken [to ensure] that such standards do not retard speed and efficiency by trying to adapt these cloud-native solutions into a rigid telco framework that most vendors and CSPs are accustomed to.”

Wearables have a big future, but for the time being they’ll be tethered to 4G – 5G wearables are some way off yet; China will continue its inexorable rise in 5G; 5G Edge and Private Networks will be launched but won’t become mainstream until at least 2023.

In case after case there are promising signs of life for telcos, but most trends come with uncertainties and downsides.

One area which looks promising for 2020 is what ABI calls Cooperative Mobility via the Connected Car. It says that this year, 10.46 million more connected cars will be added to roadways worldwide and they’ll often be sharing information with each other.

“Driving is a multi-agent problem, with many of today’s accidents and inefficiencies due to poor communication and coordination between the various road users. The year 2020 will see the advent of more cooperative forms of mobility, with 107 million connected cars on the road starting to share data messages about road and traffic conditions to allow other connected vehicles to anticipate hazards and improve traffic flow,” says Maite Bezerra, Smart Mobility & Automotive Analyst at ABI Research.

He expects the  first phase will take the form of low-bandwidth, high-latency communication via LTE between connected cars and data ingestion platforms to enable applications like ice and oil hazard warnings and lane-level traffic assistance. The year 2020 will see millions of connected cars deployed that both contribute data to these ingestion platforms and take advantage of the services that they enable.”―Telecom TV

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