Today's businesses need to support their customers as they use multiple network touchpoints. How can businesses develop an integrated environment, that not only serves their customers, but also delivers infrastructure cost savings, efficiency gains, and future-proofing?
Businesses have been accelerating their digital improvements initiatives to ensure they can compete and deliver next generation digital services to their customers.
These developments have been vital to meet the diversifying demands their customers and commercial partners are placing upon them. Enterprises also need to become more agile to ensure they can embrace change and accelerate their development of new services or products.
The changing relationships that businesses have with their customers and commercial partners are driving the development of network technologies. As demand expands across multiple channels, each touch point must be supported with integrated, robust and flexible networks.
Also, how consumers now use technology and the networks that support them has been expanding and diversifying for several years. The mobile space has of course seen the highest and most startling growth. Smartphone ownership has continued to grow year-on-year, with mobile-first consumers placing their handsets at the centre of their networked world.
Online entertainment services have exploded with a consequent need to quickly and continuously improve network performance. The consumption of video content has continued to rise almost exponentially. Research by Fetch showed this trend revealing a third of all mobile-first consumers watch video daily.
However, businesses must ensure they are focused on the delivery of a broader range of content. From social media to in-store price checking, consumers use their phones for all these activities. “Almost all mobile-first consumers (86%) use their mobile phones to research a product or service before they shop or buy,” Fetch discovered from their research.
“And they turn to their mobile before their desktop or tablet. Moreover, when in store, 76% will use their device to compare prices and check reviews before committing to the purchase. And 74% will regularly search for vouchers and coupons on their smartphone."
It is vital that network integration enables these consumers to move from device-to-device and network-to-network with the least amount of friction.
Undeniably, businesses that can reduce this friction, gain more loyalty and consequently sales, because using their networks is a painless experience. As more companies understand this, network providers have reacted to improve performance and reduce latency to deliver network capabilities new services can be built upon.
The profound changes that are taking place in consumer behaviour and how this manifests with access to digital networks will enter another period of transition as 5G rolls out. Not simply a faster network, 5G will fundamentally change how network infrastructures are developed and how these deliver services to end users.
Relevant and personalised content and experiences now underpin the relationship brands have with their customers. The backbone of this relationship is fast and flexible networks. Businesses are driving the development of rapid decentralised network infrastructures that will use the developing 5G network, to transform how services are delivered to a mobile customer base.
Enhancing mobile broadband is the core use case for 5G with video also driving these developments. And the burgeoning Internet of Things that requires high-performance networks concludes the trinity of drivers that will see businesses increasingly taking advantage of 5G when it begins to roll out in two years, with the GSMA expecting 5G connections to reach 1.1 billion (12% of the total mobile connections) by 2025.
In the Digitisation of Everything, EY explore what this means for businesses moving forward:
“Organisations must focus on delivering a seamless and meaningful cross-channel engagement model for their stakeholders. To get this right will require an agile strategy that means incorporating the latest technology as it is released and adopting a test and learn approach. Companies should adopt a continuous improvement strategy, launching new digital channels early and iterating based on customer feedback.”
Moving from a centralised, hierarchical network to one that is decentralised to deliver localised on-demand data services is at the heart of what 5G will create. Businesses will increasingly virtualise their networks to enable them to offer the fast, localised services their customers will demand.
The way how businesses are reacting to the massive change in how digital services and products are created is to place digital maturity as a core strategic goal for their companies.
The roadmap they are creating includes more agility with the network infrastructures they have, but more importantly, how these can be improved, expanded and integrated together. Businesses with these networks will have the foundation onto which they build their product and service delivery.
The mobile nature of today’s consumers and business partners also means networks have to become flexible to the point where they can deliver personalised services and products to individuals.
5G promises a new age of network performance that will facilitate a level of innovation that is unprecedented, and one all business can take part in if they have the network infrastructures in place to support their ambitions.
- Networks need to rapidly evolve from central to virtualised and decentralised networks to deliver new data-rich products and services.
- 5G will transform how network service is delivered to each customer or business partner.
- With speed and decentralised access, more personalised service can be created.
- As mobile access to data continues to expand, new networks will develop that have mobile first as their foundation.
- The digitisation of businesses continues apace, with agile businesses leveraging the power their networks provide as a core service development asset.