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Flowroute 2018 Predictions: Software-Based Carriers Will Drive Telecom Innovation

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by William King, Chief Technology Officer at Flowroute

Software-Based Carriers Will Drive Telecom Innovation

Much like the headline-grabbing groundhog that predicts the weather every February, it's time to offer some prognostication for what 2018 will bring to the world of IP-based communications.

As communications services increasingly become a must-have business feature to optimize the customer experience, businesses of all sizes are turning to software-based IP service providers. These next-generation service providers are fueling innovation with their unique ability to provide businesses with visibility, coverage, and reliability over their telecom resources.

Historically this has been a challenge as legacy telco service is built on infrastructure that doesn't integrate well with modern software. The physical infrastructure of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) doesn't scale easily, and regulatory structure doesn't facilitate innovation. Interoperation can take months (or years!) to iron out.

As more businesses turn their attention to the cloud, we'd like to offer up our predictions for IP-based communications in 2018:

AI and Machine Learning Will Transform Telecom As We Know It

With its ability to manipulate data and find patterns to help inform business decisions, machine learning has been one of the biggest transformative forces in IT this year. We predict in 2018 that the magical perception of machine learning will carry over to the IP communications arena, enabling carriers to provide better customer service, confirm network status and more effectively mitigate and reroute network outages. For example, by examining call data usage patterns, carriers could make smarter decisions on how to use which network when, based on usage spikes and other factors. Software-based carriers may also gain a competitive leg up on legacy telcos since physical switches and fiber networks can't leverage the power of machine learning software-fueled insights.

New Weapons Will Emerge to Battle IP Network Outages

Network outages put a halt to business operations, impacting supply chain, HR, customer service or e-commerce. Gartner has estimated that the cost of network downtime can run $5,600 per minute, which translates to more than $330,000 per hour. The challenge is that when a network does go down, there has historically been no way to quickly re-route traffic to resolve the impairment. We predict continued innovation that will help carriers to bypass network outages so that they can resume normal operations faster. This could also apply to organizations experiencing service degradation, by re-routing voice service to another network to ensure uptime. The likely sources of this innovative technology will be software-centric carriers that can access the PSTN in order to make granular modifications to reduce issues that impact service availability.

With More Network Data Than Ever Before, Battling Fraud Will Become an Urgent Priority for IP Carriers

As the popularity of IP-based communications continues to grow, the threat of fraud also increases. In 2015, toll-fraud and dial-through fraud was estimated to cost consumers worldwide over $46 billion dollars. However, when it comes to understanding - let alone securing - the data residing on their IP communications network, many carriers are unfortunately still playing catch-up. With liability ultimately falling on the end customer, it's critical for carriers to optimize their networks to prevent loss. The impact of telecom fraud grows exponentially when factoring in potential damage to a company's customer relationships and tarnished reputation. Therefore, we predict that 2018 will create a sense of urgency for carriers to educate themselves about telecom fraud and protect their services from attacks.

Certainly we can't offer a guarantee whether that pesky little groundhog will doom us to six more weeks of winter or not. However, we are confident that innovation will continue to thrive in the year ahead when it comes to enterprise communications, and that IP-based providers will play a pivotal role in helping businesses to access and leverage their telco resources to drive sales and improve the overall customer experience.

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About the Author

William King 

William is responsible for the strategic technical direction, technical culture, product architecture and patent strategy and execution. Prior to Flowroute, William ran his own consulting company Quentus Technologies for eleven years where he redeveloped architecture for high scale geographically dispersed telecommunication (and genomics) networks for clients including Barracuda Networks, FreeSWITCH Solutions, Silent Circle, Portugal Telecom, and Monsanto.

Published Monday, January 22, 2018 7:48 AM by David Marshall
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