Telecom-of-Future: Bridging the Gap Between Imagination and Reality

Blog by: Manish Vyas

Bridging the Gap Between Imagination and Reality

Novels and movies are fascinating, as they are driven by imagination and not constrained by shackles of practicality; there’s no better example to it than Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending epic - ‘Inception’. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, states “An idea from the human mind can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.”

Although some of these ideas may fail, there are some that do come to fruition. Although we are getting to see Google and Tesla build a truly autonomous car now, its first-ever mention in a novel was in David H. Keller’s “The Living Machine”, way back in 1935. And it made its debut in motion pictures in 1966’s Batman TV series with the ‘Batmobile’. All this reiterates the belief that imagination is the fundamental source of human development because only when humans imagine it can they LIVE, WORK & PLAY better.

However, bringing this imagination into mainstream reality is a different task altogether and I would like to believe that Telecoms-of-future would be at the forefront of it. So can we re-imagine Telcos transform the way humans Live, Work and Play?

Let us look at an example.

Harry is a tech-savvy individual from the next decade who regularly uses modern innovations to communicate, share, care (comfort), and travel in a way that is much different than what we do today.

LIVE

live

COMMUNICATE

Harry starts his day with a live hologram call to his friends to know more about their trip to India (Verizon & Korea telecom recently tested 1st live hologram call enabled by 5G [1]).

SHARE

His friends talk about their trip to the majestic Himalayas and share not just the sights and sounds but also the aromas, touch and taste of all the exquisite things they experienced there (Aromyx and Vapor Communications have been able to digitize senses – meaning smell, touch, and taste, to recreate it elsewhere using sensors & connected devices [2]).

CARE (COMFORT)

He then gets a warning message stating that his father’s heartbeat and blood pressure has risen suddenly using an app which gets inputs from sensors that track critical health parameters (Telstra Health’s remote patient monitoring provides several such services [3]). Harry makes a hologram call to check on his father, only to realize that he was watching a horror movie. He patches in a doctor in the call and then discusses this incident in real-time, and the doctor advises Harry’s father to avoid activities that increase his anxiety hence providing true-blue proactive care.

TRAVEL

After this, Harry gets ready to leave for work while simultaneously ordering his autonomous car out of the garage. Once inside the car, Harry starts working while taking a sip of his hot coffee. The car uses vehicle-to-anything (V2X) communication to connect with the other infrastructure (other vehicles, traffic lights, etc.) on the road and identifies the best route to work (AT&T, in collaboration with Ford Motors and Delphi Automotive, has developed V2X capability for autonomous cars [4]).

WORK

work

PRODUCTIVITY

Harry reaches his workplace (an automotive manufacturing plant). The plant uses machine-to-machine (M2M) communication which helps in better monitoring, automation, and optimization of operations (Deutsche Telekom provides M2M communication services [5]).

QUALITY

At the same time, data generated from these devices is stored and analyzed to get better insights into operations. The analytical engine provides not only predictive insights but also prescriptive insights to ensure zero downtime and maintain high quality in operations. (Telefonica through one of its partners ‘Mnubo’ provides smart IoT analytics to its clients [6]).

CONTROL

While working in the plant, Harry receives a message that one of the critical machines of another plant has suddenly malfunctioned and hence it has resulted in a shutdown of the plant. The person working in that plant was unable to solve the problem and hence he reached out to Harry, who then used real-time video streaming for monitoring and actioning a remote-controlled robot for remotely solving the problem (Ericsson with Kings College of London used 5G, video and connected devices to carry out remote surgery [7]).

PLAY

play

TRAINING

Harry completes his work and sets out to train for the upcoming inter-state cricket competition. He uses a special helmet that is mounted with a camera that records the way he faces a delivery. He then analyses these videos to make corrections in his technique (Optus tied up with Cricket Australia for a 360-degree view of trick shots played by Australian cricketers [8]).

SAFETY & SECURITY

This same helmet also has sensors that lessen the effect of a blow, while also tracking critical parameters of a player’s health that gives insights to the physio for deciding the player’s practice schedule (Vicis Zero1 helmet has been used in NFL to lessen the impact of blows to avoid concussions for players [9])

ENTERTAINMENT

Once he completes his training, Harry gets back home to watch an EPL match live on his AR/VR headset. It allows him to be in the thick of all the action (be right next to the players) & also watches the match from multiple angles thus providing an immersive experience (BT Sport and Deutsche Telekom have invested in AR/VR technologies to provide an immersive experience to customers [10]).

Complete Day of Harry

This transformation of how humans would LIVE, WORK & PLAY differently through Telecoms-of-future will be enabled by 3 megatrends that will impact human life – viz. explosion of connected devices, 5G & video on all devices.

To successfully embrace the 3 Megatrends:
- Telcos need to make the best use of advances in software technologies like Automation, Cloud, Microservices, AI/ML, Open source, etc. to become intelligent, flexible, agile, and scalable, thus becoming highly-responsive to rapidly changing environments.
- Telcos also need to adopt Networks-of-Future, that will be the nervous system for our hyper-connected world, built-upon virtualized and software-defined architecture that supports hyper-automation.
- At the same time, Telcos need to become a platform for creating value across the IoT ecosystem by enabling smart interactions between people, processes, and things.
- Lastly and most importantly, Telcos will have to deliver an integrated and consistent customer experience across journeys that span digital and physical realms.
Thus, these four big bets viz. software transformation, network of future, Internet of things, and integrated digital customer experience will empower Telecom-of-future to - bridge the gap between imagination & reality.

How? Want to know more?

We will look at each of these Big Bets in my upcoming blogs.

About Author

Manish Vyas, President, Communications Business, Tech Mahindra.

Manish Vyas is an accomplished leader with extensive expertise and experience across global markets, Manish has led large and diverse global programs and initiatives during his 24 year career. He has been associated with Tech Mahindra for 17 years and played a key role in Tech Mahindra’s transformation journey. Follow him @imanishvyas.