Technology today is evolving at such a rapid pace, enabling faster change and progress, causing an acceleration of the rate change, until eventually, it will become exponential.  For most organizations, the COVID –pandemic exposed the gaps in their digital capabilities. They were confronted with new challenges in customer experience, work collaboration, marketing and among other. As business continues to pursue digital transformation initiatives to overcome such challenges, there will be a heightened demand for specific technological capabilities in 2021. The pandemic gave rise to a centralized focus on technology and people amidst workplace evolution in organization. Most companies had to shift their summits, conferences and client interactions to digital. Collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts have been in this transition. To adapt to the new normal, business will need to focus on the future of work that enables operational scalability and flexibility. Remote working has emerged as one of the significant technology trends to look forward to in 2021. A Gartner survey revealed that over 74% of CFOs plan to permanently shift employees to remote work post- COVID 19.  Some business have spent the last year investing in technology that enables virtual collaboration. They will undergo a seamless transition from offices to work-from-anywhere. For Instance: global IT leader TCS is planning to shift 75% of its workforce to a work-from-anywhere setting by 2025. In 2021, communication technologies, cybersecurity, intelligence networks, cybersecurity mesh, blockchain, hybrid cloud, edge computing, artificial intelligence and remote-friendly work policies will be critical to driving this digital transformation.

The same is the case with the telecom and communication industry, which is the lifeline of the businesses of all types. One can safely assume that most of the telecom trends in 2021 will be guided by the demands and challenges created by the ongoing pandemic.  As of now, the success of remote working depends on mainly two factors such as effective collaboration and communication. With more and companies opting for remote work, cloud –based telecom providers are stepping up their game by introducing small feature that will enhance internal collaboration among teams. Call comments, shared call logs are few features that ensure friction-free and smooth collaboration between team members establishing a clear workflow. Also, today’s communication service providers face increasing customer demands for higher quality service and better customer experience. Companies are addressing these opportunities by leveraging the vast amounts of data collected over the years from their massive customer base. The data is culled from networks, devices, geolocations, mobile applications, service usage, detailed customer profiles and billing data. Telecoms are harnessing the power of AI to analyze and process these huge volumes of big data in order to extract actionable insights to offer better customer experiences, increase revenue and improve operations through new products and services.  Also, the 2020 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital transformation strategies by companies combined with the increased adoption of technologies such as 5G & related approaches and Artificial intelligence.

Proliferation of 5G technology:

Across the globe, telecommunication companies are racing to expand their 5G network with faster coverage and speed. The approach has already arrived in various regions, including US and Europe and will continue to expand. As per the data published by the Innovation Work Organization, in the last months of 2020, bids for 5G spectrum in the US spiraled to approx. USD 70 billion. As these networks continue to grow, expert predicts 5G to enable an array of revolutionary technologies. In 2021, IT experts expect to see 5G technology extend to services such as cloud gaming, where more interactive, realistic, multi-player games can become a reality on mobile devices. Additionally, new categories of services such as augmented reality, be enabled by the bandwidth and responsiveness offered by 5G connections are anticipated to expand. With more people working from home, a greater number of enterprises will adopt edge computing and 5G in order to improve connectivity and data storage. To expand 5G technologies, despite of global pandemic that influenced many businesses, many wireless carriers on the world spent 2020 as well as 2021 growing their 5G footprints and building out their respective networks.  For Instance: in February 2021, AT&T, a Dallas-based company now covers nearly 16% of the US-based Verizon’s 5G ultra-wideband network

Also, enterprises are working to increase their focus on cyber security. This is a crucial force that many organizations and businesses overlooked in their rush to adopt 5G. As per the PWC Report, the boost in productivity will add a whopping USD 1.3 trillion to the global GDP by 2030. An increase in productivity resulting from 5G technologies will drive skilled services and businesses to new level. The report reveals that 5G technology used in conjunction with investments in Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence can offer the potential for the rethinking of business models, efficient and quick services and new products, with the gains accelerating as of 2025 as 5G enabled applications to become more widespread. Also, cloud gaming is also an emerging approach of applications. The combined capabilities offered by 5G networks and edge computing technologies will enable game streaming services on smartphone to complete with a quality of experience on par with console counterparts and PC, making room for immersive, innovative games based on mobility. Whereas the report is quick to caution that those prospects would also bring associated cybersecurity risks and require governments and businesses to consider new regulatory approaches focusing on the safe use of the technology. 5G has a few significant security and privacy wins, it offers security, and it encrypts identifiers and offer privacy gains such as anti-tracking features and spoofing. These capabilities can offer crucial benefits such as protecting users form manipulation and other online network threats.

Further, telecommunication networks are evolving rapidly across a broad technological environment which includes IoT, virtualization and Industry 4.0. This is met by an equally broad yet deteriorating cybersecurity environment. Advances in technology, together with broader development of networks beyond 5G RAN are anticipated to have a crucial impact on security, such as edge computing, software-defined networking and network function virtualization. Information security is a top concern among enterprises and government organizations which are embarking on a digital transformation journey. It’s imperative, thus that IoT is secure from the start, protecting personal data, business-sensitive data and critical infrastructure. Also, 5G will expand traditional relationship between business users, consumers and mobile network operators. This expansion will include new relationships in the form of automated and digitized business processes of enterprises, control and operations of machinery of industrial sector. In addition, the cyber physical interdependency between telecommunication networks and smart connectivity of other infrastructure provider will be enabled by new ways to access the mobile network.  The 5G use cases for massive and critical machine-type communication are embodiments of new kind of payloads carried over mobile networks. 5G and related technologies are widely expected to introduce new quantitative and qualitative improvements such as faster response time, higher data rates, more devices that can simultaneously connect to a base station and higher bandwidth across a wider area of geographical coverage.

Working from home is being a great chance for many hackers to take important details of any users, for those workers who have started using online-work-related software for the first time. This inherently increases the risk of phishing schemes and cyber-attacks due to increased online traffic from people who may not be well known about cybersecurity practices. Also, these risks can target on anyone who uses the internet. They work by getting users a direct access or click on malicious links or documents. Also, the risk of this has increased during the covid 19 pandemic due to the work-from -home culture and the sheer number of e-mails sent to and from employees and employers, providing a chance for cybercriminals to target on those who aren’t habitual with the basic cybersecurity as part for their daily work. Presently, many people are freely downloading apps during the time to pass the time or assist with work, it is crucial to ensure that the apps are authentic and come from a reputable developer. This is key concern because many apps ask the user to grant access to private or unnecessary permissions on their devices which can result in theft of sensitive information. Additionally, start-ups & MSMEs have become the most vulnerable targets for hackers. Even a smallest of mistakes can lead to serious repercussions in the future. Thus, there is an urgent need to industries to collaborate for adopt a sustainable and secure platform to counter data breaches effectively.

As a response, as per the SME Futures in 2020 & 2021, need for greater privacy and cybersecurity is witnessed owing to the increasing cyber threat. As business are still struggling up, cybersecurity is being considered as a core approach to keep businesses secure as they go virtual and online. Also, as emerging technologies such as machine learning, AI and blockchain are evolving, investment in cybersecurity will be seen as a unique segregator for companies offering such solutions. Post covid-19, digitalization would accelerate dramatically as industry is observing innovate ways in which telemedicine facilities and online education are accelerating.  Also, government is also continuously making efforts to collaborate on technologies with an aim promote cyber security. For Instance: as per the SME Futures in May 2020, in a webinar, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology reinforced a topic that focuses on innovation challenges and Covid-19 management goals are conducted to tackle aftereffects of pandemic. Similarly, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Data Security Council of India (DSCI) has collaborated with each other to establish a National Centre of Excellence to accelerate innovation across India and to make the country an attractive cybersecurity market. Further, for all remote access accounts, setting up strong passwords with two-factor authentication is a crucial aspect, offering guidance on how to use remote working solutions ensuring that all provided hardware systems have updated firewalls and anti-virus. Thus, covid-19 will completely transform the way businesses work, simply challenging enterprises to modernize their network and IT infrastructure in order to deal with cyberthreats.

Democratization of Innovation & Accelerated automation:

To innovate, one has to automate. Automation is changing the daily work activities of everyone. The adoption of automation technologies including autonomous vehicles, robotics, and AI-driven software has accelerated during the pandemic, although admittedly to a lessen extent than digitization. Even as a potential vaccine is rolled out worldwide during the next 12 months its highly unlikely these accelerative shifts will slow down. Virtually companies, government and other agencies found themselves needing to work together to make a faster solution to stop the spread of the virus. AI, Data and machine learning were the tools that they naturally turned to. The same game that was begun in 2020 will continue into 2021 and will likely expand to a breadth of pressing prospects that these types of groups are uniquely to tackle, like solving global and market problems better, faster and at scale.

The economies is experiencing one of the most devasting crisis ever in human history. The corona virus pandemic is harsh than the great depression or world war-II. The impact of the virus is expected to be felt long after it has been eliminated from the earth’s surface. The covid-19 has interrupted many economies, several countries are heading for very unprecedented and abrupt recession and will witness drastic changes in the coming months with respect to operating business. For many regions that are severely infected with covid-19, the economy will fall sharply in the short term. The eruption may have an extensive impact on the capacity layout and supply chain network of many enterprises. As a response, ICT companies are now concentrating to invest in automation technology. For Instance: As per the Tech Funnel organization in January 2021, 81% of IT organizations use an automation tool instead of working manually to automate tasks, allowing team members to focus on innovation over the next 12 to 18 months. As automated task can increase IT Productivity and efficiency in the meanwhile minimize human errors. Also, 30 % of IT decision-makers claimed that automation is a significant business initiative to digital transformation. Company like the salesforce reported that 70% of services agents believe that automating tasks will allow them to focus on higher-value work. On the other hand, the pandemic is explaining the use of programmable technologies for ICT sector & robots for industrial sectors that can make simpler manufacturing processes. It does not only enable in industrial automation but also facilitates automated production operation in electronics, pharmaceuticals and food & beverages. As industries are continuously finding new ways to keep their worker socially distanced on the factory floor, robotics are increasingly coming to the fore, making continued production not only possible but more efficient and safer. However, industrial automation has been gradually replacing human work in a wide range of jobs, from call centers, warehouses to grocery stores and others. As companies are exploring new & innovative ways to cut labor costs and improve profit. While robotics seems to decrease employment rate, it doesn’t mean the technology will take place of human, rather it will create new areas of opportunities. As a response, the business anticipates emerging from the novel coronavirus crisis, executives need new ways to get back on track and quickly. Thus, every segment of business needs serious attention which includes controlling inflated costs, jumpstarting revenue generation efforts, addressing supply chain issues, freeing overburdened resources and implementing new operations and processes to serve partners and customers. Additionally, robotics, automation, internet of things, AI will be the future that will help industries to flourish. As a response, it is very important that people develop an altitude to develop skills and adopt new technologies to manage their work effectively. For Instance: digital logistics is a crucial to drive the adoption of e-fright to combat the spread of the virus through proper record. As a response, production logistics service provider should focus on AI powered technology platform for customer management and SaaS platform for transportation management will allows logistics players to anticipate supply chain risk and promote sustainability goals with enhanced operational efficiency in various sector. However, in such upheaval and radical times, thousands of live will be affected and many people especially the labor class, will be affected and many people especially the labor class will face the struggle.

Thus, there is concern that there could be continued economic uncertainty that would prevent a sharp bounce back. As industry react to this reality, they will respond to think through key issues both for the short and long terms. For Instance: Analytics tools and digital technologies will be crucial that accelerate transparency and agility. Companies have started relying even on more analytics & digital -led solutions and digital technologies to create new and modify existing business processes, customer experiences and culture to cope with the changing business and market requirements. These software aid organizations in educating and training their internal teams regarding various aspects of their organizations. Moreover, digitally transformed organizations can familiarize to the evolving technological landscape and are able to tackle abrupt shifts in the industry.

Covid -19 Regulatory framework initiatives for the ICT sector

The covid-19 outbreak has led to significant disruptions in economic activity which has had an impact on all industries, albeit at different levels. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, different ICT stakeholders have implemented various initiatives and steps in the areas of traffic management and prioritization, broadband availability, emergency communications, quality of experience and service. These responses include broadband speeds, capacity, providing free services to customers, providing information services on COVID-19, managing networks, allowing more flexible use of international mobile telecommunication spectrum. Also, it helps to provide free access to online learning, easing regulatory requirements on licenses, proving new fixed wireless access networks, addressing misinformation in relation to covid-19, developing tracing and subsidizing broadband services.

To provide easy access to this information, International Telecommunication Unit created the Global Network Resiliency platform (REG4COVID), where ICT regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders can share information and view initiatives and measures introduced across the world to help ensure communities to remain connected during the pandemic crisis. In the Asia-Pacific region, approx. 40% of countries have made submissions to the platform, with Indonesia, China, Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand, and Islamic Republic of Iran having submitted more than two initiatives across four or more different areas, as mentioned below.
  • In India: The government has developed open-source applications through which messages can be sent to target groups with a view of combating Covid-19. Other steps taken by the government to enhance digital connectivity include the delicensing of 600 MHz spectrum for wi-fi and infrastructure -sharing policies particularly in rural area and the introduction of right-of-way policies to reasonable price. Steps have also been taken to enhance regional connectivity among members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) using very-small -aperture -terminal geostationary satellites, with the help of national and international long-distance operators.

  • In Thailand: The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commissions has worked with five telecommunication service providers to offer an extra 10 GB free of charge to mobile phone users currently on internet packages of no more than 10 GB , to automatically upgrade to 100 Mbit/s all fixed broadband uses currently on speeds below 100 Mbit/s for 30 days from 10 April 2020, and to offer 100 minutes of voice calls for 45 days free of charge for mobile users valid for one number per operator.

  • In the republic of Nepal: The government is playing a key supporting role. During the pandemic, people have migrated to digital platforms in all areas, including health, education, banking, and business. The Nepal telecommunications Authority has created the Rural telecommunication Development fund to minimize the digital divide by establishing wi-fi hotspots and supporting broadband penetration in government rural schools, municipalities etc.
Thus, industry stakeholders and economies have been very active in implementing emergency responses to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Media Contact:
Mr. Venkat Reddy
Sales Manager
Contact Sales: +1-970-236-3677

About IndustryARC: IndustryARC is a Research and Consulting Firm that publishes more than 500 reports annually, in various industries such as Agriculture, Automotive, Automation & Instrumentation, Chemicals and Materials, Energy and Power, Electronics, Food and Beverages, Information Technology, and Life sciences and Healthcare.