A Data-Rich Future On This Day In Telecommunications’ History
On August 10th, 1876, the first long-distance telephone call was made, as Alexander Graham Bell connected a one-way call across six miles in Canada.
Just six months later, the inventor undertook a more public demonstration of his remarkable new device. This call stretched from the Lyceum in Salem, Massachusetts, to the offices of the Boston Globe newspaper, showing that a wily inventor also knows a thing or two about good publicity.
What we now take for granted was a remarkable achievement of its time, and a foundation for an essential global industry. The sheer scope of its success makes telecommunications one of the most data-rich operational environments in the world. That creates a powerful opportunity for Neural Technologies to deliver the next generation of technological innovation to empower industry operators.
The remarkable growth of telecom data
The early calls of the 1870s were to be a stepping stone to a global communication revolution. Governments and citizens alike soon realised the benefits of a reliable, real-time, two-way communication device.
By 1877, the first telecommunications company was formed — The Bell Telephone Company, once again in Boston, Massachusetts. Over coming decades, the value of telephones became apparent across the world.
Queen Victoria, Queen of England, was said to be most enthusiastic about this new invention when Bell demonstrated it to her in 1878, a view not shared by Her Majesty’s Post Office, delaying the organisation’s adoption for years to come. Even in the early days of this revolution, hesitation to adopt new technologies was a challenge.
Incumbent operators were slow to adapt to this new landscape. American telegraph company Western Union reportedly passed on rights to buy the telephone for the sum of US$100,000. By the time the UK Post Office and Western Union realized their mistake, emerging telephone companies had been established to disrupt their status quo.
In the United States, it is estimated there was one phone per 10 citizens by 1914. That figure had grown to one phone per five citizens by 1945, and a ratio of one-to-one by 1998. By 2017, there were 455 million phone numbers for the 325 million residents of the world’s largest economy.
The growth of traditional landline numbers is a remarkable story in its own right. But the explosion of mobile telephones was a game changer for the industry. While mobile phone technologies emerged in the 1970s, it was the early 2000s where the industry truly took off.
The iconic Nokia 1100 handset launched in 2003, going on to sell over 1.3 billion units worldwide. The emergence of the iPhone in 2007 marked a new transformation, as the world rapidly adapted to the world of ‘smartphone’ technology.
Analysts Gartner indicate that in 2019 alone, over 1.5 billion smartphone handsets were shipped globally. That contributes to a globally-connected population of 5.19 billion unique mobile users and 8 billion sim connections according to GSMA. Telecommunications companies face an even greater challenge in this hyper-connected global landscape.
Embracing the data opportunity of telecoms analytics
Early telecoms innovation was founded on the idea of connecting people. The greatest operational challenge for industry players today is optimizing their performance through understanding the data that billions of global connections generate.
Neural Technologies has three decades of experience providing big data tools and telecoms analytics to unlock the value in this data.
In 2019, we worked with a telecommunications company in Malaysia to bring data insight to a platform of six million subscribers. The company was rapidly expanding, and required big data tools that offered them an adaptive solution that could evolve as the company grows.
The Optimus Data Portal solution was chosen to bring multiple information sources together in a clear and concise way, enabling the operator to make intelligent business decisions and improve its customer service. Neural Technologies’ automated data management tools provided increased capacity without any need to increase back-end resources, achieving a 50%-80% reduction in hits to source.
Following deployment of the solution, the operator saw a substantial reduction in the time and effort needed to gather and analyze the relevant information in order to provide a quick time-to-market turnaround for new services.
The early days of telecommunications innovation make it clear that those companies which do not adapt to new opportunities are liable to be disrupted by them. Research by Boston Consulting Group indicates just one-third of companies successfully evolve in the face of industry disruption. Those who do are positioned to significantly enhance their value as a result.
Telecommunications is already a complex industry. The growth of disruptive technologies such as IoT and 5G is set to enhance that complexity further.
Neural Technologies is a company with a long history of designing effective machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions to the challenges of expanding telecoms data.
The recent launch of a charging-as-a-service (CaaS) solution provides the means to stay competitive in a dynamic pricing landscape with a growing number of users. IoT and Big Data Orchestration products provide a foundation for wider data transformation opportunities, while Neural Technologies’ Mediation Layer product provides operators with a flexible data solution that can integrate legacy systems with state-of-the-art data infrastructure.