Letter from the Editor - March 2024
The Mobile Experience

By: Scott St. John, Pipeline

Connectivity permeates every facet of our lives in the modern world.  Nowhere was this demonstrated more than at Mobile World Congress 2024 (MWC 2024) in Barcelona last week. One might think that the world’s largest mobile industry event would be primarily focused on wireless and the evolution of all the related communications technologies. But it wasn’t. This year’s event showcased a wide range of connected devices – from drones to factory automation, robots, smart cars, and translucent laptops – and a plethora of other innovations connectivity is making possible. Think Consumer Electronics Show (CES) with a little industrial IoT thrown in.

The sessions and demonstrations at MWC 2024 were heavily dominated by next-generation technology topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many of the interviews Pipeline conducted were centered around the differences between AI, Generative AI (Gen AI), and Machine Learning and the applications of each.  The comparison of Large Language Models (LLMs) was discussed in depth. The pros, cons, cost differences, and use cases of all the above were covered copiously.  

Other than the topics of sessions and discussions, MWC 2024 wasn’t all that different than years prior. It’s not unusual to see such a presence of connected devices or supporting technologies. However, this year may have reached a milestone, a tipping point as it were.  For the first time, non-telecom participants outnumbered telecom participants, perhaps indicating that connectivity has become an underpinning to consumer and industrial offerings, rather than the focus itself. This shift is incredibly significant, for MWC 2024 and the industry as a whole.

At Pipeline, we focus on the convergence of communications technology for consumer, enterprise, and industrial applications. We’ve discussed the importance of transformation in the communications industry for well over two decades as we’ve watched connectivity services become increasingly commoditized. And while we’ve seen transformation initiatives come and go, the communications industry has largely failed. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Think of large Communications Service Provider Companies (CSPs) that acquired media companies and went so far as to develop their own studio content. Transforming a telco into a media company is akin to attempting to transform an elephant into a cheetah. But while there are advantages to being a cheetah there is equal value in being an elephant, and big business in providing the underpinnings to our increasingly connected world. The key to success lies in being the best elephant in the room.

Connectivity, without a doubt, has become a commodity. But there are significant opportunities on both sides of the equation. For CSPs it’s about providing bulletproof connectivity with a sterling customer experience (CX).  On the growth side, it’s about leveraging connectivity across an array of connectivity technologies and connected devices. Devices that span across enterprises, factories, homes, wearables, and vacuum cleaners. The last-standing competitive differentiator is the experience customers have as they consume connectivity services across a multitude of connected devices.

There is a whole host of technologies that can support network quality and CX across the technology stack. There is also an opportunity related to cost optimization and automation leveraging AI and Gen AI to support the billions of devices, best serve customers, and protect them as efficiently as possible. These are just a few of the things that make this edition of Pipeline so relevant.

In this issue of Pipeline, we explore the mobile experience. Pipeline provides the highlights from MWC 2024, in What you Missed at Mobile World Congress. Optiva illustrates how AI automation is transforming operations and can be used within BSS to tap into the customer-data goldmine. HORISEN explores the evolution of messaging and how AI is being used with chatbots, SMS and RCS to automate, enhance and enrich customer communications. Etiya tells us how AI-driven BSS can be used for customer retention. Protecting customers’ digital identities and the 5 R’s of CX are covered by iconectiv and netnumber takes a look at retooling mobile fraud prevention. Arelion explains how CX matters, now more than ever – as enterprises are relying more heavily on Technology Service Brokers (TSBs) for CSP selection. Jevera Software shows us how telcos can accelerate DX transformation with data-driven decisions. AwareX discusses how APIs can be leveraged to accelerated digital transformation without disrupting existing processes. Fujitsu demonstrates how AI and O-Cloud workflows are being combined to supercharge O-RAN automation. All this, plus the latest enterprise and telecom technology news, and more.

We hope you enjoy this and every issue of Pipeline,

Scott St. John
Managing Editor

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