OTTs: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

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OTTs: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

Business models such as over-the-top (OTT) video services offered by operators and content providers, applications for business and home broadband services, machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, and payment applications on mobile networks are transforming—and disrupting— telecommunications services.

The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU) defines an OTT platform as one “that transmits or broadcasts content to different devicessuch as smartphones, tablets and Smart TVsvia the Internet. They do not require infrastructure for their transmission, but instead make use of Internet providers’ networks.”

In this sense, OTT services initially raised alarm bells for telecom operators when they began to compete directly with the services they traditionally offered: voice, text messaging, and paid TV. At first, these services presented a threat, as customers avoided using telecom services or paid TV in favor of similar services provided by websites or smartphone applications. Additionally, this traffic puts significant pressure on service provider networks.

Given this scenario, what would be the most appropriate response by operators? The simplest in operational terms would be to block or throttle traffic to OTT service providers; however, this could irritate customers and cause regulatory concerns with regard to net neutrality. But offering their own OTT services could strengthen relationships with customers, allowing them to infiltrate new markets, and gain new customers. Another option is to lower the prices of telecommunications services to make them more attractive than those of the OTT competition? But that does not seem to be enough.

It appears that the best response lies in the old strategy of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. In this way, operators are able to seize on the current success of the OTT model. These services have serious potential to transform the telecommunications industry. Also, telecom operators would be able to actively participate in this change, thus maintaining their importance for consumers and even uncovering new business opportunities.

During the 2017 Capacity Caribbean Conference, Paul Scott, president of C&W Networks, participated in a panel discussion that addressed this issue.

The bottom line is that, it is essential to have safe, intelligent and scalable networks. OTTs need capacity and bandwidth. They need C&W Networks.

An Omnichannel Strategy Will Make the Difference for Telecom

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In recent years, advancements in technology and consumer demand have gradually led us to a model in which the core focus is no longer the product, but instead the customer. Today, we’re at a crossroads. At a time when customers use a variety of physical and digital channels to research, compare, buy and upgrade. If we’re unable to offer an enhanced experience across these different channels, it’s easy to see how we could lose customer loyalty. So, what’s the answer?

These days, customers no longer perceive telecommunications networks as an end in and of themselves, but rather to access services, content and applications that bring value and a positive experience. Along the way, players with high household penetration, such as Google and Facebook have emerged. This could relegate your place in the market to a ordinary “broadband vendor” if you’re unable to offer something that entitles you to be original.

The truth is that today’s users – your customers – are exposed to countless devices through communicating and access information. Additionally, consumers are now living in a multiscreen world, a truth that is giving rise to new forms of content consumption, as well as products and services. How do we adjust to this new reality?

Without a doubt, today’s digital hyper connected world requires an Omni channel strategy to magnify the user experience.

Increased penetration in social networks and the opportunities offered by these networks generate new communication models between users and between businesses and their customers. This is where telecommunications companies have an advantage. You provide the framework that allows organizations to create their digital presence, so don’t get left behind now that market trends are moving in a new direction.

C&W Networks has the knowledge and tools to help you take that next step. Here are some areas worth highlighting:

  • Omni channel experience
  • Customization
  • Proactive approach on social networks
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Simplification of management and reporting tools
  • Connected areas
  • Simplification and transparency of processes
  • Improved relations with providers

What do you think? Leave a comment below and help us build the future of telecommunications together.



On the Path to Smart Cities

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We’re back to discuss more of the telecom market’s hot topics, which you can use as a reference to success together with C&W Networks. According to a study by the United Nations, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, this figure is expected to reach 70%, or six billion people. For this reason, there is increasing pressure to transform our cities into smart cities, which represents an opportunity for the governments and citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean, but also for us as members of the telecommunications industry.

With the emergence of digital technology, the Internet and mobile technologies, this transformation is becoming increasingly viable. Nonetheless, not all countries are equally prepared to start down that path. By working together, we can make our region a part of a connected future.

When we talk about smart cities, we’re referring to the model that brings together the initiatives needed to make a city more sustainable, participatory and efficient with a better quality of life for its residents. This paradigm is based on three essential driving forces; innovation, technology and people. Despite its importance, technology is just one tools of many and it must be linked to planning and management processes. Innovation is needed to address changing consumption patterns which it brings us new ideas and ways to interact.

A city’s population forms a large part of these smart cities. These are places defined by their history, culture and their people. Changes in urban models cannot occur without considering the people who bring the city to life. The most important element of a smart city, both in terms of the use of urban services and participation in building the city itself, must be its residents.

Public-private collaboration is also essential. A smart city is one of those places that long term visions make the environment of people the heart and the planning of an innovative idea. It focuses on public transportation, the use of public spaces, prioritizes public safety, utilities, emergency response, the availability of clean water resources for future generations, and citizen participation within the city. A smart city uses technology as a tool to develop a vision and long-term goals. It also becomes appealing not only to its residents, but also to employers and workers generate a safer space that’s capable of promoting the development of creative solutions, creating jobs and reducing inequality. Smart cities offer endless opportunities for businesses and it’s important that we understand how to maintain them.

The path towards creating a smart city was first thought of a while ago, but there are some regions that are still comprehending this idea. The path toward smart cities was first laid some time ago; however, there are regions in which it takes a few more twists and turns. For this reason, the Inter-American Development Bank is gradually unveiling action plans for towns in Latin America and the Caribbean, paving the way for their transformation into smart cities. Urban sustainability, environmental sustainability, the difficulties of climate change, the governance and fiscal sustainability are the reasons of this transformation.

There is no doubt that Latin America is ready to make some solid changes, but for all the region’s countries to achieve these goals; the people, governments, the private sector, civil society and technology must join forces to make smart cities a reality.

We invite you to assist us on this journey of innovation and creativity. Let’s grow our businesses together. Strength and brilliances lies in the numbers.

Technological Trends that will Lead the Way in 2017

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It’s no news that technology has transformed the way people interact, both in their personal and professional life. According to Singularity University in Silicon Valley, we are going through a transition between a linear world and a global one. It is time then to change the way we see things, how we think and how we react.

Exponential Technology Growth: With faster and better ways of achieving the best productivity, new technologies bring improvements in not only better products and services, but lower expenditure and increase in accessibility.

Global Internet Access: It took twenty years to reach the first billion users; just five years to get to two billion; and another four years to hit three billion. By the year 2020, which is in three years, it is estimated that over three billion new users will have connected to the web. Many will do so this year bringing new business opportunities.

Connectivity: In the 1960s, computers were rare and too expensive for a single person to own. The concept of a sharing economy came about and a group of people who took turns to access the same system. Today, accessing the internet is seamless on both computers and personal devices. Additionally, many companies today create interactions between people and offer possibilities never dreamed of before.

Evolution of Business Models: The advancement of technology makes it simpler for new business models to enhance in a more efficient, economical approach. Innovative discoveries are occurring more frequently than before and billion dollar deals are created in a matter of months. When new innovations are released, technology is a key part of the idea. Organizations must create a key strategy around the new spectrum and rethink about the most important tactic by reinventing the policies (price, values, etc.). This year in 2017, the digital culture will be seeing more companies creating and innovating a new digital culture.

The Digital Experience: People are using technology in their everyday life by accessing applications from their mobile devices. People use it at work including the usage of messages, video applications and many other platforms that allow them to manage documents and agendas ensuring greater interaction between mediums. Consequently, the process of creating and sharing knowledge is getting faster and faster. With all the information generated by the sharing economy, companies need to identify behaviors and use this to find value in new places. Chatbots will be adopted in the coming year, precisely because they are a response to this demand. People want to answer certain questions, search for information or make complaints in the same way they obtained that product or service: digitally.

Changes in the Value Proposal: Data is the driving force behind the next major wave in the search for the value proposal. It is this combination of quality of data and intelligence on which companies are focusing their technological efforts on increasing the power of their networks, achieving unlimited connectivity and using the total power-generating capacity to compile, add, correlate and interpret data and, therefore, make dramatic improvements to people’s lives.

Are you ready to help your clients be part of this era? Find out what C&W Networks can do for you and join them on the road to a hyper-connected future.

C&W Networks’ Latin America and the Caribbean Blog Aims to Keep the Industry Up to Date

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The company is launching a new means of communication with the industry. The goal of the blog is to provide interesting content for all those involved in the world of telecommunications.

C&W Networks’ new blog gives readers access to the company’s latest news on products and services, as well as specific information on telecommunications and technology markets in Latin America and the Caribbean and, of course, global IT trends. Through the content presented in this space, the company seeks to position itself as a resource for business decision-making.

Blog posts will be written in English and Spanish by well-known journalists with industry expertise, featuring relevant, first-hand information. The blog will present interviews with company leaders, plus chats with industry experts about the hottest topics of the moment.

Those of you following us on this new medium will find exclusive and relevant regional content that can help you make decisions based on reliable, accurate information. Come, be a part of the community at C&W Networks, awarded best wholesale telecommunications company in the Caribbean for the fourth consecutive year.

The IoT and Its Impact on Carriers’ Business

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The evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) generates revenue opportunities for carriers, yet it also presents significant technological challenges due to the growing traffic it entails.

Although this is a huge market — according to analysts at the firm IDC, the IoT market in Latin America will grow from US$7.7 billion in 2014 to US$15.6 billion by 2020, and the number of IoT devices or things will increase from 295 million to 827 million — carriers must be prepared to meet this growing demand, since IoT fully depends on secure, highly available connectivity.

In that sense, new opportunities are emerging for telecommunications companies that provide connectivity and for the segment of suppliers that provides carriers with hardware, software, and services; however, these opportunities entail challenges as well, since IoT traffic has features that differ from traditional network traffic.

Consumers are demanding more and more IoT devices, such as wearables, Internet-connected thermostats, cloud music players and connected vehicles, among others. That is why mobile network carriers are taking the lead when it comes to driving IoT, providing connectivity for a wide range of smart devices and connected solutions in homes, hospitals, factories, cars and other means of transportation. The economic and social benefits of these connected solutions have given rise to a rapid expansion of IoT, so much so that capacity has been exceeded by the ecosystem’s spectrum requirements. As governments allocate more spectrum licenses to stimulate IoT growth, the role of carriers is becoming increasingly important in terms of shaping IoT.

In that regard, market analysis firm ABI Research recently reported that the large number of connections generated by IoT and smartphones in the enterprise segment will translate into significant revenue sources for mobile carriers, particularly considering that employees use high-value services.

ABI notes that, as the price of smartphones continues to fall, the number of units sold to enterprise employees grows. This trend represents an advantage for mobile carriers, whose revenue for enterprise segment data plans could exceed US$200 million by 2020.

According to ABI analysts, the importance of enterprise smartphones for employees must not be underestimated. Carrier services must focus on offering added value for these kinds of users through terminals, helping them choose the devices and applications that best fit their needs, as well as services to manage device content and functionalities. Furthermore, they should help businesses make the most of smartphones and their connectivity, data, and voice services as key components of their IoT solutions.

Nevertheless, IoT could turn into a nightmare for mobile carriers, whose networks could be overloaded with all sorts of sensor and device traffic. In light of this concern, several carriers are backing a series of guidelines to lead the way for application manufacturers and developers. Many of them are offering secure, comprehensive IoT platforms that enable customers to scale and manage their business needs. Additionally, there is unparalleled global network coverage, as well as technical and enterprise support to respond to customers’ changing needs.

“Enterprises are increasingly connected, both at the individual and machine level.” For this reason, carriers’ strategies need to evolve toward supporting the vast number of apps and opportunities that will be created from billions of IoT connections.

IoT Start-ups: A Challenge for Carriers

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Wireless network availability is an essential factor for the future development of machine-to-machine (M2M) connections in the production and social development sectors of Latin America. Based on information provided by Machina Research to 4G Americas, there were 14.6 million M2M links in the region in 2014, a figure expected to reach 158.9 million by 2024.

Given this outlook, M2M applications have huge potential in those sectors that can benefit from mobility. Such as the automotive and healthcare industries. According to Machina Research, connected cars will remain the largest segment by volume and market share between 2014 and 2024, growing from 8.5 million to 101.4 million connections, which represents 58.5 and 63.8 percent market share, respectively, in Latin America.

Workplace and daily life is the other sector expected to see significant growth, from a total of 2.5 million M2M connections in 2014 to 35.3 million by 2024. Analysts predict that this growth will be reflected in market share, which is expected to jump from the current rate of 17 percent to 22.2 percent in the next 10 years, landing this segment in second place in terms of volume. Connected healthcare and cities are also promising sectors for growth in terms of M2M solutions.

These figures, which are growing thanks to the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT). Place mobile carriers and infrastructure providers in conflict with fledgling businesses or startups that have emerged to take advantage of newer alternative technologies and business models specifically designed for M2Ms, as well as other non-consumer uses.

Despite this issue, mobile carriers pitch themselves as essential to IoT connectivity. To that end, they are offering 4G LTE technologies or even the future 5G, expected to debut in 2020, which will leverage different versions of LTE still under development, among other things. Many companies, however, disagree with this stance and claim that other wireless technologies are more suitable for this type of connectivity.

In this context, the struggle for market share is gradually becoming more evident as new products are launched. This happens precisely because, while traditional mobile networks evolve to meet the high data usage demands of smartphones and tablets, other IoT-oriented devices require neither high bandwidth nor a continuous connection. These devices are mostly made up of sensors, which may require access every few days or weeks, and could even remain in place for many years without human intervention.

Many of the startups that threaten to steal part of carriers’ market share were present this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s biggest consumer technology tradeshow, in Las Vegas. Ingenu, for example, is a company that offers an RPM-based service, a technology specifically designed for M2Ms. During a CES panel session, John Horn, Ingenu’s CEO, stated that most IoT devices do not have a lot of data needs. Furthermore, he argued that most traditional mobile networks are not suitable for IoT because they are not cost-effective. The building, installation of antennas and radio base stations, which are key for mobile networks, is a viable approach for mass market use in large urban centers. In contrast, many IoT applications, such as soil moisture sensors or silo temperature sensors, are being deployed in unpopulated regions. Networks with low data transmission capacity, which can be built in a quick and cost-effective manner, are more suited to these areas. If carriers do not adjust to this reality, they will most certainly be fighting a losing battle.

The truth is that IoT is generating an extraordinary array of devices and services. This is why users of IoT services will require a variety of options for devices and technologies that carriers alone will not be able to provide. The IoT boom will call for business models that vary significantly from current plans, which are based on the amount of data and voice used. Carriers will either have to reinvent themselves or settle for just a piece of the pie.