Over the years, the definition of a “communications service provider” has undergone a tremendous evolution. What once was a company with the objective of providing a simple dial tone has transformed into a strategic communications partner and competitive differentiator for businesses of all sizes.

Today’s voice and messaging services do more than merely connect organizations with their customers; they can help optimize the overall customer experience and ultimately help a company to grow its business. Modern communications service providers can also help businesses to improve their customer service interactions, gain insight about marketing campaigns, and provide customers with convenient and secure ways to access account or appointment information.

In order for this innovation to continue, a departure from legacy telco providers is necessary. These advanced services rely on agile operations and development that the old school, legacy carriers are simply unable to provide. For one, traditional telcos are built on infrastructure that is not designed to integrate with modern software. Additionally, the physical infrastructure of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) does not scale easily, and the current regulatory structure of the telecom industry does not facilitate innovation.

In response, a new generation of software-centric service providers has emerged. These IP service providers are uniquely able to provide businesses with carrier-grade quality voice and messaging capabilities, as well as visibility, coverage and reliability over their telecom resources. Therefore, we declare 2018 as the Year of the Software Centric Service Provider, and would like to offer some additional predictions that will shape the telecom landscape in the year ahead:

  • Telecom Fraud Will Continue to Spike Unless IP Carriers Bolster Their Security Offerings 

    As the popularity of IP-based communications continues to grow, the threat of fraud also increases. Global fraud losses are estimated at more than $29 billion dollars, according to the Communications Fraud Control Association's 2017 survey. However, when it comes to understanding, let alone securing, the data residing on their IP communications network, many carriers are still playing catch-up. With liability ultimately falling on the end customer, it is critical for carriers to optimize their networks to prevent loss. To make matters worse, the impact of telecom fraud grows exponentially when factoring in potential damage to a company’s customer relationships and tarnished reputation.

    Therefore, 2018 will introduce a sense of urgency for carriers to educate themselves about telecom fraud and protect their services and customers from attacks.

William King
CTO, Flowroute
  • Carriers Will Inoculate Their Networks Against Outages With Innovative Updates
    Network outages put a halt to business operations, impacting the supply chain, human resources, customer service or e-commerce. Gartner has estimated that the cost of network downtime can run $5,600 per minute, which translates to more than $330,000 per hour. The current challenge is that when a network does go down, there is no way to quickly re-route traffic to resolve the impairment.

    We predict continued innovation will help carriers to bypass network outages so that they can resume normal operations faster and reduce the financial impact from network downtime. Organizations experiencing service degradation or outages will soon be able to utilize technologies that will automatically reroute IP voice services to another available network once a problem or outage is detected, ensuring a faster return to normal business operations. In order to make this innovation a reality, business will need to partner with software-centric carriers able to access the PSTN in order make the granular modifications necessary to mitigate and reroute network outages.

  • The Power of AI and Machine Learning Will Be Critical for IP Carriers in the Battle Against Legacy Competitors
    With its ability to manipulate data and find patterns to help inform business decisions, machine learning has been one of the biggest transformative forces in IT during 2017. In 2018, this will only continue to power innovation in machine learning and we predict that machine learning will carry over to the IP communications arena, enabling carriers to provide better customer service, confirm network status and more effectively mitigate and reroute network outages.

    For example, by examining call data usage patterns, carriers can utilize the potential of machine learning to make smarter decisions on how and when to use the most efficient network based on usage spikes and other factors recorded by system. Software-centric carriers can also gain a competitive leg up on legacy telcos since physical switches and fiber networks present road blocks toward leveraging the power of machine learning, software-fueled insights.

While predicting the future is still in software update mode, the dynamic world of telecom will continue to remain in flux presenting new and exciting opportunities for companies to innovate to meet and exceed the ever-changing needs of today’s consumers.

About the author

William is responsible for the strategic technical direction, technical culture, product architecture and patent strategy and execution. Prior to Flowroute, William ran his own consulting company Quentus Technologies for eleven years where he redeveloped architecture for high scale geographically dispersed telecommunication (and genomics) networks for clients including Barracuda Networks, FreeSWITCH Solutions, Silent Circle, Portugal Telecom, and Monsanto.