Bridging the virtual and physical worlds with big data
With the rapidly shifting digital landscape and the phenomenon of convergence, Communication Service Providers (CSPs) are now faced with a new array of challenges (and arguably opportunities too) that lie ahead of them.
There are multiple forces shaping the Telecom industry today and how CSPs adapt to these trends will dictate the future of the industry.
The four key dynamics shaping the telecom industry today are:
- Traditional Revenue Streams Eroding: Traditional voice-based revenue streams have been steadily decreasing over the last few years and are getting commoditised by the day. Given the decline in voice revenues, CSPs are starting to look at new revenue streams and engines for growth in order to compensate.
- ‘Explosion’ in Mobile Data: While the voice revenues are declining, CSPs now have to cope with an explosion and ever increasing appetite for mobile data. Based on industry data, there will be a 10-fold increase in mobile data by the end of 2019 and it is expected to grow up to 24 exabytes per month1. Almost half a billion (497 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2014 alone and this means that CSPs will need to continuously invest in their networks to keep up with this growing appetite for mobile data.
- Changing Competitive Landscape: CSPs are also facing increased competition from Over The Top (OTT) Service Providers, which is having a direct impact on their bottom line. According to research from Ovum, between 2012 and 2018, the telecommunications industry will lose a combined $386 billion in revenues to the OTT players2
- Enablement of New Technologies: Service providers are starting to look towards new revenue streams such as IoT/ M2M services including connected cars, connected homes and data monetization services. The wireless M2M market alone is expected to account for $196 billion in revenue by the end of 20203
Given these challenges and opportunities, Telecom Service Providers are increasingly focusing on transforming themselves into data-driven digital enterprises to gain a competitive edge
Hadoop as the Big Data Engine for telcos of the future:
CSPs today are the biggest aggregators of data and have access to unprecedented amounts of data including customer profiles, device data, network logs, usage patterns, location data, apps downloaded, content preferences, clickstream data so on and so forth. With terabytes of data being generated every day, Telco’s need an scalable and cost-effective mechanism to effectively collect, store, manage and analyze these diverse data sets in order to uncover compelling insights regarding their customer and their business. Leveraging this data also requires complex processing in order to glean market insights; understanding collective behaviours of customers; aggregations of data and how it can be migrated to more structured environments in order to leverage specific analytic tools.
More and more CSPs are turning to Hadoop as a means to store, analyze and gain insights from virtually unlimited amounts of data in a cost-effective manner. Because Hadoop is built on a highly scalable and flexible file system, any type of data (structured network data, CDRs, CRM data or streaming data from social media and machine logs) can all be loaded without altering its format, preserving data integrity and delivering complete analytic flexibility. Thus Hadoop presents Telcos with the opportunity to utilize all of these real-time and historical data sets in order to develop new insights that were previously hidden.
And because Hadoop uses industry standard hardware, the cost per terabyte of storage is, on average, 10x cheaper than a traditional relational data warehouse systems. Hadoop’s cost-efficient scalability is especially valuable to network-based service providers attempting to capture their machine-generated/ IoT data, which is especially voluminous and must be ingested in near real time. Given these advantages, CSPs today are graduating from simply exploring Hadoop’s technical capabilities to planning for full-blown multi-workload data hubs at the heart of their data center.
The author of this blog is Vijay Raja (left), Vertical Marketing manager at Cloudera