Telecom – API Economy in the COVID World

It has been more than a year living through COVID where we have witnessed significant uptick in digital services due to various degrees of “stay-at-home” lockdowns. We are seeing this across various sectors such as education, hospitality, healthcare and others. What has been the impact to the Telecommunications providers?

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) estimates there are 4 billion internet users across the globe in 2019 and the growth of e-commerce in 2020 was a whopping 44 per cent. That is unprecedented growth which is somewhat surprising considering lockdowns and rampant economic hardships. In fact, COVID-19 sales resulted in an additional $175 billion in e-commerce revenue. The world is moving at a rapid speed to cope with the effects of COVID-19. What has been the impact on Telecom operators?

Telecom’s today offer B2B and B2C services via API’s; therefore, are well positioned to scale their revenues during this pandemic. The Global Telecom API Market is expected to grow by $2.24B during 2020-2024 progressing at a CAGR of 26% during the forecast period according to Forbes.

We are seeing the Telco’s making investments to modernize their API infrastructure and architecture using “lift and shift” methodology involving public/private cloud services like containers, serverless, multi-cloud and microservices as the number of API endpoints is likely to double. Unfortunately, growth is a two-sided coin in that the reward of new revenue sources will introduce challenges that need solutions in areas like autonomous management (self-service) of APIs, machine learning assisted development tools to improve coder productivity, API lifecycle management tools and cloud abstractions to manage thousands of microservices in a secure manner.

In recent times we see the trend of Telecom operators market themselves as B2B services providers thru “API Marketplaces” as an evolution from traditional wireline and wireless operators.

Here are the TOP 5 business strategies we think Telecom operators will capitalize their investment in API technology

Vaccine Passport

Many countries including Canada are considering a Vaccine passport to facilitate cross border travel and workplace safety. The European Union is also planning to make it mandatory for travel across Europe. It’s a monumental effort to create a new program and issue a citizen ID card. Governments across the world may rely on the telecom operators to create a digital certificate which is authenticated using mobile numbers registered to users. There is an opportunity for operators to offer vaccine passport API microservices to their B2B partner ecosystem (eg. travel websites, cruise lines)

OTT Style e-Commerce Platform

Across the globe, Telecom operators are prioritizing commerce in their digital transformation roadmap. Implementation roadmaps include Modernizing API architecture, decommissioning legacy eCommerce solutions and replacing them with modern MACH architecture (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) solutions.

Mobile Virtual Patient Care

Armed with tablets, routers and telemedicine software, emergency clinicians around the world are delivering more timely, efficient care to patients. Now Telecom operators can establish the connectivity to patients and health card providers like never before with APIs. The virtual visit, real time triage, even calling an ambulance while you are on Facetime is being considered. This is an example of a strategic partnership with Apple for custom Telus IOS integrations.

Endpoint Virtualization

Endpoint virtualization is making more sense, especially with many of us working from home during COVID. With the increased reliance on mobile interfaces such as the iPads, netbooks and iPhones, coupled with the increased mobility of employees, a physical PC per employee model is not tenable. Due to their wireless network reach Telecom operator networks can offer integrated virtual desktop and end point solutions with a strong security posture.

E-learning University

E-learning opportunities with various levels of education could be another major focus for telecom operators during this pandemic and some experts claim after the pandemic remote learning is here to stay. The global e-learning market is projected to continue to grow and reach US$500 billion by the year 2021, trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 10.3% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027.

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