Smart Cities Are Here! Where Are the Networks?
The meteoric growth of digitalization has readied us for smart cities, and telecom service providers have played a significant role in supporting these concepts. But are traditional service providers really ready and equipped to take up smart projects?
Significance of Smart Cities
If we look at the stats, the urban population is heading towards 70% globally by 2050. Smart cities can play a significant role in improving the quality of urban life by providing better access to basic amenities including water, power, transport, health, and communications.
What makes a city smarter? It is network connectivity—faster, easier, and available 24/7. The objective of a smart city is not just to connect people to people but also to create an infrastructure that can respond to the needs of its citizens automatically and speedily.
Telecommunications systems play a key role in the infrastructure of smart cities. Access to high-speed broadband is a prerequisite for building smart cities. In this scenario, a faster network rollout is the need of the hour.
Can communication service providers (CSPs) assure an efficient and timely rollout?
Barriers to Streamlined Network Rollout
CSPs are under constant pressure to expand their network at a rapid pace to meet ever-growing customer demands for high-speed data. Soaring customer expectations are forcing CSPs to match their planning and business operations with that of the next-gen technologies.
However, managing the plan, build, and operate services with existing silos may not be possible without increasing the operating expenses.
CSPs need to address multiple challenges such as managing large teams, rigid business processes, complex network management, and ineffective OSS/BSS.
Also, operating with multiple stakeholders in the network rollout is complex as CSPs need a single and seamless view of the network for various business groups—sales, planning, field survey, construction, operations, and maintenance teams. CSPs have to collate the inputs from these groups to process real-time updates for the back office and provide an environment for faster networks.
Can CSPs Create an Optimized Environment with Existing Solutions?
CSPs need a proactive partner who can help them enhance their network capacity with process automation and smooth data migration. Let us understand how CSPs can improve network visibility with a streamlined plan, build, and operate solution, without exceeding their budget.
A complex organizational structure can delay decision-making due to the extensive reviews and approvals process. An end-to-end single-source solution can help CSPs organize and connect these groups on a single platform using real-time data and by providing data access to every stakeholder. CSPs can speed up the planning phase by channelizing cross-functional business groups. They can reduce operating costs by avoiding duplication of work by optimizing work locations.
Often the planned vs. actual network deviations could be significant after build activities are complete. If CSP’s have to effectively manage operations, both planned and actual network activities should be in sync. A single framework can help CSPs to support required changes to the network through a single platform. Similarly, CSPs can avoid inconsistencies in the business process by establishing end-to-end connectivity of processes like network planning, network augmentation, fault restoration, and last mile connectivity, and smoothly exchange network inventory data between the stakeholders to minimize or eliminate duplicate and redundant data.
A single framework can help CSPs unblock the connectivity between departments by enabling continuous data exchange/information. It can also support every project at the individual task level with timely notifications, alerts, and acknowledgments. Similarly, CSPs can avoid inconsistencies in the business process by establishing end-to-end connectivity of the network, including Fiber-to-the-Home and wireless networks. Improved inventory connectivity can, in turn, help them add new revenue streams by targeting new customer segments and introducing innovative and competitive offerings.
To leverage these new avenues, CSPs must enhance their service provisioning, assurance, and delivery capabilities. Fortunately, the constant data exchange and access to real-time data enables service providers to manage customer needs more efficiently.
Here are some key benefits of a single framework platform:
• Efficient turnaround time
• Improved network planning through accurate mapping and data
• Increased efficiency of planners through readily available data
• Quantified project progress, performance, and productivity
A smart city is not a distant dream, and the market for network rollout is expected to grow with the advent of new industries and new mobile applications. However, network transformation is essential, and CSPs must have a clear view of the workload of planners, designers, and field engineers, to ensure efficient utilization.
By Yusuf Bhanpurawala | December 1st, 2017