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Know, Now. Technology, business and societal trends impacting telecommunications in 2021

Nokia has published six signals to watch in 2021 related to new forms of connectivity, new applications and platforms, and new ways of living. Know, now outlines what's happening, why it matters, why now, who's leading the way and how communication service providers can capitalize.

Universal broadband with high-altitude solutions

“Broadband for all” will continue to be a worldwide priority given the essential role of high-speed connectivity in health, education, the economy and more. The search for a fast, flexible way to roll out broadband is driving interest in aerial-based solutions such as satellite-based networks, or High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) which deliver connectivity from balloons and airships hovering above the earth but within the atmosphere.

CSPs may choose to build their networks to broaden coverage or to partner with new aerial network providers for coverage in remote areas.

Realizing the potential of mixed reality

5G is widely expected to grow the use of mixed reality beyond the consumer market into enterprise applications. International Data Corporation forecasts worldwide spending on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to reach $72.8 billion by 2024, much of that driven by business and public-sector investment.    

Growing use of AR/VR will require more processing power in the cloud, creating an opportunity for CSPs to provide the necessary bandwidth and low latency.  

Spinning out the spatial web

The spatial web will take AR/VR to a whole other level by mapping the physical world onto virtual spaces and layering virtual elements onto physical ones — essentially breaking down the divide between physical and virtual in an experiential way.

The applications here are wide open, and all to some degree dependent on partnership: ecosystems of device providers, platforms and content. CSPs can be the critical channel that connects all of these.

Driving new services and innovation with digital twins

Outside the consumer sphere, digital twins have enormous potential for both the private and public sectors — making it possible to simulate, explore and test upgrades or changes to physical environments without disrupting them.

CSPs can expand capacity support for enterprise customers’ use of digital twin platforms, which will open a gateway to new services. And they can explore the use of digital twins themselves: creating models of their own networks to simulate events, changes and upgrades without physically interfering with the live network.

Supporting the 'community economy’

If ecosystems are the future of service creation and delivery for companies, communities are much the same on the user end of things. The community-based economy will continue to change how businesses engage with customers — and how people engage with each other.  

CSPs can support the community-building efforts of their enterprise customers and, at the same time, develop their own to provide answers and advice and showcase new products or services through virtual events, interactive content and videos.  

Enabling a physically distanced future

Many industry sectors had begun to experiment with low- or no-touch solutions before the COVID-19 pandemic. Most have since had to adopt them to maintain operations through recurring lockdowns and in respect of physical distancing measures. While this situation won’t last forever, it will be some time before the world gets back to face-to-face communication and physical contact - and even when that happens, enterprises will have to mould themselves to the attitudes and habits their customers retain.

CSPs have already played a critical role in the global pivot to online work, learning and living. Going forward, there will be more opportunity to enrich that experience — to not only respond to cultural and commercial shifts but actually lead them.  

Read the report.


About Nokia

We create the critical networks and technologies to bring together the world’s intelligence, across businesses, cities, supply chains and societies. With our commitment to innovation and technology leadership, driven by the award-winning Nokia Bell Labs, we deliver networks at the limits of science across mobile, infrastructure, cloud, and enabling technologies.

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