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Session 2: Unlocking business potential


Unlocking business potential at Real Talk 2020

5 minute read

Tech experts like Brian Solis, Catherine D. Henry and Jefferson Wang deliver real insights to help CSPs in our new reality

Nokia Real Talk 2020 continued its fresh, original take on the traditional business event format with Session 2: an in-depth discussion on unlocking business potential in a post-COVID reality.

Opening Session 2 was Nokia’s VP of CSP marketing, Josh Aroner, who outlined the principles guiding innovation, as our industry adapts to the accelerated disruption and digitalization that unlock business potential. Touching on the future for the industry, he had this to say:

“Our industry serves an important role in the world, now more than ever. We are not done innovating or changing, we are only just beginning.”

With technology changing so quickly, the answer lies more in how we approach change, according to Josh, who listed the five attributes successful companies have in common. He also reinforced the importance of a digital-first strategy, saying:

“We must embrace digital transformation and lead it at an exponential pace, or it will leave us behind.”

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So what needs to change? While others talk about the ‘new normal’ or the ‘next normal’, our next speaker, best-selling author, futurist and digital anthropologist Brian Solis, said that ‘normal’ was part of the problem, in his thought-provoking speech.

Referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Brian urged CSPs to:

“…Be prepared for how we think about this future, how we rethink, re-imagine the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a new opportunity for us, for our partners, for our customers and their customers.”

As CSPs will have already realized, in an era of both great disruption and great opportunity for innovation, merely striving for mediocrity or settling for it is not going to keep us afloat. Many viewers commented that Brian’s speech was ‘inspiring’, with a lot of buzz on social media around new solutions and operational innovations that will allow us to survive, live, and thrive.

Brian called on CSPs to look beyond our immediate challenges, and focus firmly on building momentum for whatever the future holds, saying:  

“[Look to] a post-COVID world where we are innovating our way forward, unlocking new value, rethinking business models and operational models because that's where we're headed.”

So what’s new in technology? And how can it unlock business potential? Our next speaker had some ideas.

As one of the top women covering Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and XR integration, Catherine D. Henry talked to host Amber Mac about the exciting opportunities for companies to embrace 5G-powered XR technologies.

Everyone is very excited about virtual reality and all brands will need a virtual presence, but how do they do this? Catherine's concept of VR as a service could be the answer, pointing out the huge opportunities for network slices that deliver VR experiences:

“I think there's a rich opportunity commercially to create partnerships with some big names and to offer VR as a service.”

Drawing from her background in entertainment, an industry that has embraced the idea of VR and XR to create a $19 billion market, Catherine had some interesting takeaways for CSPs.

“Effectively what we're looking at is the next wave of the new spatial internet…. everything that we have in the real world today can basically be recreated on a one-to-one scale within virtual reality. [We’re talking about] manufacturing, engineering, architecture, engineering, and construction”

But what about closer to home? With the advent of 5G, the promise of a seamless, connected, personalized experience inside and outside the home is an exciting one. In the final talk of Session 2, author of “The Future Home in the 5G Era”, Jefferson Wang talked about customer centricity, and how CSPs can help orchestrate the smart homes of the future. He made an interesting point about the need to understand the user behaviour in terms of their challenges, remarking:

“When we talk about the future home… a lot of it is basically putting the person at the center of the story…”

Customers, and more importantly, customers’ trust is the new currency in our expanding digital world. CSPs have gained and built an incredible amount of trust during this year as more people have relied on them to keep them connected and this puts CSPs in strong position to play a bigger part in smart homes, as Jefferson explained:

“62% of consumers now trust CSPs with their data security. And that's a huge advantage right now that you can capitalize on”

Many viewers pointed out that smart homes aren’t really ‘smart’ right now – just connected. Jefferson noted that “it’s a team sport – working together to make these devices intelligent. They need an orchestrator – like a team captain.” He also emphasizes the proliferation of ‘test and iterate culture’ in many CSPs ecosystems, which accelerates innovation.

This highlighted an important and often overlooked role that CSPs can play as a platform provider. By exposing specific parts of their network through APIs, they can connect solution providers and developers to the right customers, and make sure they're relevant and easily connected, so everyone can benefit from these new services:

“In the future home, you're going to need all of the ecosystem players led by an orchestrator like the CSPs with new technology like 5G and Edge compute and ESIM and AI and ML, to be able to realize [it].”

It was clear from this session that there are many new opportunities for CSPs, with 5G being a key enabler for them to address new markets in other sectors like industrial, and capture more value where it matters for consumers –⁠ in the home. Our third and final session (18:00 GMT / 13:00 EST) will look at how we can use technology to build a better world.

Check out the videos from session 2.