When it comes to emerging technologies like augmented reality and the metaverse, most consumers need no introduction. They’re already anticipating the changes—and expecting telecom and media companies to begin delivering these technologies as soon as possible. Six out of 10 consumers who have 5G internet say they expect that providers going forward will be doing more than just deliver data volume and speeds—they also expect that providers will be tailoring network capabilities on demand to meet each consumer’s specific needs, according to 2022 industry research by Ericsson. Consumers’ exponentially growing expectations for the telecom and media industries will have far-reaching impacts. To compete, telecom and media companies must be making strategic investments now—and every year going forward—to keep their mix of products and services fully aligned with what future consumers are going to expect. Let’s explore four must-know trends that every telecom and media company should be paying attention to in 2023 and beyond—trends that are essential to a company’s ability to make the best-informed investment decisions possible.
1.The metaverse will become an advertising and marketing mecca.
The metaverse is in a sort of beta mode right now, with far more investments being poured into building the metaverse than monetizing it. But this paradigm is changing rapidly as the metaverse becomes more sophisticated, engaging, and immersive. Major business brands already are recognizing the advertising and marketing opportunities that will be available to consumers. Major financial institutions like HSBC and JP Morgan are building metaverse presences, as are consumer brands like Nike and Gucci.
The goal of laying this advertising and marketing foundation is simple: Brands see the metaverse as a way to connect with consumers in a more intimate, engaging manner; one day, the metaverse will be as routine a part of consumers’ lives as checking Facebook or TikTok. Telecom and media companies will have tremendous opportunities to enable these advertising and marketing campaigns. For example, some companies are exploring how to use the metaverse to offer virtual simulations of real-world products and services—things that can be demonstrated, prototyped, and stress-tested entirely (and more cost-effectively) within an entirely digital space. The telecom and media companies that are first out of the gate in figuring out how to deliver these metaverse experiences will be first in line to reap the financial windfall that will undoubtedly follow.
2. Consumers will flock to the metaverse as the experience improves.
The average consumer doesn’t have a compelling need to visit the metaverse on a regular basis—for the simple reason that the metaverse isn’t yet compelling for the average user. But that is changing rapidly as early iterations give way to much more realistic, immersive, engaging versions. For example, the earliest versions of personal avatars that were available in Facebook parent company Meta’s metaverse were criticized for being very basic cartoon-like representations of real people.
Now, photorealistic technology is enabling avatars to look almost exactly like humans do, including motion capture technology that can accurately capture our body language. Companies also will increasingly be able to let their employees work out of the metaverse—for example, to conduct training workshops, and to complete onboarding and similar HR functions. As more humans begin interacting routinely in and with the metaverse, telecom and media companies will need to ensure they’re consistently meeting users’ expectations around the quality and consistency of the metaverse experience, from providing necessary bandwidth and speed, to curating the types of immersive experiences that keep audiences engaged and coming back for more.
3. The internet will become increasingly decentralized.
The internet has traditionally been controlled by big players like Google and Amazon—publicly traded companies that hold a great degree of influence and control over what consumers see, how they experience and consume various types of content, and what types of interactions and relationships they form with other people. The next generation of the internet, however, will be far less centralized. Through deployment of emerging technologies like distributed ledgers and blockchain technology, individuals will have more ability to directly control the communities and content they want to engage with, as well as the mechanisms through which ownership rights of their digital assets get conferred to them. Furthermore, while the internet has traditionally been dependent on major, publicly traded telecom companies to connect much of the world, the next generation of the internet will be much more democratized, with a wider range of connection points and even private networks that are built to serve a single customer or a group of customers.
4. The home broadband and wireless markets will converge.
Companies that provide home broadband access have traditionally been distinct from companies that provide wireless coverage. But these lines are being blurred as the home broadband and wireless markets converge. Wireless providers are moving aggressively into the home broadband market, and home broadband providers are entering the wireless market. It’s a phenomenon driven by the advent of 5G—which is becoming just as fast and cost-effective as traditional home broadband—and IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity that is driving up demand for seamless interconnectivity among touchpoints and devices. The end result is that the competition to service customers’ connectivity needs is fierce—and driving down consumer prices. Every telecom and media company, consequently, will need to evolve to provide what customers are demanding at the price points they’re willing to pay.
Telecom and media companies are under tremendous pressure to innovate fast. To keep up with rapidly evolving customer expectations, companies need to recognize that the metaverse will soon become an advertising and marketing mecca, that mainstream consumers will begin flocking to the metaverse as it improves, that the internet will not remain a centralized institution for much longer, and that the home broadband and wireless markets are converging as a result of 5G and IoT connectivity.
Simplus specializes in helping telecom and media companies stay on top of industry-defining trends that will determine who thrives and who falters. To learn more about how Simplus helps telecom and media companies strategize and plan for the future, please reach out to us today. We look forward to helping you make the best-informed investment decisions possible.