The scenario makes for an interesting case study on how the industry can withstand the challenge while building a future on it. 2021 makes for a promising base for the foundation laid down in 2020. The technologies like SD-WAN (Software-defined Networking in a Wide Area Network), edge computing, and virtualization that were considered emerging not so long ago have become a necessary part of the infrastructure.
5G has been the talk of the town for a while now and is gradually taking shape in several countries. It is slated to go even bigger in the year 2021 with more and more carriers filling out their 5G networks and hardware capable of 5G implementation.
US wireless giant T-Mobile and Sprint have announced nationwide 5G coverage by the end of 2021, thereby pushing the rivals AT&T and Verizon to accelerate their time to market. In September 2020, AT&T said it is currently in the process of testing and developing its standalone 5G core. New Jersey-based Verizon too recently announced that it expects to generate 5G mobility service revenues in 2021.
The year 2021 will see 5G technology acting as a medium to drive integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) within the telecom ecosystem. This next-generation wireless networks will leverage AI and ML to forecast end-user distribution, predict peak traffic, and enhance network capability. Telecom companies are set to benefit from the opportunities created by the prominence of AI and ML to boost network experience and curtail network cost through automation. AI-based communication will further lead to the development of smart cities by facilitating decision making based on real-time data.
Currently ISPs are investing heavily in AI as it is helping form a smart and much-needed layer within the telecom industry. Both conversational and transactional chatbots are an example of artificial intelligence, while customer service and network optimization are its key focus areas. As per reports, the global artificial intelligence market size that was valued at USD 39.9 billion in 2019 is expected to see a CAGR of 42.2 percent by 2027.
The telco industry, like many industries, bore the impact in 2020 due to the local lockdowns in different counties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses and consumers both relied on data services this year more than ever as employees moved off the office premises into their homes, schools had to give way to online classes, and several businesses explored new ways to keep their doors open, using technology to facilitate touchless interactions enabled by the network.