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Post Covid-19 Era For Telecom & Networking Solutions Industry; Challenges for Organizations

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Shiv Kumar Singh, Senior Vice President - Head of Technology, Products, Solutions & Services

For 26+ years in technology, product development, operations, business development, cross functional management and delivery, he is an outstanding contributor.

Certainly, the pandemic is unprecedented and has brought in a new normal. The new normal is all about changed life style, which has also changed the ways of conducting business. Work from home for employees is a major factor for most industries and this has pushed the need for connectivity even higher and is exerting pressure on performance loads for the telecom infrastructure. Need for collaboration tools to function effectively is in turn pushing the higher bandwidth needs and higher concurrent user uptimes for the routing and switching infrastructure of the networks.

Telecom and networking solutions are witnessing both sides of the coin here in terms of the current situation being an opportunity as well as a challenge. Opportunity by way of higher demand for connectivity and increased user base leading to higher ARPU. Challenge by way of aggressive time frames for ramping up infrastructure for increasing access network coverage, scale up of compute and processing infrastructure and higher load on call and contact centers for helpdesk and escalation functions.

NewEquations In Network Solutions Market - New Trends Of Innovation And Invention
Work from home has pushed the demand for online collaboration tools and the demand for offsite work enablement has gone up. Online workspaces are being adopted for day to day operations by majority of the firms. OTT applications have also become widely accepted and are pushing innovative offerings in entertainment, advertising, marketing, telemedicine, tele-shopping, service aggregation and various other business activities. This trend has also pushed up the need for last mile connectivity solutions like FTTH, Home WIFI and Cellular data connectivity.

Increase in last mile connectivity requirements has directly hiked the need for access network end point products like WIFI routers, Switches, ONU/ONT’s and accessories like UTP cables, Optical Fiber cables etc. have also gone up. Innovative use of wired and wireless products for providing end point connectivity are being introduced e.g. home WIFI MESH, WIFI enabled ONU’s, Outdoor WIFI coverage and fiber based connectivity solutions with guaranteed SLA’s for connectivity metrics.

These developments have already started to show their effect in the way the industry is adopting newer ways to automate processes, remote operations, introduction of newer products to improve on line collaboration and drawing up plans for network expansion to cater to the last mile. Tremendous focus on high bandwidth supporting products for the last mile is being accorded and silicon companies are dishing out high capacity and better feature equipped chipsets for adoption by the product development companies.

HFCL has been a pioneer in introducing latest Telecom product technology in its home grown products within the country. HFCL has been a significant contributor to “Make in India” efforts and has setup manufacturing plants for Telecom products at multiple locations within the country.

We have introduced a host of new products in the Optical Fiber cable range, Optical fiber accessories, networking products and last mile access products.

HFCL also adopted the remote working culture well in time to abide by the COVID appropriate behavior and has continued to operate its offices and plants within the frame work of rules and regulations disseminated by the respective authorities from time to time. Appropriate measures to ensure that spread of COVID is prevented in the plants by regulating strength, sanitization of work spaces, remote working as far as possible, periodic health checks and COVID tests of employees and many other initiatives were taken to keep the business operations continued.

HFCL’s R&D teams at various centers in the country, utilized the period for driving enhanced efforts into design and development of several new innovative products that would contribute to the evolved connectivity and throughput needs. HFCL has increased production of the FTTX cables to meet the increased demand and is one of the top manufacturers of such cables in India. We also increased the production of the WIFI Access Points and Unlicensed Band Radio for meeting the increased demand. We have done as high as 1, 50,000 units of sale of these products in the last one year plus period, which is a significant number for any of the world renowned brands in WIFI and UBR space.

New Opportunities In The Industry
We all know the huge potential 5G has in ushering in a high speed connectivity revolution into the cellular networks. This is expected to be in deployment in our country within next one year say by mid of 2022. Broadly speaking, 5G is going to create a huge market for machine to machine communication and open up a large market for IOT devices and related services. User experience for cellular users is going to be pushed upwards due to high download and upload speeds, high quality of service in terms of committed bandwidth coupled with low latencies.

The huge increase in the number of user equipment will provide a large scope for online services and e-businesses including a large play into vehicle to infrastructure (V2X) that will emerge and generate huge allied businesses. Online application will see a upwards growth trajectory due to increased demand from human and machine users. There will be growing demand for security in the end devices and the networks due to increased traffic and transactions. Managed services will also find increased customers. Big Data handling will be inescapable and the resultant environment will push for greater and deeper engagement of AI and ML technologies into several walks of life.

This will also provide for a new life line to the Telco companies to generate more revenue from increased connections and higher data consumption as data will be the new gold. The infrastructure companies like OFC manufacturers, Antenna companies, Network and RF cable companies, System integration companies will have renewed business opportunities due to expansion in the 5G infrastructure of various Telcos. Overall outlook for 5G is very promising not only for the Telcos but also for all the associated providers and user ecosystem.

Technology Road Map
I am proud to state that HFCL is a technology intensive product and services company. We are very much aware of the prevalent situation and undertaking important steps to create products and technologies that are going to help immensely in the digital transformation by organizations. Our technology roadmap is catering for developments that are driving the following aspects for the stake holders in the Telecom and Networking industry:-

1.Adoption of high bandwidth and high throughput technology based solution offerings.

2.Easy to use product configurations involving programmability, network orchestration, ZTP (Zero Touch Provisioning) and new age cloud technologies.

3.Consumer friendly self-help portals for issue resolution involving Chatbots, AI, ML and Deep learning based intuitive day 1 and day 2 support.

4.High efficiency and high reliability based wireless access and backhaul systems with advanced spectrum usage and interference cancellation techniques.

5.Access and Core network products for next generation networks in fixed line and wireless space.

6.High end AI/ML and Deep learning based software with advanced analytics for enabling security and surveillance applications.

HFCL is committed to the digital India drive through initiatives to design, develop, manufacture and deploy high technology based innovative Telecom gear in the country, which is in line with the honorable Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ through Make In India. Our technologies are being developed within country for the entire spectrum of Telecom applications for Telcos, Railway, Defense and Homeland security.

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