The Future of Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment, and Gaming (TMEG) Industry: Reimagining 2021 and Beyond

The TMEG Industry will remember 2020 for multiple reasons. A year marked by a global pandemic, which disrupted industries worldwide, its story has been bittersweet. While specific segments underwent a business slump, others grew significantly in a short period. TMEG Industry had to adapt its business models in no time to suit the changes in consumer behaviour and industry regulations.

While it is still early to predict the changes that are make-shift and permanent, TMEG continues to brace for the new normal. Currently, three trends stand out that will govern the industries in the foreseeable future.

  • The promises of 5G
  • The quest for personalization
  • The need for cybersecurity

Through this blog, I discuss how the above themes were accelerated in 2020. I also examine what that means for the executives responsible for driving technology within their organizations.

1. The promises of 5G
While one would think 5G represents higher speeds, wider bandwidth, and near-zero latency, and lower processing power, there is much more to it. The advent of 5G represents a paradigm shift on how businesses/customers would transmit and consume content. The technology has the potential to lead to an exponential growth in the demand for data and speech-driven analytic.

However, fulfilling this promise is capital intensive. Today, Telecoms must embark on a customer-focused dual transformation to reimagine network service capabilities and achieve better growth. Delivering network-as-a-service, exploring 5G wireless technologies, and rapidly evolving IoT capabilities will be an integral part of the future of Telecom.

Communication services providers will also increasingly turn to become digital services providers, exposing their network to on-demand consumable services. These low latency applications need edge-computing infrastructure. Here, AI-enabled automation will become imperative to dynamically manage and orchestrate all the above services.

For the Media & Entertainment Industry, the launch of 5G networks will create new use cases. 5G adoption will be driven by the rising demand for video-streaming services, higher consumption in mature markets and rapid expansion in less-developed regions. 5G will provide the economies of scale to Network’s TV offerings as they compete with streaming companies. Most importantly, this will enable content creators to rapidly involve AR/VR in their content. These immersive content experiences will allow consumers to interact with the media through virtual items, virtual characters, and augmented contextual information.

This is welcome news for advertisers too. 5G is going to provide the much-needed lift to advertising effectiveness with many brands transitioning their current display and video advertising to an immersive experience. However, the dual challenges which need to be addressed here are – “scaling with context” and “optimizing return on advertisement” – both of the problems are ripe for AI to solve.

For the Gaming Industry, the prerequisite of ”right hardware to play” will go down due to low latency promises of 5G. Game developers and platforms will be able to offload their computational efforts to cloud with players streaming their game content to the cloud.

2. The quest for personalization
Telecom industry has been the unsung hero in the fight against the pandemic. As the demand for voice and data rose significantly, its response has been of resilience and purpose.

Today telcos are extending their network capacities to support businesses and customers and enjoy a period of relatively lower churn-rates. They have also realized that this period would be crucial for them to accelerate their digital transformation and leverage AI to provide excellent customer experience and personalization.

AI can help telcos in identifying personalized needs, delivering profitable product bundles and creating one-to-one customer experiences.

Entertainment and Sports Content producers are seeking ways to bring their own OTT (over-the-top) streaming services as they strive to win in a fiercely competitive market. While we get there, a recent report shared that 62% of M&E Companies are still unsure that they have the right audience data to make decisions. For them, super-personalization and content curation will rapidly transform the industry. The ecosystem of direct-to-consumer relationships would compel M&E companies to leverage AI to optimize millions of personalized experiences. 

As M&E organizations and consumers gravitate more towards subscription-based models, the pressure continues to increase on ad-supported business models. AI use cases around contextual advertising, price optimization and ad effectiveness would be more relevant to the emerging markets.  

Personalization is the need of the hour for the gaming industry too. Despite the slump in e-sports, gaming has provided a medium for social interaction to people amidst the social distancing in these challenging times. This has led to an unprecedented fan base and record-breaking revenues. 

The game publishers are moving from game-as-a-product to new business models such as game-as-a-service model to maximize revenues. Video games are monetized using various building mechanisms to keep users engaged for as long as possible. Many top tech companies, therefore, are investing in gaming products, leveraging AI for different purposes. 

3. The need for cybersecurity
The above-mentioned quest for personalization brings with itself the paradox of privacy of customer data and network security. It is even higher in the 5G world where everything is connected.

Telecom Industry is responsible for volumes of data which serves as a gateway for other businesses. Cyber threats and violations of data regulation and privacy norms pose significant monetary concerns to organizations in digital real estate and telecom.

5G low latency would need fog computing, an architecture that relies on edge devices to perform the difficult tasks, and is also prone to cyberattacks. This is further amplified by the complex networks, cloud structures, data centers, and other components that tie them together.

Therefore, technology investments in AI-enabled encryption security tech, incident prediction and response become imperative before the next 5G data wave. Content needs to be protected too. M&E organizations will need better encryption to defend IP and avoid piracy amidst outdated legal frameworks.

What does this mean for TMEG Executives?
It’s all about preparation and strategy now, and that begins with an understanding. There was never a time so right for TMEG executives to put AI at the core of its transformation journey. Above mentioned changes are an indicator for executives to move beyond a siloed approach and solve challenges that matter.

It is crucial to understand the key technology drivers and adapt to the new normal to gain a competitive edge in the industry. In upcoming blogs, we will explore the emerging essential AI drivers for each sector in Telecom, Media, Entertainment and Gaming.

Written bySeshadri Rangarajan
Global Head, Telecom, Media, Entertainment and Gaming sesh.rangarajan@quantiphi.com | Seshadri is a recognized AI/ML, data visionary, and results oriented technology executive with global experience across industries and consulting. Currently, he is the Global leader for Telecom, Media & Entertainment & Gaming business unit at Quantiphi.

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