IQGeo's market predictions for 2022

Technology companies like IQGeo often craft prediction blogs about the year ahead. Often this can be a mechanical task, but this year is actually a real challenge. The predictions for 2022 need to somehow capture the truly momentous changes that are facing the telecommunications and utility industries next year and for the next decade to come. With many of these megatrends accelerating off the back of the Covid-19 Pandemic, telecom and utility businesses are at the forefront of the new renewable economy, and they must be more agile and creative than ever before to respond to environmental, technological, and regulatory realities.

To be clear, this changing landscape will create winners and losers. Only those organizations that are fleet of foot and use the latest technology to their advantage will capitalize on the opportunities that are created in times of massive transformation. Telecom and utility operators play a strategic role in global decarbonization objectives through reliable, high-speed communications and grid modernization that will enable the new interconnected, renewable economy of the future.

In composing our predictions for 2022 we have selected the four sequential themes below that attempt to capture the industry drivers, the impact on business, and how organizations must respond to survive and thrive. At IQGeo, we believe that these four themes are tightly interconnected, and together they create a looming imperative that is already reshaping and will continue to fundamentally transform our industries.

1. Decarbonization and net-zero regulations will drive change
2. Investment will continue to accelerate
3. Network business models will evolve
4. Technology will become an even greater priority

 

1. Decarbonization and net-zero regulations will drive change
Every day we are reminded of the environmental impact of humans on our fragile planet and the need to take immediate action to mitigate and reverse the damage we are inflicting. We are all so aware of these issues that there is no need to restate them in this article. It is sufficient to say that as we move away from fossil fuels to a renewable economy, our telecommunications and utility industries will be major enablers for this positive change.

As organizations and individuals, we all want to do the right thing, but good wishes are not enough to drive real change. Net-zero targets and regulations defined by national and local governments are already part of our new landscape. And while the noble ESG objectives of network operators will speed this process, it is this new regulatory framework that will mandate change with the threat of fines and business sanctions.

Building and maintaining a net-zero network will become table-stakes for network operators driven by governmental regulations. Today, the innovators are taking serious action to position themselves as the winners in this new market. Soon every organization must make the move, and 2022 may well prove to be a psychological and operational tipping point for greener network operations as regulations begin to bite.

 

2. Investment will continue to accelerate
ESG initiatives and regulations are important drivers, but they don’t provide the money needed to realize the required change. This comes from organizations, investors and governments willing to provide the required financial support. Government infrastructure initiatives are gathering pace with new funding programs being announced by agencies around the world. The Biden administration’s infrastructure bill in the US is just one example of the huge financial commitments being made. Private investment is also ramping up quickly as investors see that change is afoot – and where there is change, opportunity follows.

To capitalize on the economic potential of a renewable energy economy, operators are developing new operational strategies for their networks. Old legacy systems and processes struggle to keep up with current network requirements, and as complexity increases, the operational cracks grow ever wider. Digital transformation may be a tired cliché, but it is essential to becoming one of the winners in this high-stakes game. Given the compelling ROI when compared to inaction, the stream of investment will continue to flow.

 

3. Network business models will evolve
How exactly will we measure the ROI in the new renewable economy? Some revenue streams may be clear with improved services and premium offerings, but other areas are less obvious and will only emerge in the years ahead. What is certain: communications and utility services will become ever more valuable to both industrial and consumer customers, controlling these networks will allow organizations to mine lucrative future revenue streams, and organizations will need agile software solutions to respond quickly when new opportunities are discovered.

FTTx, 5G, Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and green gas alternatives are all changing the relationship that network operators have with their customers. The historic producer/consumer model is evolving into a performance-based service model that will create exciting new business opportunities for those operators that understand, efficiently manage, and can adapt their networks to changing demands.

 

4. Technology will become an even greater priority
The underlying enabler for all this change is new technology, and those organizations that invest in innovative hardware and software solutions will give themselves a distinct competitive advantage. Continuing to pour money into aging technology in the hope that it can respond to more complex requirements is an extremely costly and disruptive use of precious resources. Instead, technologies like IoT, self-healing networks, reporting tools, analytics, and IQGeo’s own innovative geospatial software solutions should all be considered as part of the new mix.

While the need for new technology is clear, developing a comprehensive long-term strategy is not a simple task. One thing we have learned from our customers is that the “big project, big bang” approach is high risk. Instead, constant and incremental technology deployment is a much more sustainable and effective strategy to deliver business agility and consistent ROI. Creating an innovation culture by embracing new technology provides benefits across the organization, from specific process optimization to attracting and retaining talented employees in a highly competitive market.

 

2022 is just the beginning
One of my favourite quotes about predictions comes from the American author Mark Twain who said, “It’s difficult to make predictions, particularly about the future.” With this sage wisdom in mind, we are hedging our bets with these 2022 predictions because all four themes discussed are already in play and accelerating.

The move to a renewable economy will change our lives and our businesses. A decade from now I’m confident that the topography, management, business model, and competitive landscape of the telecom and utility industries will look very different than they do today. We are already seeing impressive project results from our forward-looking customers as we deploy our software in strategic roles with industry change-makers so they can move quickly to get ahead of these trends and capitalize on new business models.

Driven by environmental realities, regulatory requirements, and commercial opportunities, and enabled by exciting new technology, 2022 is just the beginning of the renewable economy. Those that innovate to meet the challenges that lie ahead will reshape their organization to support a more sustainable planet, while also delivering a stronger revenue stream for their business.

 

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At IQGeo, we’re revolutionizing how network operators plan, design, build, and operate, the networks of the future. Book a demo with our industry experts to see how Network Manager is a game-changer for telecoms, electric and gas utilities.

 

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Topics: Geospatial software, Utilities, Articles, Telecommunications, Digital transformation, Decarbonization

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