There’s no denying the fourth industrial revolution is here. Self-driving cars, smart cities, and humans on Mars — these ideas once considered part of the distant future, are today very much a reality. A new Smart Economy is being built all around us that is already changing the way we live, work, and connect.
While it’s under construction though, lagging innovation in service deployment is suppressing multi-trillion-dollar opportunities.
To further advance the Smart Economy, we must adapt to the new paradigm shift or expect to be left behind.
What does this mean in practical terms?
The Smart Economy requires companies to be more agile, with scalable processes and highly competitive cost structures. These shifts disrupt the old guard of service deployment and push toward next gen network creation. The goal is the democratization of repeatable, template-based scopes.
In our experience, the key to making the transition is creating an asset-based services platform, where hybrid employees (not necessarily highly skilled) are empowered and supported by technology to build the networks.
This new “Integrated Deployment” approach to delivering services will be reliant on the following:
1. An adaptable workforce
2. Leveraging technology and infrastructure
3. Core process re-engineering
Adapting the workforce
To adapt to the new paradigm shift, companies will need to sharpen their ability to bend the cost curve down, yet speed deployment up. This starts with adapting the workforce to new skill sets.
Hiring the talent to build out smart infrastructure will require companies to reinvent job titles and offerings so they include hybrid positions with various technical job functions.
For this wave to be successful, candidates will need to be dynamic, have blue-collar backgrounds with full understanding of field deployment, and possess white-collar knowledge of data analytics and be technologically savvy. This workforce transformation will blur blue- and white-collar job types and will power ‘purple collar’ next-generation smart technicians.
Leveraging technology and infrastructure
Technology is a disruptive force. In the current ever-changing and multifaceted business environment, technology can not only help improve businesses agility, but can also provide cost effective means to innovatively deliver field services.
Whether using virtual reality glasses to enable lower skilled technicians to perform complex jobs or leveraging machine learning software to help field personnel deploy and troubleshoot technical issues in real time, the synergy between technology and business processes is no longer optional, but a must.
Incredible innovation is allowing the industry to progress, so it must be encouraged.
Restructuring business processes is fundamental to delivering a competitive service offering. There will be a heavy cost for companies who continue with old deployment methods.
Some of the new processes that must be optimized when deploying smart networks include: centralizing support functions to drive standardization and scale; using an agile and just-in-time (JIT) supply chain model to respond to short deployment cycles; and ensuring that business processes are not transformed in a vacuum, but rather in tandem with tools development, and automation to drive optimal business solutions.
Companies in the technology deployment space must transform their businesses and readjust to the inevitable change. Those that do not adapt to the new shift are at risk of being outpaced — and soon.
Examples of this are numerous, from the past Swiss watch makers of the ’60s who lost global and dominant market share for not embracing quartz technology, to the present-day transportation and hospitality industries disrupted by the likes of Uber and Airbnb. Undoubtedly there will be countless others to come.
The message is clear: Innovate (and disrupt) or die. Which will you choose?
Since 2001, Nexius has provided end-to-end deployment services and solutions on the latest technologies. Our services include designing, optimizing, deploying, and delivering state-of-the-art networks tied together through program management expertise and automation tools for optimized time to market. As societies are leaping toward a more data-driven world, Nexius is leveraging technology innovation to unleash the power of the smart economy, creating more connected communities.
For years wireless carriers have been hyping 5G with no specific timeline to deploy the new technology. Now it’s becoming clear that the rollout has officially started this year. While wireless networks are always evolving, this is more than just a cellular upgrade that will increase speeds.
5G will offer enhancements in latency, vastly improving responsiveness. That translates to new capabilities in wireless technology, such as a replacement for traditional home internet service, a boost to self-driving cars, and new possibilities for the Internet of Things (IoT).
That’s all good news. But the rollout of 5G also brings with it a massive problem looming in the coming months.
This improvement in network capacity will be offset by a bottleneck of a new kind: a severe shortage of qualified technicians to deploy the 5G infrastructure.
How do we mitigate the fallout?
Recruiting and Career Development
Recent estimates put the shortage at 25,000, which is a significant discrepancy in boots on the ground. This severe deficit requires out-of-the-box measures and an urgent call to action.
On one hand, there is a need to increase workforce capacity by attracting fresh entrants from other industries. Recruiting is vital. On the other hand, there is an equally important need to upskill existing field technicians to make them more productive.
Technical services companies using the stale ‘cut and paste’ approach to train and develop their employees have stifled career advancement potential. Intending to attract talent, they increased competition between service providers, which ultimately drove wages up through attrition.
A new customized approach, where each technician has more control over career trajectory and skill development, will take training to the next level.
Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) will progressively automate (and eliminate) more jobs over the next decade across multiple industries. But that same technology can be leveraged to enable affected employees to acquire the needed skills to re-enter the workforce.
The upskilling process should target new entrants from outside the industry (high school students, veterans, and others) as well as existing technicians, enabling them via software apps and tools to become more productive and make an impact quickly.
This workforce transformation will blur blue- and white-collar job types and will power ‘purple collar’ next-generation smart technicians.
While the approach to address the shortage of skilled technicians is important, equally critical is the urgency and speed with which the technicians are recruited, trained, and available for field work.
Anticipating this need, Nexius set up MyndCo, a national training academy over a year ago and has graduated thousands of technicians to Velex, its own field service company. Plus has provided these upskilled technicians to its partners.
Amplifying the workforce is a must if we expect to unlock the full potential of the Smart Economy. Otherwise all the benefits that technology like 5G is offering will be at best delayed and at worst unrealized.
Since 2001, Nexius has provided end-to-end deployment services and solutions on the latest technologies. Our services include designing, optimizing, deploying, and delivering state-of-the-art networks tied together through program management expertise and automation tools for optimized time to market. As societies are leaping toward a more data-driven world, Nexius is leveraging technology innovation to unleash the power of the Smart Economy, by enabling smarter connections.
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