What network challenges does the industry face as we head to the middle of 2018 and beyond?
Multiple researches have shown Asia Pacific users to be leading the world in terms of mobile traffic consumption. This is coupled by emerging technologies such as IoT and cloud, that are pushing the network to handle much larger volumes of data. 

In this regard, automation is becoming imperative for better network planning and connectivity, and to ensure that customers are not short-changed.
What technologies do you see changing / shaping the industry and how?
This has been an ongoing process, but we have seen and will continue to see more businesses and operators gearing up for growth through finance, technology and operation transformation, which means bringing digital technologies into their operations. These digital technologies include Big Data, IoT and analytics. 
What impact will industry changes (you describe the industry change) have on digital transformation plans within organizations?
Businesses and telecom operators need to start accepting that they cannot remain obsessed with “owning the customers”. Many have been on a mission to engage better with their customers and we see more use of digital technologies to enrich the customer experience. 

Forward-looking telcos will experiment with enabling other businesses to win and serve customers (e.g by enabling IoT or allowing automation via third-party cloud communications providers), recognising this as a path to new revenue.
Are you seeing Artificial Intelligence and/or Machine Learning deployed (or planning to deploy) in your business - and how?
We definitely cannot be oblivious to the fact that we are indeed moving towards an intelligent world, where we are propelled by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning deployed. Wavecell is also looking at the possibilities of integrating some form of AI to couple our data analytics to better meet the needs of our customers. Additionally, we are exploring AI to better route and orchestrate our Telecom traffic.
What broad trends do you see in telecoms in the next 12 months?
5G has been the current rage in the industry and we expect that it will continue to be one of the focal points. Surely, 5G will actualise at some point in time, and we will probably see WiFi making inroads as well. Additionally, there will be further developments from OTT communication players towards Ecommerce and payments as well as Telcos towards banking and payment services (e.g. mobile payments, money remittance, mobile wallets, etc...)
What are new developments and initiatives that are exciting for your company in 2018?
Wavecell recognises that in this customer-centric market, it is crucial to anticipate the needs of customers today. 

Some of our exciting initiatives include a couple of add-ons in our messaging solutions such as SMS survey, which aims to help businesses obtain instant customer feedback and understand their overall satisfaction, as well as a unified Chat Apps API to simplify real-time communications. 

In addition, there will be several layers of developments to further enhance our Video Interaction solution, to especially enable scalability.
What technologies or solutions inhibiting growth today and how do you see innovation adapting to solve that problem?
The digitalisation trend is here to stay. With it challenging every sector in industry and society, operators and businesses have to think about how to deal with this digital innovation and what their roles will be in this newly-arising digital ecosystem.

Furthermore, digitalisation also encourages user experiences to be simplified. The main objective of the various digitalisation factors is to solve real pain-points through innovative communication channels.
Why is ITW such an important industry event for you and your company?
ITW provides Wavecell with the perfect platform to connect and interact with like-minded industry professionals. It is also a good opportunity for us to share our latest features and product enhancements.

Olivier Gerhardt is Wavecell’s founding CEO, leveraging over 20 years of experience in the mobile messaging and payments industry.