BICS: shaping the future of global communication
Frédéric Mathieu, Managing Director & VP, Americas, BICS, discusses industry trends, 2019 innovations and his predictions for 2020.
Could you tell me a little bit about your company and your role at the company?
With an extensive carrier-grade network spanning 180 countries, BICS’ infrastructure is essential to international communication. We are a leading international voice carrier with volumes of about 22 billion minutes yearly. We’re the number one enabler of roaming, with more than 50% of the world’s data roaming traffic passing through our network. BICS has a global footprint and a strong presence in the US, with offices in New York, Miami and San Francisco. In 2017, we extended the BICS family with our acquisition of LA-based TeleSign, creating the world’s first end-to-end communications-as-a-service (CPaaS) provider, bridging the gap between the digital and traditional telecoms sectors.
As the Regional Vice President, Americas, I lead BICS’ operations in the region and coordinate the teams serving mobile operators and digital applications, to which BICS is providing global connectivity and communications. This enables us to provide our customers with seamless mobility of their subscribers, embed international voice and messaging communications in their applications, and secure and protect the online experiences of their users.
What are the current trends within your industry?
It is an exciting time to be in the telecommunications industry with a lot of new developments that are shaping the market: from the growing opportunity of the internet of things and cloud communications to the advancement of 5G and promise of super high-speed connectivity at very low latency. With several applications in the automotive, healthcare, logistics and media sectors, 5G deployments will continue to increase globally, and thus the interoperability between the different networks is critical. International 5G roaming is crucial to the provision of seamless 5G services across countries, and enables mobile subscribers and devices to access high-speed 5G data roaming services wherever they are in the world. We are living in a super-connected world that is bound to become even more connected, at super high-speeds and with a lot of new opportunities for all the players in the eco-system.
What makes your company competitive?
For over 20 years, BICS has been shaping the future of global communications, and we have a record of world firsts, including the first 4G roaming relation in the world; the first VoLTE call; and the first 5G roaming service between Europe and Asia. BICS is at the heart of global connectivity, and our network connects mobile operators, digital service providers and enterprises across national and network borders. As well as being the leading voice and data carrier, BICS also occupies a unique position in the mobile messaging market, thanks to our extensive expertise and global footprint. In 2018 alone, more than 15 billion messages were carried over BICS’ network, connecting people with people, and people with applications. BICS is also the leader in mobile data services spanning 2G, 3G, 4G. And as carriers advance 5G roadmaps and plan the creation of new revenue streams, it is BICS’ infrastructure is paving the way for global 5G mobility.
What innovations has your company been developing during 2019?
During 2019, BICS has focused on helping mobile operators enhance their roaming services and global footprints with smart and data-driven services that empower them to offer a personalised roaming experience to their subscribers. 2019 also saw 5G gaining momentum, with operators rolling out next-generation networks on a global scale and BICS announcing two 5G roaming firsts. Over the summer, we shared the news that, along with SK Telecom and Swisscom, we’d established the world’s first intercontinental 5G data roaming service. This was followed by September’s launch of the first live 5G roaming service between Monaco Telecom and an Italian operator, during the Monaco Yacht Show. Using BICS’ global IPX network, 5G roaming services such as this are delivering high speed, ultra-low latency 5G data connectivity for subscribers, and enhancing the user experience – a win for operators.
What are your predictions for the industry in 2020?
2020 will be another 5G-focused year, and we’ll see more 5G roaming services going live, fuelled by both consumer and business use cases, enabling next-generation connectivity to go global. Monetising 5G roaming will be a priority for operators, and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) will present a means of doing just that. Companies operating in the IIoT have the funds and financial incentive to invest in and pay for 5G connectivity and, as many have a global footprint, will also be able to invest in and pay for 5G roaming.
We’ll see the IIoT benefit from remote tracking, robotics, efficiencies in productivity and project management, and automation, while operators can unlock a significant revenue opportunity and continue to monetise a core part of their service offering.
Is there any exciting news you’d like to share with our readers at Business Chief USA?
Expect more exciting announcements in the new year! These will include BICS launching new 5G roaming services to enable new industries to become connected, and to benefit from our seamless global communications capabilities. They’ll also be able to take advantage of BICS’ security and fraud-prevention solutions, which have become critical to ensuring a safe experience for subscribers and enterprises alike.
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Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking
“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.
We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.
Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate.
With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.
There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.
Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture.
It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.
Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.
On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.
As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.
A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.