Aug 13, 2020 Telecom

Telecommunications Investment and COVID-19

By Gareth Noyes

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Telecommunications leaders in the U.S. and China share a crystal-clear view of the investments they must accelerate right now. It’s about more than 5G.

Don’t imagine that telecommunication industry leaders are focused only on expanding 5G capabilities. Research conducted in the U.S. and China in mid to late April 2020 shows a deeper and wider strategic focus. It’s about more than reliable communications—just look at the areas of increased investment recognized as important by leaders in these two geographically distant regions.

• Open source, cloud-native application development, AI, 5G, IoT, edge applications, and container-based development all have seen significant and even extreme increases in focus because of COVID-19. For open source, the 63% (U.S.) and 87% (China) increases illustrate the recognized need to make infrastructure more agile and cloud centric in the future.

• Companies recognize that cloud-native application development and AI are partners in the digital transformation of internal infrastructure and, more significantly, in digital services offerings for customers. This vision illustrates what the future of telecommunications services could be in a real-time, digital world.

• In China, the telecommunications companies we talked with are showing a wider and deeper commitment to all of the digital technologies included in our study. The regional investment differences in six areas are statistically significant (AI being the only exception). In IoT technologies, the percentages are different by nearly 100%, and in edge applications the percentages differ by more than 300%.

In both of the world’s top economies, the future of telecommunications industries encompasses far more than simply a communication networks backbone. The fact that half of the telecommunications companies researched in the U.S. and China are focused on increasing AI investments, and more than one third aim to push more IoT to the edge, indicates that their worlds are becoming larger and more embedded into the daily lives of those they serve.


From mid to late April 2020, Wind River® researched beliefs, strategies, and forward projections among technology (embedded, IT, security, and cloud) leaders in five major industries (telecom, aviation, medical industries, automotive, and industrial manufacturing) in China and the USA. Further analysis, the report, and infographics are available at www.windriver.com/covid19-industry-impact/.

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