With the imminent entrant of 5G technology, Sebastian Tan, Head of the 5G Centre Of Excellence (COE) Unit at StarHub, sees industry trends accelerating towards the convergence of mobility first with cloud technology and artificial intelligence (AI).
“With Mobile Edge Computing and Campus Network coming into fruition with 5G, these will enable mobile operators to offer an expanded set of integrated end-to-end capabilities beyond the telecommunication and connectivity services. I believe the industry will see the telecommunication sector transforming to play a more critical role in integrating the ICT space in the future,” says Tan who ultimately believes 5G will provide a near seamless and digitally-enabled mobility experience.
In order to stay ahead of global business trends, StarHub - a leading telecommunications company based in Singapore and founded in 2000 - embraces the challenger mentality. “We are constantly looking into new areas to grow and preempt new entrants. This is achieved through regular strategy and business reviews to develop and transform our business models as necessary to maintain the challenger position,” comments Tan.
“Digital transformation does not simply equate to automation of processes” he continues. “We looked at digital first strategy from a 360-degree perspectives, from people, process and tools.” Fundamentally, the first step to digitally evolve StarHub includes: the establishment of a transformation office to spearhead strategy execution, together with the appointment of a digital officer to charter the course forward. StarHub aims to enhance and onboard most of its’ existing services into its digital platform, allowing customers easy access to inquiries as well as procure or upgrade their service subscriptions.
To date, StarHub has implemented robotic process automation (RPA) to help the company to streamline and serve its customers more effectively. “The RPA platform has built in AI capabilities to analyse the services we provide with recommendations in areas to improve on. We are also utilising RPA to support our customers to help simplify first call resolution in a timely manner,” Tan adds.
In addition, StarHub has been transforming its billing system with agile framework applications to support new business requirements. “We have successfully transformed and consolidated many of our networks into a new software defined virtual network function platform, allowing us to provision and manage our services cost effectively.”
However, with these new innovations comes the challenge of security compliance. “All of our digital initiatives will require security reinforcement, which we are continuing to build upon our telco-grade cyber analytics framework, in partnership with our independent cyber security unit called Ensign.” This security transformation is not the first of its kind which StarHub has invested in.
“In Singapore, we have undertaken many initiatives to support our policy makers in developing our country to be a smart nation. In our recent initiatives, we have also established a partnership to build a new multi-million hyperscale green data centre campus and starting industry trials to pioneering 5G,” explains Tan. Within its digital strategy, StarHub has been incorporating these initiatives “we are participating and supporting the policy makers in the industry on six strategic focus areas, mainly around urban mobility, smart estates, maritime operations, smart airport, consumer and government application development. Our continuous rationalisation of our infrastructure has given us the ability to support such initiatives in a more efficient manner, keeping pace with the market demands.”
“Being in the service industry where customer experience comes first, StarHub has always adopted a partner-centric approach so as to enable us to deliver our commitments jointly,” says Tan. ”While we continue to operate and invest in key assets, we will also continue to establish new partnership ecosystem to support us on our growth journey towards 5G.”
Reflecting on StarHub’s journey, Tan believes that “over the years StarHub has transformed from a local pay TV company into a quo-play service provider who has established both a consumer and enterprise businesses.” With its strategy fixed at being the challenger, StarHub will continue to transform to stay lean and agile so as to be quick to respond. “While we may be locally established, we are constantly staying engaged globally. This approach has allowed us to service our customers in the best possible way, which we will continue to embrace to ensure a win-win business outcome for both our customers and our shareholders.” concludes Tan.