6. NEW TECHNOLOGY: FRIEND OR ENEMY ?
The focus of Liberty Global in the cable and telecommunications industry and the big investments made for leadership in this sector may be challenged by advanced technologies and changes in the way that people communicate. The risk is mainly deriving from new technologies such as Over-the-top content (OTT), Big Data and Mobile Networking. Therefore, Liberty Global need to identify these changes, try to embrace them and adjust its strategy accordingly.
Over-the-top content (OTT) technology refers to the delivery of media via the Internet. Companies such as Skype, WeChat, Whatsapp can provide an open, free and peer-to-peer communication across parties and motivate people to use them instead of traditional service provided by telecom operator such as SMS. The increasing popularity of this way of communicating threatens the activities of Liberty Global, consequently the company should consider to shift from the traditional cable industry towards the OTT technology. As we can see from Figure 9, there are four emerging battlegrounds in the OTT industry: media, message, voice, cloud and media. Currently Liberty Global is active in media and cloud with Horizon launched in 20112.The acquisition of Virgin Media combined with Horizon has helped to attract 149,000 digital video customers which can compensate for the loss of 20,133 analogue video subscribers. However, there is still a long way to go for Liberty Global in OTT.
6.2 Big Data.
Big data will open the door of the new era of information. According to the analysis report of Deloitte, the information produced by human being now within 2 days equals all the information produced by human civilization till 2003. Till 2020, the total amount of global data would increase to 35ZB about 40 times of that in 20094. Till May 2011, the business can create an annual income of 300 bio USD. What’s more, with big data and the population of internet, everyone’s activities in the internet will be recorded and with all these information we can predict the future need of every person. Owning the data sets a valuable basis to analyse and understand the behaviour of customers, therefore, big data has become a very important source for business resources.
If Liberty Global could explode the big potentials of the data in its channel by the technological development, it could become the a leader in the future digit era. However, if Liberty Global cannot grab the opportunities of big data, the latter would threaten its future development.
6.3 Mobile Networking
According to the analysis of Deloitte on the Telecom, Media and Technology, the next 3 years is the period in which mobile networking will experience fast development. Telecom Operators like Liberty Global control the Internet Access of all mobile terminals, which has turned out to be an advantage for them in the demanding business world of mobile networking.
The expansion of mobile networking will change people’s life rapidly Liberty Global should be well prepared for that. According to the statistics of IDC (see Figure 10), until June of 2012, mobile phone, PAD and other mobile equipment had replaced PC as main devices for connecting to internet. Therefore, Liberty Global as a telecom operator should adjust its strategy and focus on making further acquisitions similar to the one in Belgium with Telenet.