Smart city and communication network concept. IoT(Internet of Things). ICT(Information Communication Network).

As Microsoft’s fiscal year 2021 comes to an end, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank our customers, our partners, and the media & entertainment and telecommunications communities at large for what has been an amazing journey over the last 12 months.  Your commitment to the ongoing transformation of these two industries—and what we’ve accomplished together to enable collaboration and productivity, empower teams with insights, optimize operations, reimagine customer experiences, and accelerate innovation and business growth—has been nothing short of amazing, in particular given the challenges of the past year.

Here are some recent examples across those five areas of transformation.

Anywhere, anytime collaboration and productivity

In much of the world, media & entertainment and telecommunications organizations continued to rely upon remote and hybrid work environments for the collaboration and productivity necessary to maintain business continuity. The National Football League used Microsoft Teams to cultivate virtual teamwork, nurture partnerships, showcase immersive live events, and empower digital stewardship for the game of football. Publisher Gruner + Jahr introduced a modern workplace with Microsoft 365 to forever change the way they produce high-quality, relevant journalism across their numerous media brands.

At the same time, while theatrical productions were shut down due to COVID-19, many media companies found that working with Microsoft and our partners like AVID, Technicolor, MediaKind among others, helped re-imagine remote production workflows and support remote work. “The show must go on” after all. Listen to this podcast episode on content production reimagined for more.

Telecommunications organizations like NTT, Tunisie Telecom, LG Uplus, Axiata, and Robi were no different, enabling secure anywhere/anytime productivity and collaboration across employees, partners and suppliers, and transforming the way customer care and field service teams worked together to share insights and respond to customers. Verizon, Maxis, and many others also helped support the remote, mobile, and hybrid work environments of their customers with enhanced connectivity and mobility services bundled with Microsoft’s modern work solutions. For a great overview of how telcos have empowered their workforces, be sure to listen to the recent podcast featuring Mike Little of Lumen Technologies and Rick Lievano of Microsoft.

Insights to enhance care, deliver personalized experiences, and earn customers for life

Telco organizations also consolidated data and simplified access to insights to drive informed, proactive decision-making. Telia streamlined its inventory and sales processes, gained the ability to tightly track inventory, and created a faster, more personalized shopping experience for its customers with Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power BI.  Lumen used Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Power Apps to transform the way their field technicians share information and insights to more efficiently deploy resources and speed issue resolution.

The past year also accelerated the ability for media companies to deliver new, highly personalized experiences through comprehensive, data-driven insights—as described by Jesse Redniss of Brave Ventures and Jennifer Cooper of Microsoft in the podcast How Data Personalizes the Media Experience.  And for more on how analytics can impact every part of a telco organization, check out the recent e-book Harness the power of analytics, artificial intelligence and automation (A3).

Transforming creativity, business operations, and networks

Perhaps nowhere has transformation occurred more rapidly over the last 12 months than in how media & entertainment content is created and delivered, how telecommunications organizations have streamlined their operations and business support systems, and how wireless networks are deployed, managed, and optimized.

Just last month, WPP and Microsoft announced a partnership to transform content production and enable greater collaboration between creative teams, regardless of location. In the on-demand session Creative Workflows of the Future on a Secure and Intelligent Cloud,  Stephan Pretorius, the CTO of WPP, provides an exceptional summary of their work to transform global operations to enable the creative workflows of the future with intelligent cloud-based creativity, collaboration, and productivity tools. Executive leaders from WPP and Microsoft also discuss reinventing creativity and how emerging technologies are enhancing creative capabilities, enabling inclusive design practices, and supporting corporate commitments to sustainability in The Future of Creativity.

Waave, one of Korea’s leading providers of video content streaming, migrated its service to Microsoft Azure to handle an ever-increasing amount of traffic with confidence, and to roll out new technologies with ease.  Cloud migrations have also accelerated with a number of Microsoft’s Telco customers including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, and TIM.

With Azure for Operators, Microsoft empowers operators on their cloud migration journey to transform the network, unlock new revenue opportunities, and improve cost efficiencies. And recently, Amdocs announced the extension of its global business, technology, and services collaboration with Microsoft, widening the availability of its portfolio on Microsoft Azure. For more, watch Ronen Fischler of Amdocs, George Glass of TM Forum, and Monte Hong of Microsoft as they discuss how Telecommunications organizations are embracing the cloud to streamline BSS workloads.

Reimagining customer experiences

The continued disruption to traditional channels and venues—combined with ever-increasing consumer expectations for personalization, immediacy, and choice—have forced media & entertainment organizations to reimagine the fan and audience experience. Sports leagues and franchises have led much of this transformation over the last year. For example, in May, LaLiga announced the expansion of its global partnership with Microsoft to digitally transform football, develop exciting new offerings that will improve the fan experience both inside and outside stadiums, and build innovative technology solutions for the sports industry.

The National Basketball Association, in an effort to provide fans from around the world the basketball knowledge and highlights they desire, introduced NBA CourtOptix powered by Microsoft Azure which allows fans to track and analyze action on the court and generate insights behind every shot, pass, and play. To free its service agents from repeatedly answering routine questions, the NFL’s Miami Dolphins used Microsoft Power Virtual Agents to build a chatbot on its web properties that has now handled over 40,000 conversations and has successfully resolved 97 percent of them without service agent involvement.

Accelerating innovation and business growth

To succeed in a marketplace that has been forever changed, media & entertainment and telecommunications organizations are looking to 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR), and other technologies to develop the immersive experiences, cross-industry edge solutions, and next-generation services that will unlock new revenue streams and drive business growth.

AT&T recently introduced its 5G Innovation Studio to bring together the power of their business, consumer and network organizations to accelerate the path to market for new 5G-centric product offerings and key initiatives. In this space, AT&T will work with customers and industry collaborators to ideate, test, and validate new applications across a variety of industries.

Last month, Telefónica announced a partnership with Microsoft to combine Telefónica’s Private 5G connectivity with Microsoft’s Edge Computing capabilities to drive the digital transformation of customers and enable the automation and control of their industrial processes. The joint vision of both companies is to facilitate the deployment of industrial 5G communications and computing solutions under an integrated architecture. At the same time, O2 announced a new partnership with Microsoft to develop Mobile Edge Computing capabilities within a Private 5G Network, focusing on security and low latency.

Two more recent examples in telecommunications are Telstra, which is expanding its traditional business to offer application software solutions enabled by Microsoft Azure and 5G, and Nokia, who in March announced an agreement with Microsoft to develop new market-ready 4G and 5G private wireless use cases designed for enterprises. The initiative supports Nokia’s strategy of partnering with best-in-class public cloud providers to drive end-user business outcomes essential for monetizing 4G/5G deployments.

Magic Screen, a joint venture between Howie Mandel’s Alevy Productions and Super 78 Studios, is a proprietary real-time animation system built in partnership with Microsoft and NVIDIA. Microsoft also recently introduced the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Telecommunications Accelerator, which extends and customizes the capabilities of the Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 products to enable telco-specific application design and development and fuel new innovation and automation for network operators, internet service providers, and mobile carriers.

Adobe, Arm, the BBC, Intel, and Truepic have also partnered with Microsoft on Project Origin to establish formal industry standards that certify the source of content, introduce more accountability, and help slow the spread of disinformation. Warner Bros. also teamed up with Microsoft to empower a new generation of developers with learning paths and virtual workshops to help leaners of all ages explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math careers and discover the wonders of computer science.

For more of our perspective on the current transformation in the media & entertainment and telecommunications industries, and the immediate challenges and opportunities that should be top-of-mind for M&E and Telco business leaders, watch the videos Transformation in the Media & Entertainment Industry and Transformation in the Telecommunications Industry.

Microsoft empowers media, entertainment, and telecommunications organizations to achieve more with our trusted and secure platform supported by a comprehensive partner ecosystem with industry-leading solutions to maximize collaboration and productivity, streamline operations, enable insights-driven decision-making, deliver engaging customer experiences, and accelerate innovation and business growth.

Learn more about intelligent media and entertainment to see how the capabilities of solutions from Microsoft and our partners have optimized workflows, streamlined content delivery, and deepened audience engagement for the likes of Digital Domain, Waave, Wunderman + Thompson, the NFL, LaLiga, and Thomson Reuters.

And, learn more about intelligent telecommunications to see how Microsoft and our partners have increased productivity, streamlined operations, optimized networks, and accelerated innovation for the likes of AT&T, Etisalat, Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica, Telstra, and Vodafone.