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New collaboration aims to accelerate AI skills for the telecoms sector

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New collaboration aims to accelerate AI skills for the telecoms sector
A digital version of the program will be available to help address both the business strategy and technology fundamentals of Generative AI.

Non-profit industry organisation, GSMA and IBM announced a new collaboration to support the adoption and skills of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in the telecom industry through the launch of GSMA Advance’s AI Training program and the GSMA Foundry Generative AI challenge and program. 

The AI training program, the first in a new series of courses by GSMA Advance, seeks to prepare telco leaders for the AI-era and bridge skills gaps in the telecom industry, by equipping members with skills and knowledge to help effectively leverage Gen AI technologies utilizing watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform with AI assistants. 

The training program, designed for telecoms leaders, will span a wide range of topics, from fundamental AI principles to specialized Gen AI applications in telecoms. To ensure a wide-range of participants can benefit, GSMA Advance AI Training sessions will take place at IBM offices in five locations around the world in 2024, including Dubai, London, Mexico, New York and Seoul, and an online training program will be available in multiple languages. 

A digital version of the program will be available to help address both the business strategy and technology fundamentals of Generative AI. This program will leverage IBM watsonx to deliver hands-on training designed to equip architects and developers with in-depth practical Gen AI knowledge. 

The GSMA Foundry Generative AI program will provide GSMA members with  
access to IBM’s watsonx. This platform is intended to help telecom industry players explore innovative industry-specific use cases of Generative AI, enabling members to improve cost leadership, revenue growth and enhance customer experience. As part of the ongoing collaboration GSMA Foundry and IBM will drive a series of Gen AI industry programs and challenges to investigate the use of Generative AI in various functional areas of a telecom provider.  

Through both the GSMA Advance AI Training and Foundry Gen AI programs, the GSMA and IBM will help address the gap in AI skills, training and tools, supporting GSMA’s commitment to operators of all sizes across the world.  

IBM’s latest AI Adoption Index found 40% of telecoms surveyed are exploring or experimenting with generative AI, and 45% have accelerated the rollout of AI. Research from GSMA Intelligence also shows that while 56% of operators surveyed are actively trialing generative AI solutions – at a rate higher than any other priority technology – adoption this is less prevalent amongst mid-sized and smaller operators surveyed.  

“Artificial Intelligence provides the telecoms industry, and the societies it serves, with huge opportunities to launch new services, improve connectivity and customer experience. Overall, it’s estimated that AI could contribute $15.7 trillion1 to the global economy by 2030,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer at the GSMA. “However, it’s critical that AI is democratized to ensure that all parts of the connectivity industry and their customers, wherever they are in the world, benefit. Bringing operators access to AI tools and knowledge, alongside the necessary skills, access and training, is key to achieving this.” 

The AI Training program is the first in a series of courses to be announced by GSMA Advance, the GSMA’s training organization, which was launched earlier in 2024.

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Spanish mobile industry to launch online anti-fraud service

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Reported cases of cybercrime in Spain increased by 72% in 2022 | Photo: Jonas Leupe

Spain’s leading mobile operators Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone have announced the launch of two new services designed to help developers tackle online fraud and protect the digital identities of mobile customers.

As part of the global GSMA Open Gateway initiative, the operators have announced the  launch of two network API (Application Programmable Interface) services focused on improving digital security: Number Verification and SIM Swap. These APIs will allow developer teams and partners to create new intelligent layers of customer authentication, verification, and security within mobile phone networks. This will help businesses, such as financial institutions and online retailers, tackle identity fraud by enhancing user authentication and improving security.

These new services will be available at Mobile World Congress (MWC) taking place in Barcelona, Spain, from 26-29 February.

The latest figures from Spain’s Interior Minister show that reported cases of cybercrime increased by 72% in 2022 compared to 2019, with almost 90% of them being related to online fraud. Cybercrime now accounts for around a fifth of all offences registered in the country.

Juan Reyero Montes, Enterprise Marketing Director, Orange Spain, commented, “the launch of these two new APIs onto the Spanish market, addressing key use cases around fraud, aptly demonstrates the value that Orange and our partner operators can bring, utilising our network capabilities to improve the security of transactions whilst enhancing the user experience for customers through seamless authentication.

Launched one year ago at MWC Barcelona, the GSMA Open Gateway initiative represents a shift in the way the global telecoms industry designs and brings to market new mobile apps, and immersive and digital services. The new Number Verification and SIM Swap services will also make online authentication simpler and faster for online customers, as mobile applications, cloud services and connectivity networks will all be accessible through the APIs.

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How a free VPN can help small businesses reduce IT costs

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VPNs can enable employees who work from home to safely access sensitive data only available on a company's network | Photo: Malte Helmhold

Many factors contribute to the scalability of a business, such as quality products, good relationships with customers, employee satisfaction, and good management of resources. However, one thing that can wreak the reputation of a business and make customers churn out products and services is the lack of trust; if customers have any reason to believe that their information with the organization is not safe and secure, they can withdraw from such a company.

With digitalization, the threat of cyber-attacks is a constant concern for businesses of all sizes; the digital era has made global business more competitive, and organizations don’t want to remain stagnant or irrelevant in the market. Organizations like Cisco CCNP Security put out some exciting changes and updates to help IT professionals and business setups mitigate cyber threats periodically.

Cybersecurity breaches can lead to the loss of sensitive data, financial damage, and even the collapse of a business. Therefore, companies need to take steps to protect themselves from cyber threats. One way to do this is by deploying a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

VPNs have become increasingly popular over the years as an effective way to protect online privacy and security. A VPN encrypts your data and routes it through a secure server, making it difficult for hackers and prying eyes to intercept or access sensitive information.

While we have many paid VPN services available, there are also reputable free VPNs that can offer a viable solution for small businesses that want to mitigate cyber threats. The ways a free VPN can lead to the scalability of a business include:

Protecting sensitive data

Data has become crucial to the business world; organizations keep their customers’ and clients’ sensitive data for transactions and communication; you need a VPN to protect sensitive data. If you have employees, especially those who work remotely and use public WiFi or work from public places, such as a coffee shop or airport, they can be vulnerable to cyber threats. Hackers have become more proficient in intercepting traffic and stealing data, like login credentials, credit card information, and other sensitive data.

A free VPN encrypts all traffic, making it difficult for hackers to steal sensitive information. Encryption can help protect the business and its customers from cyber threats, which helps build trust, reputation, and credibility.

Enhancing employees’ productivity

VPNs enhance employees’ productivity. Employees who work remotely need access to sensitive data or systems only available on the company’s network to carry out their tasks effectively. VPNs enable employees to safely and securely access these resources anywhere in the world without compromising network security.

Access to data and systems helps improve efficiency and increase the productivity of employees who work remotely, which can ultimately lead to the scalability of the business. When employees can work from anywhere, they bypass geographical limitations due to a region or country.

Improving customer trust and brand loyalty

The survival and relevance of your business in the global market depend on the trust you create with your customers; if customers find your conduct trustworthy, you can build brand ambassadors who will reference your organization to others. Referrals can play vital roles in enhancing the scalability of a small business and increasing revenue for the expansion of business processes; when customers feel you can secure and protect their data, they are more likely to do business with your organization.

If your business can’t afford the costs of a premium VPN, leveraging a free VPN can demonstrate to customers that your organization takes any malicious activity from a hacker seriously.

Cutting costs

A small business may find premium VPN services expensive; if you find yourself in that position, you can leverage any free VPN that can offer a viable solution for your small business to mitigate cyber threats.

If you reduce your IT costs by using a free VPN, it will help your business to improve profitability and scalability. Reduction of IT costs is essential for a small business operating on a tight budget.

Small businesses need funds for relevance and survival in the highly competitive global market.

VPNs are essential tools to mitigate cyber threats and a free VPN can be an effective way for a small business to protect sensitive data, enhancing employee productivity, improving customer loyalty, and cutting costs.

However, before subscribing to the services of any free VPN provider, companies need to check if the available features matches the level of security necessary for a business.

There can be instances where some free services may lack some security features you will get from paid VPNs. Therefore, it is crucial to do extensive market research and choose a reliable free VPN to secure your business adequately and effectively.

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How much does it cost to build an app in 2024?

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How much does it cost to build an app in 2024?
A comprehensive study is essential for companies and developers to learn the pricing structures of the third-party apps they intend to include | Photo: Kelly Sikkema

In the fast-growing digital world, app development has become a necessity to simplify business operations. In 2024, the demand is for an efficient, easy-to-use, and innovative application that serves the needs of clients.

Any entrepreneur or app developer needs to first have a thorough analysis of some crucial factors related to app development to build a better application. One of the main factors is the cost of designing the application, which should be considered on a priority basis.

For an efficient decision-making process of app development, cost planning plays an important role in it. Here are the factors that determine the cost behind app development.

  • Application Type and Complexity 

What kind of application you wish to build determines the overall cost behind it. There are three types of applications to categorize – Basic, medium, and advanced. The cost of the application will depend upon the complexity level of the application.

The basic applications will have the most basic features and characteristics without any complex features. Here the cost shall be minimal. The example can be a key-notes application.

The medium-level application will include level-up features and functions that include building relations with people. It may include integration with outside services, payment processing, and user identification.

The advanced and more applications will include virtual reality, live updates, and complex codes. This group includes inventive solutions, video games, and business applications.

  • Platform

The platform you choose can highly affect the overall app development cost. There are significant financial costs associated with deciding to design an application on just one OS (iOS or Android) versus going with a cross-platform solution. Because single-platform development concentrates on the nuances of a single operating system, it is usually more cost-effective and produces a more efficient product.

On the contrary, cross-platform development, though more expensive, has the benefit of reaching a wider audience by supporting both iOS and Android customers. This strategy aims to increase efficiency through the reuse of code, however, it could have a few more upfront expenses.

The choice ultimately comes down to evaluating the advantages and disadvantages between cost-effectiveness and wider accessibility, target audience, affordability, and the intended extent of market penetration.

  • Design and User Experience (UX/UI)

In order to make a successful business application, a good design and UX/UI is a must. Therefore, it is necessary to make an application that satisfies the customers and which is easy to use. A well-crafted application with all the features, functionalities and visual components will lead to a satisfied customer.

A well-designed application guarantees easy navigation, a logical order of content, and a visually appealing layout, which results in increased user engagement.

Investment done to attain the talent and skills of professionals never goes in vain. Therefore, the cost may increase due to charges of the skillful app developers for better UX and UI. However, cost incurred for this purpose will always lead to better goodwill and brand identity.

More the satisfied app users, the more will be the customer retention and ultimately will lead to more profits.

  • Development Team 

Costs are greatly impacted by the composition of a development team, which consists of project leaders, developers, designers, and quality assurance specialists. Although the cost of engaging skilled professionals is higher, the investment pays off with a more significant final result.

Skilled programmers skillfully handle challenges, designers guarantee a visually appealing and easy user experience, and project managers maximize productivity. App reliance is determined by QA specialists.

The money spent on excellence, efficiency, and long-term success that comes with hiring a talented staff will eventually pay for itself in higher performance and happier users. 

  • Testing and Quality Assurance

Before launching any application, it is necessary to check the quality and test the app functionality. While testing the application, it helps to know if there is any defect or problem that needs to be solved quickly.

There are separate departments in the organization for quality testing which will help to finally test the application. So, there will be a cost of incorporating and operating that department in the organization.

But if some amount from the budget is not set apart for quality testing,then it may lead to other losses if customers do not feel satisfied. Hence, it is good to invest money for the quality check department instead of ignoring this and resulting in poor quality application.

  • Location of Development Team

The location of the developers also has a major impact on the application cost. The expenses and fees charged by the developers need to be considered for cost planning. To reduce the costs, some of the companies also outsource their app development work resulting in profits.

Also, while outsourcing the task, it is necessary to understand the other factors such as cost differences, time differences, language differences, etc. Effective teamwork and interaction are essential for outsourcing app development to be effective.

  • Updates and Maintenance

The creation of apps doesn’t end with their initial release; ongoing updates and maintenance are necessary to ensure their continued utility, protection, and compliance with the newest operating systems.

To add new features, improve current functionalities, and fix security flaws, constant attempts are essential. The long-term sustainability of the app depends on careful planning and funding for these continuing procedures.

Maintenance ensures smooth operation, while updates ensure the adjustment to changing customer requirements and industry trends. This proactive strategy reduces the danger of technical degradation while maintaining consumer happiness. 

  • Integration with Third-Party Services 

Integration with Third-Party Services: One should take into account the associated costs if the application needs to integrate with third-party services, including social media platforms, payment gateways, or APIs. Subscription fees for some third-party services could add up to the total cost of development.

Conducting a comprehensive study is essential for firms and developers to fully learn the pricing structures of the third-party apps they intend to include. Higher utilization may lead to higher costs, so future consumption growth and potential scalability need to be considered.

Negotiating with third-party vendors and having an open dialogue can help control and lower integration costs.

Understanding App Costs for Various Types

Simple Apps:

Time Spent on Development: 1-3 Months

Cost Estimate: $5,000–$30,000

Moderate Apps: 

Time Spent on Development: 3-6 Months

Cost Estimate: $30,000 to $100,000

Complex Apps:

Time Spent on Development:  6 months to over a year

Cost Estimate: $100,000 to $1,000,000 or more

It is necessary to remember that these are only approximations and that actual expenses may differ depending on the particulars of the project, the team’s experience, and other elements.

 

In 2024, developing an excellent mobile application will require addressing a number of budgetary factors, such as platform selection and app type. It’s critical to view developing an app as an investment since well-made apps can generate income and increase user engagement. Keeping up with technological changes is essential for making smart decisions in this competitive environment.

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