It never fails, as the end of the year approaches, we start getting questions that are broader and have to do with the next year.
2018 was a year of consolidation in the industry (see GTT as just one example). Also, this year saw continued pressure on the arbitragers as it became clear that scale and volume were going to be even more critical going forward. From our stand point, we see the market continuing that trend in 2019.
As I see it, consolidation will continue throughout 2019 and will begin to slow down again in 2020. Carriers will look to continue to reduce the cost of operating the interconnect voice side of their business while solution providers, like GCS, will continue to expand our feature set and look to increase the value we provide to carriers. Regarding top line revenues and margins, we see them both staying mostly flat with small decreases overall.
So, the answer is much of the same as 2018, with an increase in emphasis on reducing operating costs of the interconnect voice side of the business. GCS, as well as all the players in the space, will continue to invest in innovative new solutions that will help carriers to pursue this goal of lower operating costs while delivering greater efficiencies and value.
In 2018, GCS launched its iRAS solution, and in 2019, the roadmap looks pretty compelling. We are redesigning our entire user experience, improving our I-AZM module to deal with the volume challenges that origination based routing & rating has presented to the industry, and adding SMS.
Despite challenges the industry is facing, 2019 could be the year where the industry pivots and focuses much more on automation and the toolsets they need to allow them to lower their costs while maintaining revenue and margin contribution.