Mobile, cloud computing and the internet of things are some of the mega trends that are shaping the telecommunications industry. Demand for connectivity – wireless and fixed – is growing in all areas of our lives, be it at home or at work. At the same time, the proliferation of cloud services creates administrative and financial pressures on organisations, especially for SMBs with limited in-house IT resources. In response, the trend is toward a model where companies can access cloud services under a simple, subscription-based pricing structure, with a single point of contact and support.
We are also seeing the NBN gaining traction among average Australians who recognise the benefits of next generation internet. Admittedly, it is still early days for the broadband network, with the rollout scheduled for completion in 2020. There has already been a good uptake however, with over 24,000 Australians currently using the NBN and this is set to rise as more than 2.5 million premises are connected over the next three years. Breaking up age-old monopolies in the telco space, the NBN will create more competition at retail and wholesale level, which ultimately benefits consumers and businesses.
Some of the other key trends we are expecting to see in 2013 include:
1. BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) phenomenon accelerates
Driven by 4G / LTE, mobile apps and services are increasingly moving into the cloud, devices are becoming more personalised, and moving towards being a tool for both personal and work use on the one device. At the same time, businesses seek the flexibility and cost savings of VoIP, as traditional deskbound working patterns are gradually being replaced with remote / telecommuting style arrangements. We are not only expecting to see more mobile devices connecting to enterprise-grade VoIP services, but we also expect mobile numbers to finally become fully portable, just as we have recently seen in the fixed line market, where lifting restrictions on the portability of geographic numbers removed a significant barrier to changing providers.
2. Over-The-Top alleviates cloud complexity
Over-the-Top (OTT) refers to a broad range of cloud services that run on internet connected devices, ranging from email and anti-virus to voice and video streaming. While OTT apps thrive in the consumer space, businesses are grappling with the complexity that multiple service providers – each with their own billing mechanism and support system – impose on their already stretched IT and finance resources. Rather than having to deal with 20 individual providers, many seek a one-stop-shop that covers most of their communication needs, providing a single point of customer support and one consolidated monthly bill. By opting for a single provider that bundles connectivity and OTT services, organisations can also eliminate the need for costly technical integration between applications, avoiding data siloes in the cloud.
3. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) comms grows in popularity
While consumers and businesses alike look for providers with comprehensive service offerings, they increasingly reject rigid plans and bundles that assume that one size fits all. Rather, we are expecting to see customers mix and match the communications services, software apps and hardware products they really need. For example, light internet users, who mostly use the internet for email, internet browsing and social networking, may not need the maximum speed and download allowances the NBN can deliver, but can reap significant cost savings from NBN-enabled VoIP.