Consolidation. Consolidation. Consolidation.
As a strategy to come out of the recession and use this time of recovery to build resilient businesses – either through complementary M&A or hostile take-overs – 2010 will see more consolidation across the telecommunications sector. The demand for new, value-added services as well as the need to acquire new technology and service expertise will see cash-rich organisations throw some money out there. We should expect some premium valuations of successful small businesses and start-ups.
Video to become mainstream virtual meeting vehicle – at work, at home, on-the-go
What started out as virtual workforce collaboration in order to reduce costs and increase productivity, has now touched millions of individuals outside of the workplace – to connect with their loved ones and friends anywhere in the world. Skype alone has 521 million subscribers, using the service in 29 languages to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. 34% of Skype-to-Skype calls are in video. Video brings proximity. Without a doubt, video will drive the volume of traffic on telecoms networks in 2010.
The cloud is not yet ready to burst
One of the most commonly discussed tech trends In 2009 was cloud computing and enterprises have taken a cautious approach to it so far, typically through the testing of less critical services on the cloud computing platform. This is likely because they have had to rely on the Internet for connectivity, an option that delivers inadequate levels of assurance and reliability, making it inappropriate for critical applications. There is also a lack of end-to-end ownership across the entire cloud value chain from application to service providers, and this lack of control and clear boundaries of responsibility has been one of the major inhibitors for many enterprises’ deployment of cloud-based applications. In 2010, businesses will demand the end-to-end assurance around the performance of their services, before they are willing to implement a wider (and likely more critical) set of services.
Emerging markets drive the wave of recovery
As organisations tap into emerging markets for business growth, 2010 will see increasing demand for reliable, high-bandwidth connectivity into more remote locations (even within the emerging markets). Certain industries (especially in the engineering, mining and manufacturing sectors) will also require their remote offices to have the capability to rapidly enter a certain market, rapidly scale up (or down) their network requirements in order to be responsive to changing business needs. The ‘global enterprise’ will need service providers who can accurately and professionally manage multiple carrier partners to extend their backbone reach into these new markets.
Enterprises will thrive on a plug ‘n’ play business model
As enterprises prepare to the ride the green shoots of recovery and tap in to business opportunities in new products, new technologies, new services, new sectors and new geographies, they will demand a Plug ‘n’ Play business model as a stepping stone to a committed presence in any particular area. In 2010, enterprises will need the telecommunications industry to enable this ‘business agility’ – whether through elementary Cloud services or even through a more conscientious approach of on-boarding enabling partners – right from the outset. In practical terms this means providers will have to be able to manage existing legacy relationships with other providers, while also offering best-cost, most-suitable technologies to be integrated into networks in each new vertical, sector or geography.
Owen Best is president for Asia Pacific at Reliance Globalcom