Three technology trends that are likely to create opportunities in 2017
If you google this subject you will find everything from 3D printing to virtual reality. I shall focus on technological innovations that will bring business opportunities, particularly in the UK SME market and especially for the voice and data channel. In summary, as the reliability and speed of internet connections improve, so the adoption of business cloud applications will accelerate. As mobile data becomes affordable and manageable so more data SIMs will be embedded in all sorts of devices throughout the world.
The speed and cost of internet connectivity
The real cost per MB of data decreases every year and it is usually only inefficient markets and effective monopolies that keep prices high. Last year, Vodafone hit out at what it perceived as BT’s excessive profit-making from Openreach. Vodafone were able to produce figures purporting to show that BT made excess profits of £1bn from regulated services in 2015, equalling the amount set aside by the government for digital infrastructure in the Autumn Statement. As discussed in previous blogs, Ofcom’s intervention to separate Openreach from BT is likely to lead to a more progressive strategy. Together with EU regulation of the mobile networks this will cause dramatic reductions in the cost of internet and faster, more reliable services over mobile and fixed connections.
In 2005, the front page of Comms Business depicted a gravestone on which was inscribed “RIP PBX”. It was more than 10 years before the first failure of a major PBX manufacturer but cloud voice is now established as first choice for SMEs needing a phone system. The market leader, Broadsoft, has around 15m seats installed worldwide – more than all the other vendors combined. Whereas UK business once lagged the world in cloud adoption, as internet connectivity speeds and reliability have improved so UK SMEs have caught up. Today around 80% are using at least one cloud application in their business.