Tag Archive | "VoIP"

Mobile Security Avaya

89% of Employees Apparently Don’t Care About Mobile Security

Mobile Security Avaya

IT security has a big job: keep corporate data safe in the face of motivated hackers and unaware employees. Today that job is harder than ever — employees are bringing their own devices and applications into the office every morning, and walking out the door with corporate data every night.

The intention behind Bring Your Own Device and Bring Your Own Apps is good: Employees want to be productive away from the office. No one wants to carry around two smartphones, or truck around two laptops while they’re on the road. Cloud-based work apps excel at document version control, are accessible everywhere, and help teams cut down on email as a collaboration tool.

The reality of BYOD and BYOA is more troublesome: If your company is one of the estimated 26 percent with no official BYOD policy in place, employees will load work email and work documents on their personal mobile devices anyway. If a company fails to give their employees the cloud-based apps they want, they’ll simply use the app’s consumer-grade version. Thousands of unsecured laptops and smartphones get lost or stolen every week. It’s estimated that 43 percent of U.S. companies have experienced a data breach in the last year alone.

Troubling numbers

Given that backdrop, ask yourself — how many mobile devices are out there with your company’s data on them? The answer might surprise you.

In a recent survey of more than 12,000 people, security software maker Kaspersky Lab found roughly half used personal smartphones, tablets or laptops for work, 36 percent kept work files on their personal devices, 34 percent accessed work-related email from personal devices, and somewhere between 11 to 18 percent carried around corporate passwords.

Asked about it, just 11 percent said they were seriously concerned about keeping work-related information secure on their personal mobile devices.

If your company doesn’t have formal policies in place around personal mobile devices, chances are, your corporate data is already heading home with employees each night. BYOD and BYOA are just the start— Bring Your Own Everything is on the horizon.

Embracing the present

The first step is to either build a BYOD and BYOA policy, or review your existing policies to keep them up-to-date.

Employees are already using their own devices and apps inside the workplace — in an April 2015 report, Netskope found the average organization is now using 730 cloud-based applications. If that number seems high, it may be time to audit the software your teams are using, and determine if sensitive corporate information is at risk of being lost in the cloud.

Next, give employees the secure tools they need to use the devices and apps they choose. Different teams may choose different engagement software based on their individual needs. Mandating the entire company standardize on a single, monolithic software platform or official device is unrealistic, and may encourage “shadow IT,” where teams ignore official channels and adopt the tools that work for them.

Information silos are dangerous. At best, silos hinder company engagement by preventing teams from getting the information they need to make informed decisions easily. At worst, silos force employees to kluge together a solution — for example, emailing data across the company in spreadsheets.

Breaking information silos apart is possible with software like the Avaya Engagement Development Platform, which allows companies to write custom code that either communication-enables their existing apps, or builds new apps to share data between silos.

Lastly, smart companies adopt multiple layers of security, knowing that data breaches are just as likely to come from within the company than without.  Firewalls are not enough — network access must be segmented and role-based.

In a widely-publicized data breach last year, a major U.S. retailer admitted it had lost millions of consumer credit card numbers after it gave its HVAC vendor access to wide swaths of the company’s corporate network. Hackers breached the vendor, and used their network credentials to raid the retailer’s credit card database, which was sitting in a section of the network that an HVAC company should not have been able to access.

Virtualized, software-defined networking makes role-based network access easy, reduces the size of the network’s footprint of endpoints and obscures portions of the network from hackers. Individual devices, applications and endpoints are provisioned dynamically, with network access extending and retracting as needed.

BYOD and BYOA represent the new reality for enterprises. Take proactive steps to review your company’s BYOD and BYOA policies, give employees the tools to allow this trend, share information securely between applications and gain more control over the corporate network.

Want more? Download the new Avaya white paper, “The New Rules of Engagement.”



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Top 8 Considerations When Looking for a Cloud Services Provider

My recent blog on the top 12 reasons to invest in the cloud generated a lot of interest, and so I wanted to continue the discussion on this hot topic.

I reached out to our wealth of Avaya cloud experts for insight, and the result is the following guest blog by my colleague, Bob Camel. The article details a recently-developed online calculator designed to help executives evaluating unified communications and contact center management through the cloud, and suggests the top eight questions to ask when looking for a cloud services provider:

The value proposition of the cloud is clear. It’s about faster and easier provisioning and startup, as well as simplifying the transformation of IT. Moving to the cloud offers more flexibility and scalability with business changes, which helps bring about cost savings or a better total cost of ownership.

Recently, Pat discussed Forrester Research’s forward-thinking Total Economic Impact™ studies on the potential return on investment for the private/hybrid cloud model.

To move the conversation forward, we recently developed a model that helps address how companies can achieve meaningful business results by transitioning to the cloud.

This online calculator factors in the number of white collar employees using unified communications, number of contact center agents and annual IT infrastructure cost to manage and maintain UC and/or contact center network(s) to calculate savings. The calculator demonstrates how managed services at the core of private cloud services can improve the bottom line.

To reaffirm the savings associated with the cloud, consider the advice of the research advisory firm Nemertes, which recently released a report entitled “True Cost of Operations for IPT/UC Decrease.” Nemertes interviewed 26 IT leaders and surveyed an additional 238 professionals to gather data points on several areas of IP telephony and UC.

They came up three “direction points”:

  • “IP Telephony costs down – Capital and operational costs drop, reflecting more competition and shorter learning curves, respectively. But implementation costs rise because of integration and resources needed to effectively plan and engineer rollouts.”
  • “Four providers this year are below median for first-year, on-premise IP telephony costs.”
  • “Cloud not the big cost saver—if you think you’re going to save money on cloud, look carefully.”

“When running a cost model … factor five years out,” writes the report’s authors, on the importance of considering staffing and costs of a cloud deployment. “This will show how costs change as IT staff gains expertise. Particularly in cloud environments, the operation costs should drop as employees are better trained, kinks are worked out of the systems, and the cloud provider steps up to be a true partner.”

So what should businesses look for in a cloud services provider? To get you started, be sure to ask these eight questions of potential providers:

  1. Is the cloud provider focused on the client and their overall performance/business outcomes? Or just on the client’s applications?
  2. Is the cloud provider committed to building a strong relationship through dedication to processes for communications, meeting expectations, discussing priorities and developing strategies?
  3. Can the provider help in the training of employees to use UC/CC apps?
  4. Can the provider troubleshoot and integrate existing apps?
  5. Does the provider have strong support models and management tools?
  6. Do they offer the necessary flexibility to meet the client’s long- and short-term goals?
  7. Is the provider accountable and willing to commit to service-level agreements?
  8. Can the provider offer global standards in their offers, services and tools?

Rightly stated in our top 6 trends for 2015, the allure of the cloud continues, particularly because of opportunities for flexibility and savings. Realizing all of these savings requires careful consideration of these eight questions. Picking the right cloud services partner can make or break the business case for cloud.

What questions are most important to you? How is your cloud performing? Are you seeing savings?

Follow me on Twitter: @Pat_Patterson_V.



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Top 6 Communications Services Trends of 2015 – Midyear Review

In October 2014, we assembled a team of five service experts led by Mike Runda, Senior Vice President and President, Avaya Client Services, and asked them to predict services-related technology trends likely to emerge in 2015. Mike and the team came up with six key communications services trends.

Now, halfway through 2015, we’re taking a look back at those predictions to see where we’ve been and, most importantly, where we’re going.

Check out which trends are emerging, which trends have reached a key inflection point, and which are the most (positively) disruptive:

#1: The cloud takes shape.

Prediction: “The market is about five calendar quarters into an eight-quarter transformation, from a mindset that favored on premise, owned equipment, to one where executives think of cloud solutions first as they consider new and upgraded communications capabilities. The hosted cloud solution will need to drive a differentiated support services experience in which users can click from within the application to get timely help.”

Emerging:  While medium- to midsize businesses continue trending to public cloud and large enterprises continue to migrate to private cloud, the challenge for IT directors is dealing with a situation that has taken a 180-degree turn.

Two years ago, CEOs and CIOs were asking the question, “Why would we go to the cloud?” Those same CEOs and CIOs today manage their photos through iCloud and access team calendars through apps like Google Docs. Now more comfortable with the cloud, they’re asking, “Why not go cloud at the start?”

The answer is security. Although the typically lower-priced opex (often deployed as a subscription-based cloud service) model plays well with the CIOs and CFOs in the C-suite, cybersecurity concerns have led many decision-makers to take a step back and consider private cloud or hybrid solutions as the starting point.

Intrusions into corporate databases at Target, Sony, Home Depot and, just recently, the hacking of 22.1 million Federal employee records have led companies to think twice. Security issues, which have always been part of the cloud debate, are now center stage.

#2: Video support reaches an inflection point — if you snooze, you lose.

Prediction: “At the end of 2013, Amazon.com became the first company to offer one-way video customer support. In 2014, Avaya became the first company to offer both one-way and two-way video support options for customer engagement. Now, companies in many industry verticals are adopting—or at least piloting—some form of video. Businesses that haven’t begun to make the move to video will be challenged to catch up with their competitors.”

Key Inflection Point:  There is now enough data to prove that leveraging video improves interactions over phone, Web, text or any other form of special communications. Adding video to support provides a broader, more enriched experience.

Video is the only communication medium that enables support engineers to see the problem, rather than having it described to them. Many companies are choosing two-way video first because of the reward of quick resolution time. By no longer talking to a handset and instead talking “face-to-face” with a person, customers feel like they’re maximizing their service agreements.

#3: As omnichannel support matures, Web chat plays a pivotal role.

Prediction: “Even as video gains momentum as a high-touch channel (see Trend #2), companies will continue to use Web chat as the relatively low-expense way to initiate the customer experience from a website, to triage that experience, and to direct customers to the appropriate support channel and other support resources and tools.”

Emerging:  The emergence of Millennials in the workforce, and their preference for text-based communication, is leading to chat growth. This growth is only hastened by the benefits for employers. Since support engineers can handle multiple interactions at a time via chat, it’s an incredibly efficient medium.

While chat is pivotal to a well-rounded support strategy, the emphasis remains on empowering consumers to choose their method of communication. An award-winning dynamic network that offers many forms of communication, including chat, has led to quicker resolutions and more importantly, increased customer satisfaction scores for Avaya.

#4: Social media and crowdsourcing: Are you really engaging your customers?

Prediction: “It will be imperative to bridge the gap between simply monitoring social platforms for conversations about your company and doing something about them — i.e., capturing, routing and responding to those conversations within your contact center and/or broader enterprise, as well as encouraging customer-employee interaction through crowdsourcing, which is often carried out in private forums.”

Emerging: Online conversations are increasingly spreading out beyond the familiar boundaries of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Customer engagement tools not only help identify the conversation occurring in real-time, but offer up tools to respond, if needed. People, particularly Millennials, inherently trust the opinions of their friends, other consumers and brands (and probably in that order). Smart companies are offering tools to help users become experts and share their expertise. A great example are private forums where users are given a trust rating; information is rated on accuracy, and knowledge is shared among a technical community of interest.

#5: Support services transparency: Customers like what they see.

Prediction: “Mobility will be a growing factor, contributing to more seamless and transparent interactions that give customers instant access to rich information about their relationship with your company, your company’s products and services, and support tools and status.”

Positively Disruptive:  The rise of cloud and support services provides more transparency for enterprises and businesses into the support services they’ve been leveraging. Analytics show companies the number of incidents that may have occurred in their organization, support provider performance, and reveals how their hardware and software footprint is handling traffic. Leveraging this insight is increasing the need for IT departments to enhance their supplier management skills.

#6: The high-accountability support model emerges.

Prediction: “Individual support personnel will retain ownership of the customer experience and use techniques such as collaboration and ‘swarming’ to break down the barriers of the traditional “tiered” support organization. This approach will drive a better experience for customers and ultimately make for more efficient resource utilization in support organizations.”

Emerging:  This model can lead to reductions in incident resolution time and cost-per-incident, as well as improve customer and employee satisfaction scores, but the transformation to the high accountability model does require effort, as detailed in a recent blog outlining the implementation of four key steps .

Which trends are impacting your businesses? Are there trends that we missed? What trends do you see emerging in 2016 and beyond?

Follow me on Twitter @pat_patterson_v

 



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Wearables Record at the Singapore Science Centre

CLWB Sets Record in Singapore

Wearables Record at the Singapore Science Centre

Working with the Singapore Science Centre and Microsoft Singapore, CLWB has set a new record. On July 30th 180 students from Singapore and Malaysia gathered together to show their technical creativity and to set the record for the “most people wearing programable illuminated t-shirts”. CLWB supplied the kits, the learning content and teacher training. Watch the video below to see the children perform, and CLWB Asia Founder Ian Myles leading the dancing :-)

The children came up with some great designs –

MoreTshirts

The Singapore Book of Records awarded the Singapore Science Centre with this certificate:

New.Record

A big thanks to all the people at the Singapore Science Centre – Prof Lim Tit Meng, Ei-Leen Tan, Sue Li Chan, Kiruthika Ramanathan, Wulf Hofbauer, Ling Ling Chew, Yingrui Goh, Rachel Chong; from Microsoft Singapore – Puay Ching Chia, Puay San Ng, Shuna Khoo and Gary Lim; and from CLWB Asia, Ian Myles and Arjun Teh.

Filed under: Singapore, wearables Tagged: Singapore, wearables

Wearables Record at the Singapore Science Centre


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Web

How Open Are You to Open Platforms?

Web

Poll question: How many cloud-based applications does the average organization use?

  1. Fewer than 200
  2. 200-500
  3. 500-700
  4. More than 700

Answer: D. Organizations now use an average of 730 cloud-based applications, and a large percentage of those apps are unsanctioned by the IT team, according to an April 2015 Netskope Cloud Report. Companies can’t prevent employees from using their own devices and apps at work, but they can maintain a higher level of control by embracing an open environment for their communication technology.

For decades, employers and IT departments relied on a single vendor to supply all of their communication technology, which allowed them to manage every communication pathway and touchpoint employees used. But Bring Your Own Device and Bring Your Own Application trends changed the way businesses operate.

Today, employees believe they should be empowered to choose the devices and apps they use to do their jobs—regardless of whether those tools are provided by their employer, a trusted vendor, or a startup they read about on their favorite blog. Fighting this trend isn’t an option, so IT departments have to find a way to create a safe, secured, and controlled environment in this bring-your-own-everything world.

Open vs Closed Loop

As these heterogeneous tech trends take hold, IT leaders have to deal with interoperability issues, heightened security risks, and the need to provide seamless communication capabilities in their traditionally closed-loop environment. This can be particularly difficult when these closed systems consist of highly proprietary software, which are difficult to integrate, and lead to higher costs to procure and support.

But what if their communication platform wasn’t a closed loop?

An open communication platform could provide teams with ways to support a varied collection of applications and workflows, while still giving companies a foundation to establish security and seamless endpoints. This is not a new idea; many tech verticals are successfully using open solutions. In the customer relationship management space, for instance, companies like Salesforce.com tout their open platform as an opportunity for developers to build their own apps and expand the capabilities of the system.

No single vendor can provide interoperability for every system. But an open platform gives the freedom for IT departments and third parties to develop new features, and bring interoperability to the market more rapidly. That flexibility and openness creates the potential to remake industries.

Consider the iPhone, and Apple’s willingness to design a platform where users could build their own apps, which lead to the creation of more than a million new applications (at a must faster rate than if Apple had to design each new app themselves) and a fundamental shift in the way users viewed their devices.

“An open platform environment drives collaboration and diversity,” says Dr. Timothy Summers, Ph.D. a former hacker and current information security consultant with Summers and Co. in Washington DC.

Creating open platforms that allow end users to innovative and adapt the system can shorten development times, improve quality of the product, and provide greater control over the user experience. And those benefits aren’t limited to smart phones, Summers says.

“This model could bring a huge competitive advantage to any communication technology field,” he says.

The concept of “openness” is disrupting networking, personal computing, wearables, enterprise communications, and many other sectors.

The Way of the Future

When companies opt to implement an open system from a reputable vendor that offers the necessary support, security and development tools, they can eliminate the hassles of trying to force proprietary solutions on their teams. Instead, they can focus on managing and implementing innovations that arise from an open environment.

A secure, open communication platform enables rapid deployment of new solutions, giving teams a way to contextualize and format data for their needs while allowing the IT team to maintain control over the data movement within the organization. It’s the best of both worlds, Summers says. “Communication technology companies can leverage these opportunities to develop new protocols and to better support the way users want to connect with each other around the world.”

Recent surveys show up to 90 percent of the cloud apps being used in organizations are not coming in through the IT department, and 70 percent of employees admit at least some of the apps they use aren’t sanctioned by the company. IT departments need an alternative to spending their days blocking apps, and juggling multiple communication platforms.

While open platforms still have room to grow before being the standard among communication technologies companies, the increasing demand for greater flexibility in the tools employees use will soon drive the industry to embrace “openness” as a way to maintain their competitive advantage and meet the needs of customers in the future.



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Mobile video streaming emphasising need for solid network capabilities

Mobile video streaming, also known as mobile TV, has been promoted by mobile network operators as one of the prime benefits of more capable infrastructure resulting from networks being upgraded with HSPA and LTE technologies. These upgrades enable subscribers to view streaming content on the go, with content less subject to outages and failed connections. However, until recently the platform had not caught the public’s attention, despite the introduction of unmetered access and generous data caps.

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) initially failed to develop the right business models to deliver the type of content suitable for mobile streaming. It was also uncertain whether customers would want to pay for content at all, given the small size of screens when mobile streaming was initially promoted. However, in recent months the popularity of phablets and of larger screened smartphones has helped address these limitations. In addition, the development of new technologies such as out LTE-Broadcast (from Telstra) will make the delivery of mobile streaming more efficient on a technical level, while the ability of people to view content from Netflix and other OTT services via mobile devices has made the format more attractive. Indeed, by early 2015 up to a third of all viewing was done via tablets and phablets.

With the explosion of video streaming over mobile networks, LTE –assisted with WiFi tails – is becoming essential. Already LTE extensions – also known as 4½G – are being implemented before 5G becomes commercially available around 2020.

The three LTE networks operated by Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have developed rapidly during the past two years as these players strive to provide an infrastructure capable of meetings customer demand for mobile broadband services. As well as aiming to attract new customers, these players are also trying to reduce churn – the experiences of Vodafone in recent years has shown how damaging it can be for an operator when their networks do not provide reliability and, increasingly in an era leaning further to mobile data than voice, sufficient performance.

Technological developments have also progressed, with operators using aggregated channels to improve data throughput. Since the beginning of 2015 Optus and Telstra have been able to utilise their 700MHz spectrum assets, with which they aim to provide about 98% population coverage by the end of 2016. Vodafone is relying on upgrades to its existing concessions, and by mid-2015 it provided about 95% coverage in metro areas.

These upgraded networks face daunting data demands from customers, many of whom make use of data-intensive graphics, videos and files shared across the networks. In addition, popular OTT services such as Netflix, a company which alone had attracted about one million customers since launching in Australia in March 2015, provide streaming of content over mobile devices. While networks can at times be strained, the MNOs are continually adding capabilities and applications in an effort to reduce their overall costings. Customer preference for WiFi from homes and workplaces has meant that mobile broadband traffic is largely offloaded to fixed-line infrastructure.

Henry Lancaster, Senior Analyst BuddeComm

BuddeComm recently published a new report on the mobile broadband market: Australia – Mobile Broadband Market – Services and Apps – 2015

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SDN_Blog

Building the Network of Tomorrow, Today

SDN_Blog

Imagine you want to travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

You can either get in a car and drive there, moving from city to city, waiting at red lights, traffic jams and bottlenecks … or, you can hop on a plane and fly over the traffic, going from Point A, straight to Point B.

Now translate that to your network.

The majority of business leaders I talk to today have legacy networks, which use a hop-by-hop configuration – similar to the slow and traffic-riddled, city-to-city drive. Legacy networking technology was designed decades ago and is saddled with unnecessary complexity and protocols. That sort of bandaged, bogged-down network just won’t cut it in today’s application-driven environment. The network of today needs to be prepared for the apps of tomorrow.

What we’ve built with our Fabric-based SDN architecture, Avaya SDN Fx™, is a futureproof, one-hop solution to that problem. Think of it as the direct, first-class flight to San Francisco.

Say you run into a failure on the network. With our next-generation approach, it’s akin to running into a little turbulence midflight.  The plane doesn’t stop. Instead, it gets dynamically rerouted midflight. No sweat.

We do the exact same thing with our flexible, Fabric-based technology. If there’s a node that needs to be traversed, the network is smart enough to automatically reroute that path.

And speaking of smart, your network intelligently routes traffic. Not all traffic is created equal – business-critical traffic (say, high-definition videoconferencing) gets the quickest route, while non-critical traffic (say, YouTube streaming) gets the slow lane, or can be blocked entirely.

The Avaya-powered, next-generation network is more agile, less complex and less susceptible to hackers.

Here’s why: Every endpoint on your network represents a potential entry point for a hacker. For companies with thousands of static endpoints, reducing the surface area of the network is imperative. With Fabric-based networking, endpoints become flexible, and connections are dynamically extended and retracted. Once the endpoint goes offline, the network closes the connection.

Since your network is no longer structured in a hop-by-hop configuration, it’s harder for hackers to find an “in” to your topology. Portions of your network become fully invisible — just like when you fly over cities and can’t really see them.

Improved agility coupled with increased cybersecurity – with Avaya SDN Fx™, businesses can have the network of tomorrow, today.

Want more? Download the Avaya SDN Expectations report.



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Czech incumbent telco O2 splits into retail and wholesale businesses

The Czech Republic has a small but sophisticated telecom market, with a number of alternative operators offering fixed-line services. The key players, including T-Mobile and Vodafone, have a significant presence in a number of other markets in the region. Competition is growing in all sectors, with alternative operators gaining size and strength through organic growth, and through merger and acquisition activity.

Growth in the Czech Republic’s fixed-line broadband market has slowed in line with higher consumer penetration of services. The sector has more recently seen stronger growth in the cable sector as the key player UPC continues to upgrade its network to provide far faster services than are available with DSL. The migration away from DSL has also been prompted by the expansion of fibre networks, which are being built out by a number of telcos. Fixed wireless broadband remains strong, with penetration among the highest in the EU. Widespread broadband access has laid the foundation for a developing internet society, with a range of online services and activities taking place.

The fixed-line incumbent, now privatised and owned by an investment firm, is facing the increasingly challenging task of stabilising revenue as fixed-line traffic continues to migrate to mobile operators and competing fixed-line operators. In response to these challenges, the operator in June 2015 was split into two separate business units, with O2 CR remaining as a retailer of telecom services and a new unit, CETIN, responsible for the planning, construction and operation of mobile networks, fixed broadband and optical infrastructure, including the wholesale backbone network

Mobile penetration in the Czech Republic is among the highest in Central European nations and is high even by western European levels. With mobile voice markets saturated, the established operators, all owned by major Western European players (now with the exception of O2 CR) have focused on growing revenue by marketing mobile broadband and other value-added services such as mobile content and applications. The country has extensive LTE networks in place, will a growing deployment of LTE-A technology providing services at up to 300Mb/s.

This report provides an overview of the Czech Republic’s telecom sector, covering developments in the market and in the regulatory environment. It provides a range of financial and operating statistics, as well as profiles of the major operators. The report also covers the fixed broadband market, profiling the key players, assessing access platforms and market trends, and delivering a variety of insightful analyses as well as a forecast for broadband take-up to 2020.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Czech Republic – Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media

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Disruption: challenges and opportunities for the telco industry

The Australian telecommunications market is continuing to see consolidation, as traditional services are being further commoditised and digital media companies are offering new communication services, free or at significantly lower cost. Thanks to new video streaming services such as Netflix, and an increased use of mobile broadband for a range of applications, people’s use of broadband has increased; however a squeeze on margins of services such as broadband access doesn’t mean that such increased usage of telecommunications also accounts for any significant increases in industry revenues.

The industry will still need to further transform itself in order to be able to handle the dynamics of the market, which include lower margins, commoditisation, new technologies and competition from outside the traditional market. The new billion dollar companies in the digital media are light on assets and light on staff; and their business models are based on transactions facilitated by their software-based services and done in an automated way by the users of their assets, using algorithms, big data, cloud computing and datacentres.

There are plenty of new opportunities in the market. Now that the quality of broadband access is improving – albeit still rather slowly – new markets are opening up in healthcare, education, government services, smart grids, smart cities, connected homes, wearable technologies, IoT and M2M – the list goes on. Telecommunications companies should take a leadership role in these developments but so far the key developments in these areas come from other organisations. Telstra is an exception here, with the leadership role it plays in the development of the e-health market in Australia.

For the time being, however, cost-cutting, consolidation and mergers will continue to dominate the telco industry. At the same time an ongoing barrage of innovations, new technologies, new apps and new services will shape the telecoms market. It is an extremely dynamic market with lots of twists and turns, set to continue into 2016 and beyond.

Other key topics that are discussed in a newly released BuddeComm report include

National Broadband Network – Developments and Analyses 2015

By mid-2015 over a million premises were able to connect to the NBN – so far most of them have access to the original NBN, three-quarters have access to FttH, the remainder to wireless and satellite networks. The revised rollout of the so-called multi-mix technology (DSL and HFC) will start in earnest in 2016.There still is no long-term plan for when and how to upgrade from the older technologies to proper FttH; however the Opposition has indicated that if it wins the next election it will revive the FttH plan, but will take into account the circumstances that exist at that time.

M2M and The Internet of Things

With the NBN and LTE now well and truly underway it is important to look at what will be the real value of this new infrastructure.

This ‘Internet of Things’ (M2M, Pervasive Internet and Industrial Internet) is going to be a real game-changer. It will transform every single sector of society and the economy and it will be out of this environment that new businesses – and indeed new industries – will be born. This is one of the reasons so many overseas ICT companies are increasing their presence in Australia. The LTE will take a leadership role in the development of M2M but the NBN is also an ideal test-bed for such developments. A great deal of attention is being paid to cloud computing and the NBN can be viewed as one gigantic cloud.

The number of connected M2M devices will grow to somewhere between 25 million and 50 million by 2020.

Big Data

BuddeComm describes ‘big data’ as looking at intelligent outcomes that can be achieved from data collaboration.

The most critical issue here is strategic management, rather than technology. However the fact that big data has become a vital tool in competition is forcing many companies to transform their organisations from a company-centric approach to a customer-centric one.

Connected information management, however, can go much further. There are many other players involved in the broader ecosystem, and by sharing and combining relevant data sets and then analysing those large data sets we can find new correlations that can be used to spot business trends, assess customer behaviour, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on.

Smart Cities, Smart Infrastructure

The development of smart cities and indeed smart countries require vision and recognition of the fact that many of today’s social, economic and sustainability problems can only be solved with the assistance of ICT. In many situations the ubiqueness, affordability, capacity, robustness, security and quality necessary for this calls for fibre optic and high-speed wireless infrastructures. This need will increase dramatically over the next 5 to 10 years as industries and whole sectors (healthcare, energy, transport, water) carry out the process of transforming themselves in order to much better address the challenges ahead.

Cyber Crime, Privacy and Copyright issues

With the internet having become critical national and international infrastructure a whole range of privacy and issues have come to the fore in relation to the digital economy and the digital society.

Some of these issues are in relation to national and international security and tens of billions are spent by governments using the internet as a surveillance tool. This has led to a frenzy of activity by governments to, on the one hand, protect their sovereignty and, on the other, use the internet for their own security activities.

Separate to this are the commercial issues. With internet services becoming pervasive it can be argued, rightly or wrongly, that there are some services that people simply have to have. This is exploited by the companies involved, with requests for a range of highly private data in exchange for the free use of these applications and services.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Australian Telecom Market Analysis – Top Trends moving into 2016

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Wearables Are Here to Stay and They’re Changing Our Relationship with Brands

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They’re finally in stores and on people’s arms. Proud owners seem to gather a crowd of admirers, hanging off their wrists wherever they go, and gossip blogs are wondering which celebs have one. I’m talking about the Apple Watch, of course.

You may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Why on earth have 2.3 million people paid up to $12,000 for an accessory that seemed to be going out of fashion? Certainly my teenage kids haven’t worn a watch for years; they rely on their phones to tell the time.

I think the answer lies in recent history. Put aside images of the gold-plated version of the Apple Watch for a minute and cast your mind back to the heady days of March 2010.

It’s a time pre-iPad. Fireflies, Parachute and Rude Boy were in the charts and the South Africa World Cup was looming. You were probably sitting on your sofa and ‘Googling’, or ‘YouTubing’ on a laptop or even from a desk PC. It seems strange to me now, but that’s how we surfed the net in our free time–and we were quite happy with it.

Yet by May 2010, only one month after they hit the stores, one million iPads had already been sold–that’s half the time it took to sell the same number of first-generation iPhones. And by the summer of last year, just over four years on, we collectively owned 200 million of these devices and they had transformed the way we browse the Internet.

Today, industry analysts believe that the adoption rate of wearables like the Apple Watch, Pebble and FitBit, is faster than that of smartphones and tablets when they were first launched.

What this says to me is that wearables, far from being a dismissible fad, will soon be an intrinsic part of our lives, much as tablets and smartphones already are. And this will bring about a massive change in other parts of our lives, too.

Take customer service for example. Consumer surveys are repeatedly telling us we all want convenience and a seamless experience when it comes to dealing with brands. I believe that wearables have a vital role to play in delivering this.

Here’s how: wearables and other connected objects will channel data on our preferences and consumption habits in an immediate, direct and discreet way. Companies, acting upon this data, will then be able to deliver a personalized service that fits naturally into their customers’ lives. This means that these devices will ultimately enable us to benefit from concierge-level of service.

What is concierge-level service? Well, imagine using video built into a smart watch to interact with your bank and set up new accounts from anywhere; or imagine your smart watch automatically connecting you with the app to pay your parking fine when it reaches the payment deadline; or your smart device beeping to remind you to buy some milk as you walk past your favorite supermarket, (because the device is linked to your fridge and knows you’ve run out).

This sort of holistic engagement where companies can offer customers a tailored, personal experience is what concierge-level service means. By linking different data streams, like GPS and connected object sensors, customer experience software can enable this level of service through the interface of a wearable device.

It’s clear that wearables offer a huge opportunity for consumers to enjoy the kind of service they’ve been demanding for the past few years and for business to fulfil their customers’ desires by offering a genuinely differentiated and personalized customer experience.

And customer service is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impact that wearables will have on our lives.

So the next time you see someone talking into their Apple Watch, don’t dismiss their behavior as odd–these devices will soon be part of all of our lives and we’ll struggle to remember the pre-wearables days when customer service involved several devices and steps.



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