Last year I wrote an article for Seamless Enterprise titled "Seven 2009 Business Telecom Predictions." It was well received, and now I'm being asked to make my predictions for the new year.
Below I'll make ten predictions for 2010 that will be grouped under five key themes. I'll provide a bit of color for each theme.
1. Businesses accelerate arming the mobile workforce
2. Businesses invest in productivity gains
As the economy continues its slow recovery, many have predicted that it will largely be a jobless recovery. Technology will play a role in this trend. As businesses claw back their cash generation capabilities, they will invest some of that cash into arming a workforce that is increasingly able to make anyplace a workplace. This will include accelerating the distribution of mobile broadband connections (3G and 4G) for workers and deploying Unified Communications to eliminate the concept of "the desk phone" being chained to a specific cube at corporate headquarters. Businesses will also invest in wireless technologies (devices and business applications) that increase worker productivity, enabling more sales, service calls, deliveries, etc. with the same number of employees.
3. Fixed line replacement
4. Irrelevance of 3G single mode
As 4G services become broadly deployed (they are already available for 10% of the population, and will cover 1/3 of the country by year end 2010), businesses will increasingly look to replace existing fixed line data connections for branch offices, ATMs, work sites, etc. with wireless broadband connections. By the end of the year, most businesses will question why they'd ever again buy a 3G-only data device given the broad availability, affordability, and future-positioned dual-mode 3G/4G devices.
5. Businesses broaden their internal deployments
6. Wireless connectivity becomes increasingly popular in consumer electronics
Although businesses have leveraged wireless telemetry solutions for years, the Kindle phenomenon has driven significant new awareness of the machine-to-machine (M2M) opportunities inside businesses and in consumer electronics. This wake-up call has caused smart businesses to consider all the ways they can be more competitive and profitable by integrating wireless connectivity into their core operational assets. Meanwhile, wireless connectivity is enabling entirely new business models in consumer products and services.
7. Applications for businesses
8. Smartphone adoption
Consumer mobile apps for Android and the iPhone may have gotten all the press over the past couple of years, but Seamless Enterprise readers know that business apps are where it's at. Sprint Nextel has been supporting the development of mobile business applications for more than a decade, and leading business apps tend to get developed first on our networks because of the strength of our development program, so this isn't a new idea for us. All the same, we expect that the iPhone/Android/Blackberry/Windows Mobile hype will continue to drive increasing smartphone adoption within businesses, and along with that, the adoption of real value-creating business apps.
9. Mobility built into processes
10. Mobility built into services
We believe that Mobility is having as significant of an impact on how businesses operate and compete as the Internet did in the 1990s and the PC did in the 1980s. In fact "McGuire's Law" says that the value of any product or service increases with it's mobility, and since the cost of building mobility in is dropping, we believe that businesses wll look to build mobility into every service they offer, to create new value for their customers, and to build mobility into every process to increase productivity and reduce costs.
I'd love to hear what you think of these predictions. If I'm anywhere close to being right, it sounds like it will be a busy year. Let us know how we can help!