MDSL’S Top 10 Telecom Trends For 2014

Top Trend 1
If it can happen to Apple (twice) how can mere mortals prevent it? Our first prediction for 2014 will not be a great surprise. Given the inability of many users to follow the fairly simple rules of security for PCs and locked-down corporate devices, it will only be a short time until a major security breach occurs, probably as a result of mismanaged Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, and a lost mobile or tablet results in a major security breach and loss of reputation for a major brand.

By 2017, 70% mobile professionals will conduct work on personal, smart, mobile devices and that figure is being reached rapidly.

By 2018, 25% of all corporate data traffic will bypass perimeter security, this is up from 4% today, and will flow directly from mobile devices to the cloud. BYOD, has led to organisations adopting complex device management solutions, however, all have inconsistent policies and all are prone to misconfiguration and misuse. The stage for a major security breach in a large corporate or government agency has been well and truly set. The fact that Government is not yet so well-developed in the BYOD field points to the private sector being the first to fall at this hurdle.

Top Trend 2
International Managed Mobility will grow in Importance in 2014. The rise in the number of executives and employees travelling with mobile devices and the growth in international business, as country-boundaries become less and less important, means that mobile use will expand internationally in parallel. The need for world-wide Managed Mobility Services (MMS) in the arenas of: procurement, help desks, logistics, MDM software and services, wireless inventory and expenses management is set to rapidly expand in 2014.

Next year will see partnerships becoming increasingly important key in delivering these services. MDSL is seeing more requests for these MMS services and has partnered with an organisation called GEMA to help provide its clients with them.

Top Trend 3
Roaming charges are here to stay. However, more reasonable roaming rates will invite more usage and less scrutiny. Corporate travellers have become very careful people where roaming charges are concerned — making sure that they switch off their phones when not in use and are checking data charges carefully to ensure that applications do not run up charges without their knowledge when they hop across Europe.

As new European Union (EU) legislation aimed at curtailing roaming charges begins to bite, the cost of roaming will begin to come down. Despite price caps and more competitive offerings this is a trend for 2014.

Carriers are beginning to offer unlimited data roaming and other more cost-effective plans which will be emulated. The EU is seeking to abolish incoming roaming charges and cap other roaming fees by July 2014. This will force carriers to respond with more competitive roaming deals for businesses. At the same time smartphone proliferation will continue to drive data usage and more reasonable roaming rates will invite more usage and less scrutiny. Bill-shock will become less of a problem in most corporates as they adopt this technology. It will remain for the rest!

Top Trend 4
Real-time usage monitoring will become a new reality which will become a more frequently requested service which will lead to the emergence of niche providers.

Bill-shock is still a problem to many organisations and there is never more than a few weeks between major bill-shock stories at the moment. Companies are still surprised by the cost of roaming, excess and data charges and fees for devices and expensive phone lines which are not turned off despite the fact they are not being used. More and more companies are therefore coming to the conclusion that monitoring and making decisions upon that monitoring in real-time is vital. This means that the problem is dealt with when it arises and not months later when a massive bill, which could have been avoided, has to be paid.

Real-time monitoring becomes of concrete use for the monitoring of mobile applications as well as devices. Roaming costs remain an issue but domestic telephone costs are also an issue, especially for companies which use multiple carriers.

MDM has some limitations, for example it can provide roaming but usually not usage. Other apps and services are coming to market to provide this.

Top Trend 5
Expect a Major BYOD privacy legal case in 2014
Many of the trickier issues which BYOD is beginning to raise will, in our opinion, only be resolved through the courts. This development is likely in an area where the norms of corporate privacy have been disrupted catastrophically by the huge data breaches of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. No matter what we think of them they have posed us major problems - who is to blame when personal data leaks and causes damage to the individual?

Companies are only now beginning to deal with security concerns and the privacy issues are less well understood: For example; If an employee owns the device, what rights does the employer have and are those rights waved since the employer is paying for the carrier plan on the device?

The recent Fiberlink/Harris survey indicted 80% employees worry about privacy of their data on mobile corporate devices. There is clearly an understandable concern about employee location tracking; employee application tracking and employee web-site browsing examination.

There is a real tension between security and employee privacy which has not yet been dealt with.

Is signing an online waiver sufficient to indemnify all parties? Do employees understand the detail of what they are signing when they sign a waiver? Does the company understand its duties to keep employee information safe? Different countries have different legislation and existing legislation is under review in the area of US consumer rights on browsing history while the EU is considering tougher data protection rules. So we are going to see many happy lawyers in 2014 who are going to make some nice fat fees during the year as these issues are clarified.

Top Trend 6
BYOD usage – Who Pays?
As costs rise we will see pressure coming from employees and employers in a tussle about who is bearing the brunt of the costs of BYOD.
The BYOD genie is out of the bottle and will not be re-bottled. One of the simple reasons is that employees don’t want to carry around two phones. Will corporate-liability make a come-back?

BYOD privacy and security issues will continue to be tricky issues. But, equally, corporate- liability is not disappearing.; In 2014 separating business and personal usage will become a bigger issue. Once security and application management issues are addressed BYOD will be with us forever.

The current simple solutions which companies use (stipend, expense reports, one side pays for all) will migrate to more accurate division of costs during the year based on monitoring of actual usage.

As costs rise, driven by data usage and text usage, pressure will come from both sides (employees and employers) that they are bearing more than their fair share and conflict will arise.

Top Trend 7
Intuitive Software will start to Take Over
Customers want more flexibility in how they use their siftware once it has been deployed. Rather than having to re-engineer solutions as soon as they go live TEM providers will have to tailor their offerings to be intuitive. This is difficult since needs vary widely by region, division by division. Therefore only the TEM providers who have solutions which are tailored to be intuitive will be efficient and competitive.

More and more users of TEM solutions will start to use their own tools. This makes TEM users more sophisticated. With more customers running their own TEM “Host & Load” will be growing popularity in 2014.

Top Trend 8
Machine2Machine A ‘Brave New World’ of connectivity gets a boost in 2014
When we realise that M2M growth rates are estimated to be in the region of 40% year-on-year we start to realise the affects that it will have on all of us. M2M will continue to grow in 2014. The continued increase in the number of connected devices worldwide continues to rise rapidly with M2M connections making up an increasing proportion of the total. M2M is driven by the need for efficiency through automation, the desire to offer new functionality for existing systems and the development of new technologies. All of this is central to the importance of Return on Investment (ROI) on all business technology.

IT services in support of M2M show a predicted 23% CAGR 2013-16. M2M functions in many different environments with many different types of connectivity including; periodic, permanent, static and mobile. M2M has to be robust - for the first time in vital telecommunications infrastructures many millions of M2M devices will be installed in mission-critical systems, volumes will be huge, the failure of any such system could lead to outages in major public and private installations. Automated meter readings are one deployment for example.

For M2M to be successful cost and logistics of connectivity must be stable and agreed. This will begin to mature in 2014 as CSPs and network operators work out cost models. Reliability is also a worry as many of these devices will be in essential services. Partnerships between carriers and manufacturers will begin to mature and the fragmentation of the supply chain between, middleware, IT support and industry specialists will begin to fuse.

Top Trend 9
Telecom Management Challenges Take to the Cloud
Some of the more traditional telecommunications challenges will move to the cloud as more established heavyweight players make private clouds more secure and safe for corporates. On the conferencing side more innovation is drawing more users in.

Businesses are doing more and more work through mobile and cloud-based technologies, creating new management challenges. The number of application vendors and end user access points are far greater than the number of telecom vendors and circuits. Companies need to start applying the same thought processes which they utilised in bringing TEM to bear on these new cloud technologies or they will merely be introducing new costs to the business instead of managing existing costs. Without management the cloud could cost them dearly because their utilization and billing in the cloud is not well understood by them.

Top Trend 10
Resistance is futile – Merger & Acquisition (M&A) activities will grow in 2014
There is going to be a massive increase in M&A activity in 2014. Integrators and ERP vendors have continued to acquire firms during the course of 2013 but that trend will snowball. IBM bought Fibrelink then Oracle bought Bitser - a company which is only 999 days old. Citrix bought Zenprise then SAP bought Ofaria . There are very few MDM companies left. All the noise around BYOD is to blame - MDM vendors continue to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about security to great effect - corporates are always susceptible to a security scare. There will be big BYOD management consulting opportunities to make money in 2014.

Companies such as CSC, Accenture and Cognisent will be looking to swallow smaller MDM and BYOD players. M2M, Internet of Things and OTT vendors will also play the M&A game. Many smaller companies will also spring up ready-made by entrepreneurs ready-to-sell.
There will be changes ahead for CSPs, too: 3 is ready to prise O2 from Telefonica’s grip in the UK; Orange to merge with Deutsche Telekom; T-Mobile to be bought with Dish Network dosh; BT will grow in Asia, Middle East and Africa heavily in 2014. There will be fewer vendors in larger ‘clumps’ next year. From the consumer’s point of view this may shrink choice. We’ll report back on that next year!

Comments are closed.

Telecommunications | Voice | Data | Networking | Support