C-level briefing: Orange Business Services Head of International Business explains why managed services and convergence will be the norm.
2015 saw tentative steps towards a world in which businesses offer ubiquitous connectivity to their employees through convergence and VoIP.
According to Helmut Reisinger, head of international business for Orange Business Services (OBS), the new year will see both technical and other obstacles towards this world being surmounted.
"There is a big theme of convergence in terms of fixed and mobile coming together.
"On convergence, you will see the convergence that needs to happen on the networks, the technical convergence. In 2016 you will see it from a user side as well. The consumer will want the choice between different types of connectivity.
"I think we will also see voice consolidation projects: typically still legacy old TDM, classical voice infrastructure such as a PBx, they are managed locally."
While there has been a stigma attached to IP voice, this is on the way out, according to Reisinger.
"B2B CIOs are more hesitant to go to the internet because of concerns about security and that the internet does not give you quality of service.
"We as consumers experience Skype, which runs over the internet. Is it always fantastic? Yes and no."
Increasingly, then, Reisinger suggests that we will see better products, with his company’s own Business Talk Global offering what he calls "Skype-type rates at a carrier grade service."
"We build session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking into that which ensures that everything is collected and optimised in terms of IP.
"On top you build your unified communications infrastructure in a given site. That needs to have the wi-fi situation in there. It is converging into one platform.
In addition, workloads will be spread more across different clients and devices.
"We see both worlds proving to be true: the Cisco world technology-wise, the desktop world of Microsoft," Reisinger says.
"Ideally everybody looks for integration into the different devices; it could be mobile, or either a Microsoft Lync client on this or a Cisco client. People want to work in different environments."
As well as the technical side, the business models of business communications is set for a rethink, with managed services becoming the norm.
"In terms of purchasing behaviour, there will be more demand to purchase things as a managed service. They don’t want to buy and to run it with their own staff.
"In Australia, Cricket Australia wanted to have a complete cloud platform. Cricket is up and down depending on usage. For them, cloud makes perfect sense."
In a twist on a familiar saying, Reisinger adds:
"Our CIO from the European Space Agency said: ‘we want to have our people focused on rocket science and not fiddle around with IT questions.’"
Added to this is the less concentrated geography of these services.
"What is clearly there is the trend to have it as a managed service, ideally not only in the UK, not only in Glasgow, London or Manchester; they want to have it also in Brazil or South Africa."
"I think as well we will see more of a trend towards globalising solutions, meaning having uniform infrastructures in place.
"Businesses are moving with a high degree of agility and therefore having one global network provider simplifies the life of the CIOs."