Joyn: Next-Generation Business Communications

Deutsche Telekom launched the joyn messaging service in Germany today. It is hardly the first carrier to do so; Telefonica, Vodafone, MetroPCS, and SK Telecom have already launched such services. But Deutsche Telekom’s launch gives me the chance to point to an opportunity for joyn that has not been talked about a lot so far.

Rich communication services (RCS), which is marketed as joyn, is a joint-service initiative between carriers and handset manufacturers that empowers people to combine ways to be in touch with contacts in their address book: talking, chatting, and sharing videos, photos, and files. For the most part, joyn is aimed at consumers. Joyn is usually seen as a carrier response to counter the threat to traditional revenues from OTT providers like WhatsApp. I believe, however, that the real potential for joyn is in the business arena. Joyn is hardly going to generate any direct revenues for carriers. It’s the potential of joyn as a platform for interactive social engagement that is more interesting:

  • Businesses confront a major shift in communication behavior. Businesses are dealing with the impact of changing systems of engagement and the implication of mobility and big data in the business environment. Social media services, including chat, video sharing, and file exchange, are experiencing rapid uptake. But these emerging systems of engagement depend on an underlying communications infrastructure. The successful CIO will embrace the trend of interactive social engagement and turn it into a competitive advantage for his business.
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Impressions From Mobile World Congress 2013: Emphasize Usage Scenarios To Retain Relevancy

 

In light of my expectations (http://goo.gl/ZIU9d), Mobile World Congress contained few real surprises this year. This is not to say that MWC was boring: It provided valuable insights into the state of the mobile market from an enterprise perspective:

  • No single theme dominated. However, it felt as if everybody was talking about some combination of cloud, mobility, and big data. Many providers and vendors added the theme of customer experience to the mix and seasoned it with many acronyms. Unfortunately, in most cases this was not enough to trigger real excitement. The lack of a single new hot trend indicates that the mobile industry is maturing. Mobility has arrived center stage.
  • Most vendors are addressing consumerization only in the context of BYOD. In my view, BYOD is only one aspect of consumerization. I believe we will see the broader impact of consumerization in the near future. Consumers increasingly expect to work in a manner reflecting communication methods that are familiar in the context of friends and family. Also, consumers are increasingly asking to work when and where they want. Although some companies, including Yahoo (good luck!), are reintroducing the traditional concept of "the team works in the office," the overall trend is toward a more fragmented and consumerized working environment. In turn, this offers potential for mobile workplace solutions.
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From An Enterprise Perspective, Mobile World Congress 2013 Will Focus More On Solutions

As an analyst who focuses on the future of communications and the implications for business, I will travel to Mobile World Congress (MWC) with several expectations:

  • There will be a greater focus on business solutions, not just hardware and software exhibits. OK, in many respects, this is probably more of a hope of mine than an expectation. MWC visitors will still encounter hall after hall of software and hardware. Still, I expect many exhibitors, including device players like Samsung, to show a growing awareness by focusing more on actual end user business needs, including a vertical perspective.
  • Consumerization as a focus area is just heating up. The information workforce is fragmenting. Information workers will increasingly expect to work in a flexible framework. Forrester’s research highlights significant differences in communication and collaboration behavior between age groups. Social media — the communication channel of choice for those now entering the workforce — brings big challenges for businesses in the areas of procurement, compliance, human resources, and IT. However, I expect these themes to be addressed mostly superficially at MWC.
  • The merger of big data, mobility, and cloud computing is recognised as a large business opportunity. Mobility by itself only scratches the surface of the opportunities in areas like customer interaction, go-to-market dynamics, charging, and product development, which are emerging in combination with big data and cloud computing. I expect providers like SAP to touch on several aspects of this trend. The momentum is supported by the trend toward software-defined networking.
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Google Pays Orange To Carry Video Traffic

Orange’s CEO mentioned during a business show on French TV that Orange is receiving money from Google for transmitting Google’s traffic (most of which stems from YouTube). No details about the financial arrangement of the year-old deal were disclosed.

Given the well-known explosion in data traffic, carriers must invest a significant amount in their network infrastructure to support this traffic. See the Forrester report, “The Future Of Telecom: Strategies To Move Off The Endangered Species List,” for more information. For years, carriers have argued that online service providers (OSPs) like Google should pay for using the carrier network infrastructure.

So, does the Orange-Google deal mean that Orange has won a true victory and that the balance of power between carriers and OSPs is restored? Does the deal really address the challenges of the carrier world? Hardly.

  • Carriers rely on video content that drives demand for high broadband connectivity. Moreover, consumers already pay the carriers for their broadband connectivity. In my opinion, there is a valid argument that those end users who want high-quality video should be able to have it at extra cost. But this extra fee could be paid directly to the carrier in the form of a high-end broadband connection fee. Alternatively, the carrier could offer wholesale connectivity to OSPs, allowing the OSPs to offer content that comes with embedded high-quality connectivity.
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Cisco's message is getting clearer

 

At the Cisco Live EMEAR 2013 event in London, Cisco brought a new down-to-earth dynamism to the table. The vision for how Cisco is intending to empower its clients in an evermore connected world is becoming clearer. In this blog, Forrester analysts Dan Bieler and Peter O’Neill discuss their take-home messages from the event:

Hosted Collaboration Solution is empowering its high-end channel partners.

Dan. HCS, Cisco’s hosted collaboration suite, allows carriers to offer cloud-based as-a-service solutions, comprising unified communications, telepresence, contact centre, as well as a range of communication features under the Jabber brand. In EMEAR, BT, Telefonica, and Vodafone are already selling HCS, primarily aiming it at MNC customers. It remains to be seen whether the HCS pitch is the right one for smaller carriers and SMBs, especially as Cisco remains committed to catering to SMBs.

Peter. They also need to think about being more attractive to the needs of midmarket system integrators and MSPs. That means they must provide different price configurations that are attractive to SMBs. Positioning themselves only to the national telcos is quite restrictive and doesn’t match the increasing demand we are seeing for these solutions across the market. But, of course, if they want to compete in the SMB segment, they’ll compete with Google and Microsoft and their pricing strategies. The best way to run two pricing strategies is to use two brands.

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Life For European Telecom Carriers Will Not Get Any Easier In 2013

with Thomas Husson

At the beginning of this year, I took the time to sit down with my colleague Thomas Husson, vice president and principal analyst on Forrester's consumer product strategy team and a specialist in the telecom space, to discuss the top trends that will affect the European telco landscape this year.

Although we believe that the business/consumer split is increasingly vanishing, we decided to split the top 10 carrier themes that will matter in the European telco market in 2013 by enterprise and consumer perspectives.

In the enterprise segment, we see five main themes:

  • Over-the-top (OTT) and app-based communication services will become part of the IT landscape. OTT voice, social media, and messaging will spread in the enterprise space at the expense of traditional services. Our research shows that professional workers who travel are the most likely to embrace application-based communication services, often irrespective of what their company’s official IT policy is. Still, 2013 will not be the year (yet) that sees rich communication suites (RCSes) becoming a B2B2C communications platform.
  • Cloud-based enterprise services by carriers will see increasing interest from businesses. Communication-as-a-service will receive increased attention by CIOs as they plan unified communications and collaboration (UCC) projects. However, as our research shows, carriers will not be perceived as the top choice of providers for cloud-based services. Mobile device management firms like AirWatch and MobileIron will offer reselling opportunities for carriers but limit the carriers’ ability to add value around device and app store management. Business models for cloud-based data analytics of end user demand will grow in importance in 2013 but will only begin to materialize on a larger scale in 2014.
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Internet Escapes Tighter Governmental Controls — For Now

Dan Bieler, Enza Iannopollo

Boring as it may appear, the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), which just took place in Dubai under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), matters to all Internet users globally. To us, the three most important questions that were discussed are:

  • Should national governments have greater influence over the global regulation of the Internet?
  • Should over-the-top providers (OTTs) like Google and business networks be governed by international telecom regulations?
  • Should the underlying business model of the Internet change from a free and neutral exchange of data to a “sender pays” model?
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Speed-Based Pricing Points The Way For Carriers To Respond To OTT Attacks On Communication Services

 

This summer Switzerland’s incumbent carrier, Swisscom, launched a simple but revolutionary new mobile tariff, Natel Infinity. Infinity is a speed-based tariff that comes in the versions XS, S, M, L, and XL, which represent download speeds ranging from 200 kbit/s to 100 Mbit/s. Prices range from CHF59 to CHF169 per month (€49 to €139). Significantly, the tariff throws in unlimited national voice, SMS messaging services, and data usage without any additional charge (XL even comes with unlimited international calls to most destinations and SMS).

The idea is simple: The greater your urge for fast mobile services, the more you pay — irrespective of which apps you use and how you wish to communicate. All that matters is speed. In this respect, Swisscom has replicated for the mobile world a tariff approach that is already fairly common in the fixed-line world. I believe this move by Swisscom is noteworthy in two respects:

  • It effectively pulls the rug from under the OTT voice and messaging services like WhatsApp and Tango by removing the arbitrage potential created by time- or distance-based pricing schemes.
  • It brings in line capital spending on and actual demand for network infrastructure capacity.
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Ericsson's Biggest Challenge Is Complacency

At its recent analyst event, Ericsson outlined its strategy, product, and service ambitions. Ericsson remains the overall benchmark for network infrastructure vendors. The company has a leading market position in the growth segments of mobile broadband and network services and delivers a solid financial performance — despite the disappointing Q3 2012 results. Still, in my view, Ericsson has several challenges that it needs to address:

·         The cloud strategy is built on a questionable assumption.Clearly network infrastructure is becoming more, not less, important for cloud-based solutions. Ericsson therefore assumes that carriers are well positioned to be cloud providers. But CIO perceptions suggest otherwise. CIOs tell us that carriers are far from the preferred choice for cloud-solutions (see Figure 9 in the “Prepare For The Connected Enterprise Now” Forrester report). Carriers therefore need help in addressing the potential of cloud computing. For instance, Ericsson’s cloud solutions ought to help carriers cooperate with cloud partners regarding embedded connectivity in devices and applications.

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Huawei Reaches The Next Stepping Stone In Its European Market Activities

During Huawei’s 2012 EMEA Analyst Event in Amsterdam, Huawei emphasised once again its commitment to Europe and its dedication to innovation. With sales of $3.8bn, 7,300 staff, around 800 of which are in R&D, and 10 R&D centres in Europe, Huawei has positioned itself as a leading provider of network infrastructure in the region. The main themes that we picked up during the event are:

  • Its carrier activities are increasingly dominated by software. Huawei emphasises the role if IT and software as a core focus area of its carrier network infrastructure activities, which still account for 74% of sales, going forward. Softcom, Huawei’s strategy to drive software defined networking and to move towards a flatter network architecture, is central to this transformation. By 2017, Huawei aims to generate around 40% of its network infrastructure revenues from software-related activities. The central goal of Softcom is to decouple applications from hardware in the network infrastructure and to integrate multiple operating systems into one cloud-based operating system. To succeed, Huawei needs to attract top IT expertise. Its partnerships with leading universities and research organisations like Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft go some way.
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