I'm in Atlanta speaking at the Microcorp One-on-One event about Trends in 2010. The three trends that I see for agents are the following: Applications, Quality of Service (QOS), and Mobile Broadband (MBB). But they are kind of inter-dependent. Ubiquious broadband leads to innovative uses and applications. Applications like on smartphones lead to a greater need for mobile broadband networks.
Mobile Broadband is growing. Smartphones are replacing cellular handsets. Social networks are moving to mobile devices so people can Facebook and Tweet. RIM's Blackberry brought us mobile email, but it is a standard on many phones now. Netbooks and data cards are presenting the US cellular companies with some fits. They like the additional revenue, but have to keep dropping billions on the network backhaul and capacity upgrades. (And another $45B+ on the upgrade to LTE/4G).
All this means that there are new uses for the mobile broadband, like the Kindle. Sprint's Wispernet allows Amazon to instantly download books, magazines, newspapers and blogs to Kindle devices. Machine-to-machine devices can utilize the cellular data network to provide connectivity for ATM machines, security cameras, and a host of other devices that need to communicate with a NOC or remote server.
All of this is a cycle of applications driving network usage. Ubiquious broadband driving more apps. It's one reason that the FCC needs to maintain open network and Net Neutrality guidelines in place.
Applications - like email, databases, office suites, CRM - are creating a demand for managed services, such as an outsourced IT department. In addition, businesses are looking at the Cloud - moving applications to a data center for redundancy, security, and availability - as a way to save money and stop worrying about the IT department. With applications being delivered in the Cloud or by way of SAAS or even Virtualization, Agents have a chance to offer more than just Internet Access or WAN circuits, like private line. Agents can sell Layer 2 to Layer 7 - pipe to apps. It's a way to get deeper into accounts. It's a way to offer a complete solution. It's a way to deliver on the label of Trusted Advisor.
Applications are driving sales. Voice and email are just the primary apps. Business critical data is also driving mobile broadband. Ubiquious broadband is allowing for innovative ways of accessing data. The problem becomes reliable access to the data. That's where Quality of Service comes in. QOS on the WAN is what is needed to access data reliably and quickly. The MPLS trigger is the Class of Service reliability and prioritization of data over the network. This is paramount for businesses running a truly converged network with video, database, VoIP, email and Internet riding the same pipes. WAN Optimization is selling due to the cost containment and the performance enhancement. Big bang for the buck.
So the agents can sell mobile broadband, applications via Virtualization or SAAS, and add QOS to the WAN to provide reliable access to these business critical data.