UC Trends in Q1 2015

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

UC Trends in Q1 2015

Just back from the CP Expo in Vegas, I am still catching up and digesting what is in store for 2014 in the Channel and it looks like the Hosted VoIP space. Most noise at the show was around Hosted VoIP.

Two studies out about SMB trends. One from Intermedia.Net late last year is around mobile trends. "68% of mobile device activations in 2014 supported iOS". The study speculates that secure apps is why it is so big. Did they forget how big the Apple fan-boy base is? Android was 26%; Windows at 3%; and Backberry 1%.

The other study was around SMB UC trends conducted by Hanover Research and sponsored by Windstream's Allworx company. The study "found that the top five phone features used most by SMBs are: 3-way calling (60 percent), intercom (42 percent), conference call bridges (41 percent), music on hold (40 percent) and calling other locations using extensions (37 percent)." [ChannelVision mag]

The most telling piece of data: "The vast majority of SMBs are unfamiliar with telecommunications terminology such as IP telephony, hosted PBX, IP PBX, virtual PBX, SIP trunks or Unified Communications." [cnn]

Another data set: Missing the mark with women buyers. "Who's really holding the purse strings?" (this sounds like Tom Peters!). "Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases in the US. And they're making the big decisions--choosing the cars, picking the cable providers, buying the technology, selecting the vacation destinations." [source: glg] [infographic on women buyers]

8x8 is moving upmarket. But then what ITSP doesn't want to sell over 50 seats per deal?

8x8 has invested in the indirect channel and an enterprise sales team to move upstream. It takes time and investment. It works slowly. 8x8 added some fuel to the fire with its latest announcement: 8x8 Helps Mid-Market and Enterprise Organizations Accelerate Their Migration to Cloud Communications With New 'Enterprise Suite' Package. It is a collection of new offerings that includes ""Elite Touch" customer on-boarding and support methodology through implementation" [professional installation] and "application of "Virtual Office Analytics" to improve business processes and outcomes" [analytics - the thing that Panterra added and a reason BSFT bought Leonid - the next buzzword for enterprise, replacing the very tired term, "Big Data".]

Microsoft launched Skype for Business at another show [EC]. It was supposed to scare everyone as Microsoft will now voice-enable their UC&C suite. Doug Mohney writes, "Everyone else in the UC world needs to start to worry if they aren't partnering with Microsoft, because the company is not fooling around."

Not everyone is a Microsoft shop. I have seen Microsoft implement Lync as a PBX; it often goes sideways. Who is going to install all of this SIP capability?

I saw how Skype tried to take over my laptop to Skype enable click-to-call - ick!! Memory suck too. Considering that VZ announced global expansion of its UC&C product - and it is powered by Cisco, I think it safe to say that like everything else this will be noise for a while and things will go back to normal. You still have dropped calls. VoLTE has Caller ID issues. SIP calls are still sketchy 10 years later. I am selling as much TDM as I sell SIP. Main reason for SIP: save money... still... 10 years later. Microsoft doesn't change that.

Doug continues, "Skype for Business means Microsoft is deploying the ability to provide all the IT and phone needs for businesses--a capability that Tier 1 phone providers haven't mastered for the SMB world, and only have done so begrudgingly for the enterprise world. ITSPs need to think long and hard about what happens to their SMB customers when Microsoft starts flooding the market with a one-bill option for services." What it really means: (1) every ITSP needs to have better Positioning (call me!); (2) Execution of implementation is Everything now; (3) Retention; and (4) what do Microsoft Partners do now? With MS billing everything? Again who will install and maintain this? OH! And who will patch all the security holes????????????

Now if they would promise me HD Voice everywhere and FoIP would work due to an truly inter-connected T38 network .... that would be something.

Pretty interesting quote from a struggling ILEC/CLEC: "Communication and collaboration are keys to success in today's always-connected business world. The focus is not only on connecting employees, but also on reaching customers through the most efficient platforms," said Joseph Harding, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Windstream. [source]

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