Increasingly, enterprises are confronting the ramifications of new technology implemented from the “bottom up,” as well as customer-driven demand for features and enhanced communication capabilities. Services delivered “from the cloud” – such as software-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service – will continue to be adopted in 2010 as more organizations seek to reduce operating expenses and more frequently choose “pay as you go” models, according to Mohita Chawla, director of business development at 3CLogic.
3CLogic offers complete and fully hosted call center solutions that keep customers in “sharp focus at all times, powered by the highest quality call center software in the industry to bring the most reliable call center technology anywhere in the world,” according to company officials.
According to Chawla – who is speaking at the ITEXPO East in Miami next month – 2010 will continue to be the year of efficiencies, with mainstream market adoption of HD VoIP as part of conferencing applications predicted to take hold in the latter half of 2010. Rich Tehrani (News - Alert), CEO of TMC, recently sat down with Chawla to discuss what else the future holds. Their exchange follows:
Rich Tehrani: Smartphones continue to rise, find their ways into offices and homes alike. Who will dominate that market and why?
MC: Which smartphone will dominate the market will be determined by multiple feature sets and consumer preferences. Currently the market is dominated by iPhone followed by Android (News - Alert) due to the following set of features they offer to consumers:
1. Web Browsing experience –Whether the smart phone is designed for ease of internet browsing. Android users utilize the Web connection more compared to iPhone users.
2. Apps built on platform – Currently the number of apps built on iPhone is higher than any other Smartphone. iPhone offers greater number of choices both in business and consumer apps. Android offers far fewer applications compared to iPhone.
3. Social Activity - iPhone users are most advanced in social phone activities – photos, emails, blogs, gaming, etc. For any video-specific social activity, Android users have the flexibility of taking video and loading multi-media messages from anywhere on the Web.
While it’s hard to predict the final picture, both iPhone and Android platforms are neck to neck when it comes to using most of the so-called “advanced functions.” Nevertheless, because of right targeting and branding coupled with early market entrance, iPhone remains the market leader for now.
RT: We hear more and more about high-definition voice features in IP communications products and services. What is going to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market? How long will it take?
MC: Early adopters in the enterprise market segment are likely to drive wideband audio and HD VoIP into the mainstream market. Whether the requirement is for HD VoIP for audio/video conferencing or for telepresence, drivers exist today for wideband audio and HD VoIP. We believe we will start seeing mainstream market adoption of HD VoIP as part of conferencing applications in the latter half of 2010.
RT: What’s the most innovative product that’s going to hit the market in 2010, from a company other than your own?
MC: The most innovative product initiative will be Skype for SIP. This will take business Internet communications to a whole new level. Businesses can complement their existing SIP-enabled PBX or phones by integrating Skype for SIP without the need for new hardware or software. Any business can now configure their SIP-enabled PBX to enable Skype calls to be made directly from their desk phones.
RT: We entered 2009 in a recession and now we’re seeing signs of the economy picking up. How did the slow economy affect demand for your products and services and what are you anticipating in 2010?
MC: The global recession is forcing businesses to find ways to reduce their capital and operating expenses without sacrificing performance or service. Even large enterprise customers are making purchase of software-as-a-service a strategic part of their business plan moving forward. CIOs and decision makers are getting more and more comfortable with the notion of services being delivered from the cloud. The recession has forced even large enterprises to rethink their existing models and opt for a “pay as you go” model like the one that 3CLogic offers. We saw the impact of this phenomenon in the latter of 2009 during which 3CLogic saw a nice uptick in revenue. Given these trends, we are very optimistic that 3CLogic is well positioned to leverage the move of enterprise customers to SaaS (News - Alert) and cloud services in 2010.
RT: President Barack Obama has been in office for nearly a year. What has surprised you, whether a pleasant surprise or disappointment, about his presidency, policies and administration?
MC: President Barack Obama has been a pleasant surprise both for his political and economic policies. We see a lot of jobs coming back to this country. What used to be off-shoring is now becoming home-shoring. This has been a blessing for our business and for a lot of SMBs who are in the customer service business. The current administration’s emphasis on building our nation’s infrastructure, including telecommunications, and investing in education can only be good for the future of our country.
RT: If you were president of the United States, what tech-friendly policies would you enact?
MC: If I were the President of the United States I would ensure that broadband Internet connectivity is available in every rural area and remote town. I would offer tax incentives to carriers and service providers to eliminate the “Digital Divide” by offering affordable high speed broadband connectivity. Before the end of my first term in the office, ubiquitous broadband connectivity would boost both the economy as well as the level of education in every part of our nation.
RT: What are some of the areas of market growth in the next few years?
MC: The market will see an exponential growth in SaaS offerings and services that are delivered from the cloud. These services will become increasingly more attractive to both large and small enterprises. As the economy goes through turbulence, there will be tremendous fluctuation in demand. Instead of making long term commitments to purchase software, businesses will opt for SaaS and “pay as you go” models. For example, contact centers will be able to buy the entire suite of call center software as a utility without ever having to worry about hardware acquisition and configuration, software installation and configuration, maintenance, scalability, availability, backups, and recovery.
RT: I understand you are speaking during ITEXPO East 2010 in Miami, to be held Jan. 20 to 22. Talk to us about your session or sessions. Who should attend and why?
MC: My session is titled “Contact Center Technology Trends.” One of the recent trends in contact centers is the adoption of VoIP technology. A lot of people evaluate VoIP products with an intention to save costs. They quickly realize that the real benefits of VoIP are application related. Whether it is linking a VoIP call to customer relationship management database or seamlessly recording VoIP calls for performance measurement, VOIP in contact center gives new power and flexibility that has not been witnessed before. CIOs and contact center managers who want to take the performance of their contact centers to a new level of operational efficiency will benefit greatly from this session. I will be highlighting how our customers are leveraging these new trends to gain competitive advantage.
RT: Please give me one outrageous prediction pertaining to our markets for 2010.
MC: Microsoft (News - Alert) and Google become platform-as-a-Service, or PaaS companies. They move away from creating products and only offer platforms on which developers build applications using open source technology.
Erin Harrison is a senior editor with TMCnet, primarily covering telecom expense management, politics and technology and Web 2.0. She serves as senior editor for TMC's print publications, including "Internet Telephony", "Customer Interaction Solutions", "Unified Communications (News - Alert)" and "NGN" magazines. Erin also oversees production of TMCnet's weekly iPhone e-Newsletter. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison