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Mobile IT - commodity or value add?

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The problem for business users is how many contracts are necessary to ensure connectivity in any location with GPRS, 3G, and various Wi-Fi providers? This causes complexity for the user, and a lack of overall cost transparency for the finance department. More consistency and simplicity would be welcome.

VoIP has also benefited from consumer adoption, seizing on zero cost, long distance calls, and the access to home broadband. Its patchy or unpredictable quality of service may be acceptable for consumers getting free calls, but is an issue that business users pay to resolve, through infrastructure investment or outsourcing to a specialist. Also, despite the headline potential for cost savings, there are integration challenges with the organisation's existing phone system.

However, Quocirca's most recent survey shows a strong appetite for VoIP in large organisations across Europe, with around a third already active in VoIP deployment.

As with Wi-Fi, much of this will be due to the perceived cost savings, whether real or elusive, but VoIP offers opportunities for new services to make communications more efficient.

Some are sophisticated multimedia collaborative applications that go beyond voice, others may just make trying to reach someone on the phone more straightforward. For most calls that means incorporating the mobile phone into the equation, as part of the dial plan or office extension list.

So, businesses are looking to new technologies to keep ongoing costs down, and still need to simplify the integration of the various methods of communication – cellular, wireless, fixed – in order to make it easier to manage and life easier for employees?

Sounds like an opportunity for operators to add value and perhaps avoid becoming a bit pipe, but it will require them to step up to the mark and offer integrated services.

It will also need businesses to tell their telecoms suppliers exactly what they need overall from their telecommunications, and getting their suppliers to address the total solution, not just one isolated part. If operators can't get to grips with this challenge, there are other integrators and aggregators who will.

To find out more about Quocirca's recent study, the report "Commodity or Value add" is available for download from the company's website. ®

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