Legacy systems and ignorance in Irish businesses telecoms usage
13 February 2014 | 0
Despite recent advances in telecoms services in Ireland, new research from Blueface has shown that legacy usage and lack of understanding of new technologies persist among Irish businesses.
A survey carried out in the first half of 2013 among more than 200 Irish businesses found that nearly three quarters (70%) of Irish businesses do not use a fax anymore, but yet 44.7% admitted to having a fax line. Nearly two thirds of respondents said that their monthly telephony bill included a line rental charge, indicating, said the survey report author Janelle Eagleton of Blueface, the continuing use of “legacy copper wire technology.”
Furthermore, with regard to unified communications (UC), the survey found a low level of adoption, with a high degree of ignorance of its capabilities. While more than a quarter (27.1%) of respondents said that they are interested in deploying UC technology, a fifth said they had no such plans, while 15.5% confessed to not knowing what unified communications were.
“This area [UC] gave us the highest rates of ‘don’t knows’ in the whole survey, admitted Eagleton.
Alan Foy, chief executive, Blueface, admitted that this is a failing among telecoms providers and technology vendors in educating businesses as to the benefits of UC technologies.
Fixed and mobile convergence, a major trend some years ago, seems not to have penetrated too far into the Irish market either as the survey reports that less than 10% already have a unified bill, while nearly two thirds (60%) said it would be useful for the business to have unified billing.
The survey revealed a good picture of broadband availability across the country, showing that 30% of respondents were using DSL technologies, with a quarter using wireless services, 15% on cable, 17% on fibre and less than 2% using satellite. A relatively small 3.6% were using mobile services for broadband.
A somewhat worrying 8.8% didn’t know what their business was using, but this may reflect the fact that majority of respondents were on the small end of the SME scale with less than 10 employees, however, it does not necessarily attest to the sophistication of the respondents as more than a quarter (26.7%) have an international presence.
One key metric that emerged was that nearly three quarters (73.2%) of Irish businesses are looking for ways to reduce mobile phone bills.
The ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) trend was clearly visible in the survey results, as 59.5% said they use their own mobile device for work. However, 40.5% responded that all mobile devices used for work were company supplied. A third of respondents said that the primary use of the business mobile was for data, with 64.8% indicating that voice calling was the primary use.
Blueface also issued a number of predictions for the telecoms market. Foy said that there would be 16 million internet connected devices in Ireland by 2020, referring to the rise of intelligent devices particularly, for the Internet of Things (IoT).
“Next generation LTE/4G networks will enable a whole new era of device inter-connectedness in Irish businesses,” said Foy. “Our report forecasts that 16 million devices in Ireland will be connected to the ‘Internet of Things’ by 2020. Furthermore, we forecast that the mobile device will replace the PC and Laptop as the central business tool by 2025.
“Our research team found that over 75,000 Irish companies will have adopted hosted voice solutions by 2020 and moved their on-site infrastructure to the cloud. From our research, it is evident that the majority of Irish businesses are not satisfied with their current landline and mobile telephony costs and want offerings that boost their business’ ICT functionality.”
Foy said that rather than any single device or ecosystem winning the mobility war, in future, it will be about personalisation, interoperability and the software and service layer behind the devices that will be the differentiator. “Open-interconnectedness, partnerships and collaboration will become the strategy of choice for providers,” says the report.
Foy also made the prediction that businesses will move to simplify, unify and “cloudify” their ICT solutions and services.
“The ICT companies that are delivery mechanism agnostic, are innovative and have open design at their core, will win out,” insists the report. “ICT companies need to purposefully build interoperability between services, solutions and data end points for customers. Design focused interoperability and change processes underpin the rationale to cloudify.”
The full report is available on the Blueface site.