Telecom Trends to Watch in 2011

Three technology trends that bubbled to the surface in 2010 are expected to take more of a center stage position in 2011: cloud and data center virtualization, SIP technology and mobile device management. Each of these growing technology areas offers benefits and challenges that demand businesses find a balance before jumping in with both feet.

 

Cloud and data center virtualization

 

The concept of cloud computing and data center virtualization, until recently embraced primarily by enterprise organizations, is finally reaching midsize organizations that are looking for economical data storage and usage solutions. Cloud computing allows organizations to create and save documents, data and applications using centrally located servers and storage “in the cloud.”

 

Some organizations build their own data centers and virtualize their data and applications from multiple locations. Other organizations use carrier-neutral collocation facilities. Both options can offer a company savings in myriad ways, from facilities costs to hardware and management costs.

 

To attract customers still reeling from the economic free fall, cloud vendors are incrementally leveraging virtualized infrastructures, according to CNET. There’s a basic problem, however, in the cloud computing space: lack of overall guiding standards for networks that support access to cloud facilities. It’s critical that customers thoroughly understand a provider’s ability to work with a legacy infrastructure and provide needed services through a telecom network that can handle the increased traffic created by the cloud setup.

 

Developing a cloud-based approach touches on many parts of an organization’s telecom and IT infrastructure. Because there are so many definitions of what the “cloud” is and how to approach it, there is a great deal of confusion about cloud and cloud services. Customers need to understand not only what data, applications and services they want to be in the cloud, but what providers can realistically offer in terms of network capabilities.

 

Need a good place to start? Talk to Telapprise. We can bring clarity to your cloud project and help ensure you get the services and functionality your business needs.

 

SIP/VoIP technology


If you’re tired of ever-increasing phone bills, you might be looking at Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. Once considered a pie-in-the-sky idea, the idea of digitizing phone calls to reduce connectivity costs and eliminate intra-office call charges is gaining popularity.

 

SIP lets an organization put its voice channels on its IP network so it doesn’t have to pay for voice separately. But VoIP for business isn’t exactly like the Skype or Vonage services that people use to talk to their relatives.

 

A business can get carrier-based or client-based VoiP services that can help it reduce the number of physical connections to its provider network. Instead of having a physical connection for each office location, for example, the business might be able to use a single connection for all its locations; geographically dispersed locations would have calls digitally routed through a connection at a single location, and users would not be aware of any difference in their calling process.

 

However, if the provider’s network isn’t capable of providing both class of service and quality of service functions, users will notice problems in terms of call quality and data transfer rates.

 

Not every carrier offers adequate bandwidth management capabilities, which makes VoIP a bit tricky for business. If you choose a service that isn’t compatible with existing systems, poor call quality can quickly translate into frustrated users. Talking to Telapprise before you start can help you avoid that frustration from the beginning of your project.

 

Mobile device management


Mobile devices are literally everywhere these days — it’s hard to even walk into the corner coffee shop and not hear someone making a quick call or typing a text message into a smart phone. Because smart phones have become commonplace in business, use of smart phones will continue to grow by leaps and bounds, and many businesses consider them indispensable tools for their staff. Now that Verizon has added the Apple iPhone to its offerings, corporate telecom managers will have another technology to add to their growing list of devices.

 

In addition, the coming “tablet war” will significantly increase users’ options for incorporating mobile technology into their work. AT&T and Verizon allow Android tablets to be managed, billed and ordered on corporate accounts. AT&T also allows iPads to be added to corporate management, billing and ordering. All of this means that mobile device users can move from using smart phones to tablets — and benefit from the increased functionality they offer.

 

It’s hard to argue that access to work documents and email anytime, anywhere is a bad thing. After all, it benefits employers to have employees working regardless of location. Plus, with 3G and 4G services rapidly on the rise, employees can work quickly and effectively. The most significant challenge, however, is security.

 

Symantec, a leading anti-virus provider, recently conducted a study asking critical infrastructure providers about their opinion of cyberattacks against their industries. Nearly 50 percent felt they would be attacked. It’s critical, then, that mobile devices be constantly monitored and secured to safeguard not just proprietary information but private user and customer information, too. All it takes is one rogue smart phone or tablet to ruin an organization’s best efforts at compliance.

 

Expert advice


Each of these trends could impact your business in 2011 in a positive way. But each also requires a thorough understanding of how the technology will affect your existing infrastructure and the steps required to make integration work.

 

Most organizations need help determining which technologies and providers are the most appropriate for their business. We can help.

 

Telapprise’s vast telecom experience can ensure that you get the best overall infrastructure solution available to handle the technologies you use today — and those you’ll add to help your business grow. Contact us at  info@telapprise.com