New research by PGi shows nearly half of mobile-industry respondents rank the smartphone – perhaps not surprisingly – as their chosen device for unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) services in the next few years.
The global report surveyed 333 mobile-industry leaders on UC&C with a focus on mobile usage. The largest segment of respondents included device and network equipment vendors (26 percent), followed by mobile operators (24 percent) and then mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), fixed operators, business service resellers, software developers and mobile specialists (50 percent).
Frank Paterno, PGi’s vice president of global carriers, tells Channel Partners the survey and his company’s own user data continue to “prove that mobility is a standard, professional tool that enables better productivity, more flexibility and powers global, digital workers to get more done from anywhere, at any time.”
“There’s a lot of potential for channel partners to offer value-added UC&C services and grow their revenue base,” he said. “Channel partners must consider a UC&C provider’s mobile features and functionality to ensure they are preparing their clients for the shift to mobile as the preferred access method for collaboration. We’ve known that conferencing is growing via UC and becoming the preferred way for enterprise employees to communicate.”
This projected growth in mobility contrasts with a 70 percent decline in desk-phone use for conference calls in the past five years, according to the report. Some 55 percent of respondents said their desk-phone use for conference calls had declined in the past 12 months.
After the smartphone, the other go-to-devices for UC&C services were the PC/laptop (43 percent), desk phone (9 percent) and tablet (4 percent).
HD audio with background noise suppression is ranked as the most likely feature (43 percent) to encourage greater smartphone use, followed by ease of access (25 percent), enhanced battery life (16 percent) and an improved data plan (12 percent). The top network developments to drive future UC&C on mobile include improved network coverage (33 percent), enhanced call quality (29 percent), faster download speeds (13 percent) and enabling 5G (13 percent).
“By knowing that mobile is now the preferred connection device, channel partners have an opportunity to enable better voice quality for enterprise communications, deliver ubiquity and reliability for enterprise success, and ensure discoverability and ease of use to provide a competitive advantage,” Paterno said.
The findings also show that mobile network operators, or MVNOs, are most expected to drive the use of UC&C services on smartphones during the next five years (38 percent). This contrasts with 37 percent of respondents who consider over-the-top (OTT) application providers to be well positioned in this sector.
Smartphone adoption has grown exponentially, and further strong growth is expected. According to a GSMA Intelligence report, global smartphone connections are expected to rise by 1.9 billion from the end of 2016 to 5.7 billion by 2020.