As we near the end of 2005, leading integrated communications provider, hSo, reviews its predictions for 2005 and forecasts key trends in IT for 2006, which hSo believes will be another year of little change. Looking back three of hSo’s four predictions were correct.
2005 Review – Utility Computing
In 2005 we predicted a move towards ‘utility computing’ as IT departments refocus on business critical applications and processes to handle corporate issues and service levels. The process has started and we believe the pace of the switch to ‘utility computing’ will increase in 2006.
2005 Review – VoIP
Last year we predicted that the VoIP hype will start to become a reality. The Skype purchase by Ebay certainly gave this trend a very public push. More and more companies have taken steps to put in place a strategy for the transition to VoIP but it is merely a strategy with no large sums of money being invested to make the change.
2005 Review – Data Storage
On the data side, hSo predicted that Storage Area Networks (SANs) would continue to grow with iSCSI gaining significant traction. There were early signs of this but not to the extent we predicted. Due to the cost and skills required, we now believe that this is more likely to progress through the “Utility Computing” model.
2005 Review – Consolidation
hSo predicted that the telecommunications sector would witness further consolidation in the first half of 2005, as the sector begins to witness greater levels of stability. There has been significant acquisition activity across all elements of the sector the biggest of which was Energis succumbing to Cable & Wireless. We also predicted that this activity would act as a prelude to a rash of IPOs. There have been a number of smaller IPOs but nothing really to write home about.
2006 Predictions – Utility Computing
The pace of the switch to ‘utility computing’ will increase in 2006. IT platforms and functions will be outsourced to managed service providers, across a wide range of sectors, and at every level – from SMEs to large corporates. The Utility model will follow the software-as-a-service trend – as medium and large companies look for more resilient & scalable platforms to increasingly run their business wherever possible on a pay per use basis. We believe that the biggest growth areas will be in the data storage and back-up arenas.
2006 Predictions – System Availability
In 2005, although we saw fewer of the big virus, Trojan and worm attacks, there was an increase in the number of attacks that took place. The July bombings in London also had a significant impact on the ability of companies to keep operating. In 2006 we expect to see a much greater emphasis on the protection of corporate data and WANs with money being spent to ensure continuity of service. We expect more organisations to push their IT infrastructure into datacentres and provide more resilient and flexible working – including homeworking solutions.
2006 Predictions – Convergence and Consolidation
BT 21CN is giving added impetus to the convergence of voice and data services. Those companies offering a single service either traditional voice or ISP/data service, will have to develop a converged platform and develop new converged services to survive. Companies like hSo with a converged offering will be in a position to meet the customers’ increased demand for converged services. hSo predicts that the recent consolidation within the telecommunications sector will continue in 2006 as single service providers realise that the quickest way to develop and offer new services is to acquire – or be acquired.
2006 Predictions – Finally a good reason to VoIP…….
We believe that the trend will advance only as IP PABXs replace legacy PABXs and as the pressure for homeworking solutions increases. The use of VoIP in homeworking solutions will significantly increase the take up of VoIP enabled platforms, but the voice traffic will still be offloaded to the traditional PSTN until corporate use of applications like voicemail, conferencing and unified messaging become commonplace and the carriers offer SIP interconnect.