Predictions 2012: Communications turned upside down and IT inside out

It promises to be a topsy-turvy year according to Nokia Siemens country manager Andrew Button

Nokia Siemens country manager Andrew Button - who last year forecast that 2011 would be the year that data pays - suggests that this year network operators will embrace new business models that require partnerships with content providers.

Until now we have managed to carry broadband on the backs of networks designed for voice or pay TV – a kind of upside down broadband. 2012 will see us tipping over into true broadband models based on technologies like FTTH and LTE that were designed from the beginning to carry applications of every kind.

This is the year where the operators will embrace new business models and decide how they can best partner with the content owners and 'over-the-top' providers. For the telecommunication industry players there will be further opportunities such as over-the-top video, and new delivery models for the IT industry. This will importantly also be the time for the security of data, both personal and business, to rise in importance.

Broadband creates big opportunities, but because it enables a new level of modularity it will lead to businesses of every kind becoming either more focused and doing just a few things in areas where they can defend a competitive advantage, or in the proliferation of sub-brands where the end user can tailor the experience to their needs. This is true for suppliers as well as operators.

Just a few years ago IT meant a PC on a corporate network connected to a massive application on big physical computers watched over by a CIO. IT will be turned inside out in 2012 - held in the palm of a customer’s hand and linked into the cloud where their personal photographs or corporate applications are available via mobile broadband and enormous optical transport capacity. This revolution will take many more years to finish , but this is the year where companies will aim to establish sustainable competitive advantages.

Our tips: focus on the customer experience, ensure the customer and corporate data is secure, expect more differentiation through mobile broadband delivery, and have adequate transport capacity for the flood of data.

All of the above also open the world to those who wish to be global suppliers. Now is the time for New Zealand to be creative, to become a net exporter of telecommunications value add. With broadband the tyranny of distance is no longer an excuse.

New Zealand’s communications industry will begin morphing into the new models month by month and will create the platform for innovation. 2012 can and should be a big year for all of us.

* This fortnight Computerworld is featuring a series of opinion pieces by leading ICT professionals in which they look at what's in store for 2012. Tomorrow: Chorus CEO Mark Ratcliffe.

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