The communications game is changing….
Just in case you missed it Microsoft recently announced the availability of voice conferencing for Office 365 in Australia (Click here to view the announcement). This may not seem very important to everyone out there but to me it represents somewhat of a tipping point in the market.
Today the Voice Communications market is dominated by vendors hocking on premise equipment. Tomorrow this will not be the case. The majority of equipment and services will be provided “in the cloud”. Users will plug head sets into PCs and use “Over the top” apps on their mobile phones. The need for dedicated phones is diminishing and where a phone may be needed, such as in a lobby, commodity hardware direct from manufactures is displacing expensive handsets from vendors like Cisco and Avaya.
It is important not to under estimate the implications of these changes on the market and on how the industry works. In particular the impact on smaller vendors and integrators. Large Vendors like Microsoft with Office 365 and Cisco with Spark are looking to take the customer relationships direct. That is partners that where previously able to ‘clip the ticket’ on sales and support are now getting cut out as the big vendors try and strengthen their direct relationships.
Secondly alternate vendors with vastly different business models are also creating waves of change. Slack for example gives large parts of its offering away before allowing enterprises to upgrade to paid offerings over the web. At the same time there are API providers like Twilio that easily enable enterprises to role their own communications and integrate it directly into their business processes.
Whatever happens it will certainly be an interesting few years ahead in the communications industry with many changes coming up both in terms of the technology and the commercial reality in which we all operate.