hSo Predicts Tech Trends for 2006

Integrated communications provider forecasts key trends in IT for 2006, which hSo believes will be another year of little change.

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.

Chris Evans, managing director at hSo, comments: “I believe that corporate IT spending will remain flat in 2006. Major changes are unlikely to happen to the platforms, products or services themselves, but rather in the way they are consumed or accessed by their users. We have already seen a number of organisations deciding that the provision of a homeworking platform with access to central systems and the corporate voice platform is a key advantage. The advantage is not only an increase in productivity but also the ability to allow staff more flexible working, something we believe is and will become even more a significant retention tool.

“Partnering with providers will be a key factor in developing IT platforms, providing scalable and cost-effective managed services that can be integrated into an organisation’s strategic objectives, helping them to stay focused on the day-to-day operation of their business.”

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