Next year many people will start to feel the effect of the Government’s austerity measures. There are likely to be long periods of change and market instability, which present a very different challenge from a few years ago.
For business, despite the obvious difficulties, there are also great opportunities to make major decisions about operational strategy. It’s an opportunity to become smarter, more agile, and better networked: clearly, emerging technology has a major role to play.
We expect converged communications solutions will take a dramatic leap forward. The ICT market in particular is a huge opportunity area for communications companies. Technology is making its way into the cloud and users are becoming savvier and systems more cost effective.
We’ll continue to focus on the M2M market with all the benefits that solutions can bring to businesses. O2 Health, along with O2 Media and O2 Money, will continue to help us create new growth opportunities in 2011. We expect 2011 to be the year that mobile payments finally becomes a reality as the first commercial mobile NFC services are rolled out, driven by a significant increase in the number of contactless readers in circulation.
There will be a blurring of business and consumer IT. Employees will increasingly want to use their personal devices and software at work, and there will be a growing demand for tablets and laptops for personal use.
Technology in the meantime will continue to increase in capability and complexity: for us, in retail, that will mean customers looking for value for money help to get the most from disposable income and technology. Customers will want breadth of access to support and help across platforms. We will increasingly need to explain different operating systems as well as hardware and tariffs.
Sustainability will continue its rise up the agenda. However, with budgets still under ever increasing scrutiny, sustainability in business will only gain traction when boardrooms are given the technology to prove its commercial benefit. We do expect an escalation in demand for technologies and services
that monitor carbon footprint next year, and there is growing consumer interest in our own sustainability practices.