We’re going to power the UK economic recovery
Ronan Dunne CEO, O2
The growth of digital services in 2014 will offer a real opportunity to drive the on-going economic recovery in the UK. 4G is transforming the way we connect with people and will increasingly be the catalyst for significant corporate and social change with mobile at the heart of everything. And it won’t just be in the consumer and business markets. The use of mobile technology holds the key to help the public sector make significant savings – whether through policies and devices to empower staff to work more flexibly, or mobile services to make it easier for central and local Government to effectively engage with communities. Entrepreneurs, SMEs and start-ups will also be part of this recovery and I believe it’s crucial that we help drive a culture of ‘democratic innovation’ by supporting what could be the next big thing.In 2014 I expect the UK to become the most 4G-enabled country in Europe. This is testament not only to the level of investment the industry is undertaking in the UK’s critical digital infrastructure but to the skills and endeavor of people working in the industry.
M2M and wearable tech will be everywhere
Olaf Swantee CEO, EE
In 2014, we will see the Internet-of-Things begin its move from concept to consumables, with everything from handbags to home-wares getting their own technological identity, and getting connected. The foundation of the Internet-of-Things is machine-to-machine communications and we are already seeing how this technology is coming of age and blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds.Add superfast connectivity, and the smart future becomes a reality. From smartphones to electricity meters, from urban traffic systems and cars to sensors on all kinds of things from cattle to kettles, a wealth of data can be transmitted back and forth in real-time, enhancing our personal lives and enabling businesses to boost productivity and make better-informed smarter decisions.We will see almost ubiquitous superfast connectivity - mobile, fibre optic, fixed line and Wi-Fi - continue to transform and change our leisure time, the working environment, consumer activity and the way we live and work.From glasses to brooches, rings to wristbands, we’ll be pinning our technology to our very selves, making us more connected, and more integrated with networks and the world around us. Smart Watches are nothing new - they’ve been around for decades. The question is, is the time right when connectivity, technology, and form factor collide and create enough of a force of innovation and excitement that consumers finally embrace it?
This is the year we will dip into our mobile wallets
Jeroen Hoencamp CEO, Vodafone
In 2014 many consumers will leave their cards and coins at home and manage their daily transactions efficiently and securely using their smartphone. It will signal the beginning of the end of the traditional wallet as smartphones become a very personal device requiring personalised offerings. 2014 should also see the government finally give the go ahead for the use of wireless to bring superfast broadband to rural communities, connecting the final 10% of the country using mobile. 2014 will see the content revolution continue as 4G enables consumers to get the most out of their mobile devices. In enterprise, 2014 will be the year of total communications with companies looking for one communications partner rather than numerous suppliers. While 2013 saw the launch of a competitive 4G marketplace, 2014 will see the explosion of enterprise applications, taking advantage of increased network investment and 4G. These applications will increasingly focus on mobilising the UK workforce and you will see companies move from managing their employees by output rather than proximity.
Difficult for retailers as operators go it alone
David Dyson CEO, Three
Despite 4G now being in market for over 12 months and the massive capital and advertising spend that sits behind it, there has been no obvious impact on customer behaviour compared to 3G, nor bottom line profitability for the industry. 4G, like 3G, will take time to evolve and I predict a steady evolution in 2014 rather than the revolution that is often expected.Setting aside the question of 3G or 4G technology, which is only a small part of the user experience, it's a safe bet that data consumption will continue to grow at a pace. Smartphone penetration in the UK is high and UK consumers are getting more comfortable with using their phones and tablets on the go for those immediate moments of enjoyment or day to day necessities. These opportunities have largely been limited to UK-based consumption but in 2014 I expect to see increasing usage of data when overseas as prices come down and affordability drives a change in behaviour. I also expect to see a greater focus on direct distribution by all operators as cost efficiency continues to be a key tool to deliver value back to customers and brand experience grows in importance. In addition, web-based research and shopping increasingly challenges the traditional distribution model and a joined up consistent customer experience across all touch points (direct and indirect) will become more increasingly expected.
4G for the masses in 2014
Scott Hooton Chief commercial officer, Phones 4u
4G dominated the headlines in 2013 and we’ll continue to see data define our mobile experiences in 2014. Our lives are increasingly connected across an array of devices and data powers this experience. 4G adoption is gaining momentum, accounting for at least 49% of all connections at Phones 4u alone, and this is only set to increase with the growing array of operators people now have to choose from. The awareness and popularity of wearable tech in particular is also set to grow in 2014. 89% of our own survey respondents claimed they would invest in a device within the next three years. While some predict that wearable tech will slowly eclipse the smartphone, we believe mobile phones will continue to feature at the centre of the consumer technology experience, with phablets, tablets and wearable tech acting as complementary, connected experiences.
It's about the rise in wearable tech and personalised devices
Carphone Warehouse spokesperson
The key trend for 2014 we’re predicting is the rise of wearable technology, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and innovative Google Glass, to become much more a part of everyday life for consumers.We’re also expecting to see developments in personalised handsets. An example of this is the upcoming launch of the LG G Flex in early 2014, which will come with a curved screen. As curved screens increase in popularity, manufacturers will have the opportunity to design a new range of handsets for a new generation.Phablets have grown in popularity throughout 2013 and we see further growth in the market for these devices in 2014. With the launch of the Nokia Lumia 1520, Nokia has a fantastic growth opportunity but it should be wary of the competitors, including Sony, HTC and Samsung who each have hero products in this space. 2014 is likely to be an amazing year for smartphones, phablets and tablets.
Manufacturers face a rocky 2014
Stuart Joce MD, A1 Comms
I anticipate a challenging year ahead for all. Networks will be working harder to drive value from their base and 4G. Retailers will need to do more with less in the face of increased network activity and further growth from non-traditional channels. This means CRM, customer service and added value will be more important than ever. Distributors will face stiffer competition to win with retailers under terrific pressure and will need to be increasingly entrepreneurial to win.However, I think it will be toughest for manufacturers. Apple has shown a lack of innovation in recent years and I expect it to catch up, and leap ahead. Android will continue to burst with new thinking and will become more evenly distributed. Android leaders may continue to lead but will come under increasing pressure from challengers, including Motorola. Nokia will continue to quietly and consistently build share with devices of increasing relevance and real world value and I think will be the one to watch.
Ecosystem to sway consumer decisions
Conor Pierce VP UK and Ireland, Nokia
I believe 2014 will be less about devices and more about ecosystem ability for both the enterprise and consumer market. You can see this in the new generations of video games as consoles like the new Xbox One deliver more than games using cloud based services and media content to drive adoption. This will shape how tablets and smartphones are positioned as they will remain the essential ingredient to how people will engage with their chosen ecosystem via the cloud. These larger screened devices will keep emerging as the need to access this content in a mobile environment grows.
Quality over speed in smartphone market
Peter Frolund General manager UK, HTC
I think 2014 will be the year in which the market moves beyond pure technical specs and becomes driven to an ever-greater degree by all of the aspects of smartphone design. Speed alone is not going to win the hearts and minds of consumers - rather, I see the premium mobile market in 2014 being driven to a far greater degree by design of our hardware and software. And that design will come in part from an aesthetic perspective, which is why HTC has invested so heavily in this area, but also in the usability of the smartphones we create.
ElectronicsFantasy becomes reality
Simon Stanford Vice president of IT & mobile division UK and Ireland, Samsung
2013 has brought huge advancements in the mobile space and was the year that wearable technology really took off. What was once a concept reserved for the likes of Dick Tracy and Captain Kirk – is now something you can actually buy. And next year promises even further progress. It will be the year in which norms will be challenged and consumers really start to engage with this new technology as it moves from niche to mainstream. With wider adoption of 4G and talk of 5G, there will be more pressure on manufacturers from customers to provide access to their content and the growing number of apps they have.
Security the key for BYOD
Alexandra Zagury MD UK and Ireland, BlackBerry
The hyper-growth of the consumer smartphone space in recent years has spearheaded the rise of BYOD and the proliferation of different mobile devices and platforms within any given organisation. However, rather than BYOD simplifying the approach to enterprise mobility management, it’s creating greater complexity than ever before.2014 will see enterprises move to invest in a broader mobility strategy which is focused on effectively managing and securing not just smartphones and tablets, but also apps and content running across a multitude of device and platform types. Rather than just choosing tactical implementations to address short-term needs based on support for a new device type, organisations will seek a complete solution that allows them to manage any type of device without having to compromise on security and manageability.
Value will drive consumer behaviour
Stephen Nolan UK MD, Tech Data Mobile
Brand strength will continue to drive consumer pull in the mobile market, however, new value added propositions that are innovative will start to get noticed and become more mainstream. Life cycle management and customer loyalty will become more important business drivers for our partners. The level of fixed costs in our industry will be under further pressure and partners will drive plans to consider variable costs options in their business model. The Sim-free market will continue to grow and consumers will focus more on bundles and family proposition for value. The driving force of 4G will certainly increase usage of the mobile internet and spawn new business ideas and behaviours. 2014 will be a great year!
I tip Samsung to double b2b share
Andrew Peat Purchasing and marketing director, Brightstar 20:20
The b2b market will be a battleground in 2014 with everyone looking at the opportunities in this space as the market changes dramatically. On the supply side Samsung and Nokia in particular will look to take advantage of the challenges that BlackBerry are facing. Samsung are staffing up and with a number of high profile ex BlackBerry employees will better understand what is needed than they have done in previous years. I would expect to see them double their share of b2b in 2014.The consolidation in distribution will make the b2b sector even more competitive as the ‘new distributors’ all fight for share in the UK market and offering an increasingly innovative range of services to create stickiness with the customer base as well as a price fight to win the more lucrative tenders. Overall 2014 will be a pretty good year if you are buying products and services in the b2b sector.
4G to accelerate CYOD movement
Dave McGinn MD, Daisy Distribution
There is little doubt that smartphone and tablet usage will continue to rise during 2014. However, this increase will be less aligned with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend; rather it will be more parallel with the choose-your-own-device (CYOD) movement that looks set to dominate the UK business landscape. Driving that trend has been the roll out of 4G connectivity, and as more rural locations begin to gain access to the superfast internet and business data applications, the impetus is showing no signs of slowing down. This ability to work remotely through mobile devices has seen the take up of mobile cloud-based IT solution, Microsoft Office 365, increase.
An emphasis on convergence
Simon Slater General manager Conect, Exertis Micro-P
The biggest driver for airtime in 2014 is going to be the convergence of IT resellers into the mobile space. IT resellers have got all the ingredients needed to make it work, and we can help them get the right skill set in place, easily and efficiently, so they can now deliver mobile. That’s where Conect comes in. We can give them that resource, including support and training. Conect is going to be even more proactive with our Conect customers in 2014, making sure they get the most out of the system, make the most of their opportunities, and convert those into sales.The Office 365 proposition is now so much more compelling than it used to be. We will see many more multi device, multi service contracts being signed for in 2014 with data, devices, airtime and Office 365, giving people the complete office on the move.
Price vs quality in accessories market
Stuart Conroy MD, Activ8
We expect that in 2014 the market will become polarised into areas of cheap ubiquitous products and better made branded products. With the continued opening up of far eastern markets we expect that, online and in some high street areas, the price of products will be driven down whilst consumers will seek better made and more reliable products.Online marketplaces will continue to grow and offer greater variety but they will be refining their exposure of brands away from existing search and catalogue structures. There is a growing market for accessories geared to our lifestyle choices; fashion, sport, work etc. with a growing number of brands specialising in these areas.The biggest challenge will be achieving brand recognition in an over-saturated accessory market. Companies that have taken advantage of cheaper and easier routes to market in recent years will have to invest in marketing and advertising to stay ahead of the game.
Microsoft to buy BlackBerry?
Darren Ridge CEO, OneCom
Things will move very quickly in 2014 and we will rapidly move closer to a world of unified communications. Companies which offer a comprehensive platform of products and services will thrive and we’ll see those which only offer mobile phone connections disappearing or being absorbed into the larger operators. I would expect to see a huge amount of consolidation, with those smaller companies exiting and larger operators like OneCom continuing to grow and diversify.When it comes to mobile devices, I’d anticipate Nokia and Windows Mobile devices to take a larger share of the marketplace because of their cost-effectiveness and their popularity with business customers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blackberry become purely a software house – and possibly to see them acquired by Microsoft.
Extinction of purely mobile based dealers
James Phipps CEO, Excalibur
2014 will continue to bring Nokia’s B2B market share up as Microsoft bring the full force of the marketing machine into play, with customers continuing to want an ‘end to end’ experience we see Windows 8 growing over mobile and tablets further. Although BlackBerry have been hurt, customers are seeing the MDM solution in BES10 as interesting and if they continue to invest in Enterprise they will have a good chance of not only surviving but growing the UK Enterprise market as Samsung, Android and iOS still seems to lack the appeal to genuine Enterprise customers enough. Vodafone’s investment in Cable and Wireless and sale in the US will make the UK market more competitive and partners will have to really move to solution selling as the days of pure mobile based dealers will be well and truly over in 2014.
The year mobile transforms business
Martin Flick CEO, Olive Communications
In the 21st century, work isn’t a place you go – it’s a thing you do. Enlightened businesses have freed up their workers from being chained to their desks but the connectivity allowing them do that often runs at a snail’s pace. And the failure to deliver consistent, efficient experiences via mobile devices negates the supposed benefits.This is a huge market opportunity as many customers have now identified an employee need, and resulting business benefit, from staff accessing data and systems wherever they are and on whatever device.But the advent of super-fast 4G networks provides the solution. Olive will continue to ensure our customers have access to outstanding connectivity and Wi-Fi like speeds over mobile, that we once could only dream about. This will mean 2014 will be the year not just of consistent user experience, but of communications-enabled business transformation.
Innovation over 4G in 2014
Mark Ashdown CEO, Cognatel
For 2014, considering the ‘total cost of ownership’ will be of even greater importance for MVNOs as the market becomes more and more competitive with MNOs hunting for subscribers in advance of potential mergers. Preparing for 4G is important, but not a significant revenue opportunity at this stage, and is unlikely to be for another 12-18 months. The operators will be focused on building the networks, ensuring reliability, and preparing for the wholesale market to start moving across from 2015, though there will be one or two early MVNO adopters in 2014.The immediate opportunity is to find additional ways to increase revenues and margins with innovative approaches, as well as bringing down the average sales acquisition cost by reducing churn through well-targeted marketing campaigns, and being ready for the impact of the EU roaming regulations and 4G services to come.
The fight for supermarket supremacy
Tim Stone CEO, Viacloud
2014 will be another exciting year in our industry with some fascinating launches and network changes, along with some fall out too. We will continue to see the growth of major brands entering the market. BT for the first time since owning Cellnet will have a consumer play now on the EE network since their shift from Vodafone and it will be interesting to watch the battle of the supermarkets as Sainsbury’s compete with Tesco and Asda who have also recently changed network. Every year there are new MVNO launches and I predict 2014 will be a big year with some really interesting brands coming to market. As in all business there will be winners and losers depending on their strength of proposition, ability to respond rapidly to market changes and I believe, most importantly, the support of their partners.