Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO Vodafone UK:
‘2015 is going to be a busy year, with many changes on the cards for the mobile industry. If recent news is to be believed, we’ll see some major consolidation. What form that takes remains to be seen, but it’s certainly going to be an interesting spectator sport.
‘Customers will also start to feel the benefit in investing in one supplier for multiple services. Only those operators with strong offerings in both mobile and fixed services will be able to offer customers a truly seamless experience. The same can be said for businesses, as more and more of them will see the benefits of working with one provider for all their communications requirements, particularly those who can truly bring services together into a ‘total communications’ offering.
‘In 2015, technology, more than ever, will be expected to keep up with business growth and the need for transformation but most of all – with employees’ demands. We’ve already seen increasing numbers of businesses implementing ‘flexible’ working practices and reap the rewards from improved employee engagement, reduced operating costs and in many cases, the ability to respond to customers’ demands, faster. Legislation passed in
2014 giving employees the right to request ‘flexible working’ will be a further catalyst for more businesses to challenge ‘traditional’ ways of working and make changes in 2015.
‘The operators’ continued investment in their networks will lead to a massive improvement in mobile coverage across the country, while 4G services will start to reach even the most rural community – bringing benefits to consumers and businesses alike. For us, we look forward to rolling out our Rural Open Sure Signal programme to the 100 communities we have announced in the last couple of months: bringing 3G coverage to a host of notspots.
‘Online sales will continue their upward spiral, even when the transaction is completed offline. Customers will continue to blur the traditional lines between offline and online retailing and will expect businesses to be able to respond to their needs, regardless of channel. In short, customers will demand ever more integration between bricks and clicks.’
Phil Mottram, director of enterprise, Vodafone UK:
‘Employees’ expectations to have the freedom to choose the type of device and operating system they use for work, as well as having access to fast, seamless delivery of content and information, will continue to increase at a rapid pace in 2015 due to device innovation and increasing 4G coverage. The projected uptake of tablets, in particular, will be a strong example of these growing consumer expectations as these devices become even more prominent within large and small businesses as well as across the public sector.
‘Tablets provide greater ease and portability than a traditional laptop; this combined with people’s ever increasing demand for high speed access to information anytime, anywhere is therefore expected to drive wider adoption across all business sectors in 2015. Therefore, by acknowledging employees’ desirability for ‘bring your own’ tablets and businesses ensuring they are able to offer staff the devices and systems they prefer and need to be more productive, businesses can support the wider trend while fostering greater information sharing and cost efficiencies across the organisation.
‘However businesses’ investment in technology and architecture that fully supports BYOD and multiple operating systems and devices – be it tablets, smartphones or laptops – are sometimes slowed by concerns around security. These concerns have heightened as cyber-attacks and malware become ever-more sophisticated. ICT providers will need to continue to look for ways to remove the complexity for businesses and offer simple to manage, integrated, secure and converged services that support multiple devices and operating systems, across fixed, mobile and IT.
‘The way we work will also continue to change over the coming year as businesses look to keep up with employee demands, keep costs under control and increase productivity, all while economic conditions continue to be tough. Only recently have businesses begun understanding and adapting to the new way generation Y wants and expects to work, let alone preparing for the entry of generation Z into the workforce in another 5-10 years’ time. Businesses’ need to equip employees with the tools they need to do their job best, from wherever and on whatever device, therefore becomes more relevant. By embracing new and better ways of working, and by leveraging both fixed and mobile technology, companies can unearth even greater opportunities for efficiency within areas such as frontline workers, customer service or in the reduction of office space.
‘The pressure on technology to keep up with consumer demand for information becomes even larger as expectations around network coverage continues to increase with every 4G roll-out. However, it is here where network investment can be a key differentiator for network suppliers by taking advantage of the overall network infrastructure to offer enterprise applications that are further converged across both fixed and mobile. Convergence will enable a greater scope of applications that can benefit businesses of any size.’