Feature Article

September 07, 2011

Moderator Gears Up for 4GWE Conference at ITEXPO West in Austin

ITEXPO West, one of the largest IT shows in the industry, is right around the corner and with a number of collocated events, the tradeshow set in Austin, Texas, from Sept. 13-15, is sure to have something to interest everyone in the Internet Telephony market.  

The 4GWE Conference for example, is in its third year and covers everything from expanding the coverage of 4G solutions to wireless migration for the empowered enterprise and even topics like cloud computing, device proliferation and enterprise mobility.

TMC’s CEO Rich Tehrani recently had the opportunity to speak with Stephanie Atkinson, co-founder and managing partner of Compass Intelligence, LLC, to discuss trends in the industry and her anticipations and involvement in the upcoming show.

A well-seasoned high-tech analyst, specializing in vertical markets, technology segmentation, and overall enterprise research and consulting, Atkinson maintains unique insight and research expertise by having worked within the telecom equipment and service provider market prior to working as an analyst/consultant.

Atkinson will be moderating sessions including Apps in the Enterprise, on Wednesday Sept. 14 at 3p.m. which will explore how productivity and expense reduction are the key components of ROI in the enterprise.

Read the full interview below:

How has your market evolved over the past year and what trends have fueled those changes?

The market continues to be impacted by the challenging economy. Telecom and IT budgets have shifted to focus on core priorities only and projects that can bring quicker returns on investments. Priorities around doing more with less, especially within the areas of Mobility and Business Applications continues to be a core area of investment, along with upgrading antiquated systems and infrastructure to meet mandates or to remain competitive and relevant.

What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business?

Video will be and is already becoming a disruptive force in business communications. It is already impacting a number of industries including healthcare, education, government, and professional services. Our 100% virtual organization relies on video for company meetings and to connect with important clients. Video will become a common tool used to operate, manufacture, perform meetings, demonstrate, train, and collaborate across both consumer and business. In the future, all handheld devices, computers, smartphones, and tablets will utilize video across multiple mobile applications and business tools.

How has the acceptance and adoption of the cloud model influenced your development cycle and process?

Our firm has moved 4 website away from hosted servers to cloud servers. We will continue to evaluate cloud solutions when we look to new software and solutions. Because our firm is small and we are 100% virtual, we are expected to rely more on cloud software and solutions to enhance our business and improve services for our customers.

What is the most common request you are seeing from your customers? How is your company addressing these demands?

One area that is changing across our industry is the changing demands in our customers’ payment cycles. Our customers have moved away from traditional 30-day payment terms and are moving to 60 to 90 day payment terms. This of course can be challenging to maintain cash flows and complete large projects. We have met this challenge by providing discounts on early payments, pushing for credit card payments, changing our terms on our contracts, and utilizing a factoring company to support case flows for our business. This is all just part of running a small firm that has to meet Fortune 100 business terms.

There has been talk of Facebook coming into the mobile marketplace with its own devices, and LinkedIn just rolled out a new HTML5 mobile app. Do you expect we will see a push towards universal solutions or customized mobile devices as we move forward in social media.

Yes, it would not even surprise me to see devices that are independent of the carrier or service provider altogether. We may see end-users choosing which carrier they want to use on a daily or weekly basis, or depending on their location. Social media is also expected to move further into the enterprise. We will see an entrance of B2B (Business to Business) or industry specific social networking sites that focus on a core market, industry, platform, or area of interest. These site may be integrated into the larger social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, but will have unique characteristics that will have a public and private (for pay) interface.

Besides phone calls, mobile is now sharing bandwidth with video and machines. What do you predict will be the mix of traffic in the future?

Traditional voice (TDM, circuit-switched) traffic will continue to fall off in terms of percentage. I expect to see a surge in video traffic over the next 5 to 10 years. Mobile applications will continue to increase data traffic running across networks. Some applications will be band-width intensive, especially those with a video component.

Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter? Why or why not?

It is too soon to tell, because Twitter and Facebook have completely different functions and capabilities. I have not evaluated Google+ to learn about where it is going. Nothing would surprise me about Google, as they appear to be going after the Mobility and Social Networking markets full force.

As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility?  What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies?

Our firm is completely virtual, all employees work from home. We do not feel the barriers, since we started our firm as a virtual organization. We equip our employees with laptops, smartphones, and utilize applications like Skype and Webex to communicate. Barriers for other companies may be the difficulty in transitioning from an office environment to a mobile environment. It depends on the operations, existing procedures and work activities, and customer-facing requirements. Not all industries and businesses can be totally virtual, but they can all be totally mobile.

How do you see the mobile operating system war (iPhone (News - Alert) vs. Android vs. RIM vs. WM7 vs. HTML5) playing out?

At this point, Android seems to be holding its own in terms of growth in the number of devices, partnerships, etc. Apple is still winning in the application war and is still preferred by corporate or business executives, mostly because of the iPad. RIM will have to continue to move away from being the best “email” phones, and will need to continue to evolve to compete with Android and Apple. In a few years there will be other operating systems, so the battle will continue. It will all hinge on applications, branding, partnerships, and channels to market.

Is HTML5 the game changer many predict it will be?

Not sure at this point, but it will be interesting to follow how HTML5 will impact the mobile industry.

What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO West  in Austin? What do you see as being the biggest trends at the show?

Meeting up with new and old colleagues, networking with executives in the Mobile space, attending the M2M Evolution conference, and learning about new trends that will impact the market.

Want to learn more about 4G wireless technologies? Then be sure to attend the 4GWE Conference, collocated with TMC’s ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. The 4GWE Conference provides unmatched networking opportunities and a robust conference program representing the wireless ecosystem. The conference not only brings together the best and brightest in the wireless industry, it actually spans the communications and technology industry. To register, click here.

Stefanie Mosca is a Managing Editor for MobilityTechzone, with a particular focus in wireless technologies as well as mobile and IP communications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University and a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Haven. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page or follow her on Twitter @stefaniemosca.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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