So another year has come to an end. We’ve seen democracies fall, celebrities mourned, tsunamis tracked, terrorists killed, volcanos erupt, the end of the NASA space program, terrorist attacks in Norway, floods in Thailand and earthquakes in Turkey. A quiet year, I think you’ll agree…
Oct. 17, 2011 (Bloomberg) — British consumers will spend 19.3 billion pounds ($30.5 billion) by 2021 on purchases using their mobile phones as technology advances and more people have smartphones, Barclays Corporate estimated.
Over the last five years, the UK has experienced a huge boom in the smartphone market. Consumers are now favouring the iPhone or Android-powered devices in favour of the more basic options out there.
Long gone are the days of the ‘smart’ Windows® CE-powered phone or the market share enjoyed by Nokia with their Symbian-powered devices (the Nokia N95 was a huge success in its day). Now consumers want fast 3G Internet access, streamed video and audio and push-email that can be accessed and edited from a variety of devices simultaneously (Bluetooth headsets, iPads, laptops, etc.).
Android™’s market share has risen significantly in the UK over the last 12 months, gaining 34% on 2010’s figure to a total share of 45% of the smartphone market.
Apple, interestingly, has experienced a decline in market share, down 12% to 18% share with Blackberry® increasing their share by 2%, up to 22.3%. Nokia’s Symbian platform has experienced the largest drop from any provider, down 22% to just 10% market share.
However, one of the largest companies in the world has one of the lowest market share of the smartphone market—and it’s dropping. Windows. Window’s market share has halved over the last 12 months, landing it with just 2.7% of the smartphone market in the UK.
Although you may think that it’s safe to assume that Windows is dead in the water (especially since the epic fail of its Facebook-ready phone which was on the market for less than two months!), it may be about to make a massive comeback into the smartphone space.
So what proof do I have that Windows-powered mobile’s aren’t about to go the way of the dinosaur? Well, here I sit with two phones on my desk. A Windows 7-powered HTC Pro™ and an Android-powered HTC Wildfire S™.
Both phones are built by HTC and have pretty similar features, in terms of touch-screens and cameras, but the Windows-powered phone seems to be in a league of its own.
Let’s take an example. Whilst on the road last week, my laptop battery died, so I had to rely on my phones for information. The Windows 7 mobile kept me up to date with my Outlook® email and enabled me to use Office365 on the handset to finish up a spreadsheet that I needed to email later that day. (On my Android device, I’m limited to using Google Apps, so I knew my colleagues would have problems editing the spreadsheet.) Not only that, I was able to talk to my colleague using the mobile version of Microsoft Lync™, meaning that although my laptop was dead, I could stay in touch with the team, send over the spreadsheet and stay productive.
Although Microsoft may be the underdog for another year, they have a lot of features set to launch which will be game-changers. The acquisition of Skype means that integration of Skype into Windows Mobile, Lync and Xbox will increase collaboration and communication between converged devices, making it even easier to stay in touch and collaborate with colleagues and family members all over the world.
Do you have a preferred platform? Have you tried using Lync to stay connected while on the road? If you haven’t, you can register for a free trial of our hosted version of Lync at www.lynctrial.com to test it out.
You may have been lucky enough to miss the back-and-forth happening between Google and Microsoft during the last couple of weeks in regard to the increasingly heated tension rising around a patent dispute between the two tech giants.
From keeping tabs on this as it unfolds, the bottom line is that Microsoft offered Google the chance to work with them to purchase patents from Novell, but Google declined.
Microsoft and Google are seasoned veterans when it comes to having head-to-head battles. Not only are they competing in the online search market (Bing.com vs. Google.com) and the operating system market (Windows vs. ChromeOS), but they are direct competitors within the Unified Communication (UC) space: Google with their Google Apps and Microsoft with Office 365.
Google have had it easy in the early ‘00’s but have pushed Microsoft too far. After consistently chipping away at Microsoft’s Crown Jewels, Microsoft have had enough and are fighting back. Hard.
Microsoft have been known as the ‘king of software’ but have invested countless millions of dollars in online development into cloud communication. The end result is revolutionising the UC space and the product has been dubbed ‘The PBX Killer’.
These products that I am talking about, of course, are Microsoft Lync™ Online and Office 365. They are enterprise-grade, online applications which serve as an upgrade to your existing Office suite. Not only do you not have to worry about updating to the new version, there is also no capex spend as companies can pay per month on a licensed model.
Microsoft Lync offers enterprise workers the ability to work remotely, whilst still being visible and able to be contacted within the organisation. Not only does this increase productivity within the workplace, but it is proving to be an invaluable tool as employees look to address their work-life balance and opt to work from home.
So, it’s easy to see how Microsoft are ruffling Google’s feathers. After years of Google taking away market share, Microsoft are beginning to claw it back, offering superior security features, zero-advertising and applications that are being adopted globally by organisations big and small.
One thing is for sure: It’s going to be an interesting year seeing which Silicon Valley giant takes the crown.
“The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.” The Internet? Bah!, Newsweek, February 27, 1995.
Thinking back to when I was in my youth, I was still surrounded by technology (it helped that my dad worked in the tech sector), and over the course of 10 years, the development of technology never ceased to amaze me.
I remember in 1992, while my dad was at a conference in LA, my mum received a call on his cell phone, which he’d let her look after. She was so embarrassed to be seen with this technology that she dashed into one of the (then prevalent) phone boxes to take the call.
Jump forward to 1993, to the release of my all-time favourite childhood game, Doom, with its ‘pioneering 3D graphics’. Not only was I able to play this on the Compaq laptop we had (running Windows 3.1 for workgroups), but we were able to hook this up to our PC, sporting an impressive 424 MB hard drive and I could play against my brother.
I remember my dad trying to explain that one day we’d be able to do this from other rooms in the house, once we got the cables hooked up… Who would have imagined we’d be playing each other from separate cities on the Xbox 360 10 years later!!
In 1997, my dad showed me the Internet and I became a sucker for the chat room. This was the first time I’d been able to talk to people all over the world, without racking up an insane telephone bill; however, I still remember my mum getting annoyed that I was ‘on the phone’ all the time as the Internet was still running through the only telephone line in the house.
Next came the social Internet, really going mainstream in 1999. We’d installed a second phone line into the house to keep up with the amount of surfing my sister and I were doing. This year marked the launch of Microsoft’s MSN Messenger (as part of a strategy to take market share away from AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) which was dominating the U.S. markets). I remember my sister calling up her friend to see if she could come chat on MSN and I wondered why she wouldn’t just do this on the phone?! Little did I know what was coming two years later.
Napster. This software developed in a teen’s dorm room had taken the virtual world by storm. For the first time, you had the sensation of walking into the world’s largest music store. All I needed was an Internet connection that was capable of downloading songs at a reasonable speed (about 20 minutes for a three minute track) and a hard drive that could store my growing catalogue (10 GB!).
When Napster closed its virtual doors, the news spread like wildfire through email and IM, and everyone was frantically downloading music before it was wiped off the service. My sister was in a panic to download as much Red Hot Chilli Peppers as possible, but by the end of the evening, the catalogue had disappeared.
By now, however, it was too late to stop the digital revolution. Kazaa had already been created as one of the pioneers of the peer-to-peer networks (whereby content is stored on local computers, instead of one main server, making it almost impossible to shutdown) and teenagers everywhere continued downloading catalogues of music.
So, by 2004, there was the launch of YouTube, the service which catapulted video streaming into the spotlight and gave us access to a whole wealth of new music videos and video blogs. Alongside this was the launch of Pandora (a legal source of streaming music with sponsored advertising) and soon would come the launch of Last.fm and Spotify. (Spotify recently finished a funding round of $100M, giving rise to a $1B market value.)
As bandwidth expands into households, streaming technology has been making waves in cyberspace. People who used to rely on the television for the latest shows are now able to stream TV on-demand from the likes of Tivo and tvcatchup.com.
We’ve seen business versions of Facebook and Twitter pop up (Salesforce.com’s Chatter and Yammer), and the same thing is happening with streaming in the workplace. In the next 24 months I expect to see a huge boom in the number of corporations utilizing streaming technology to interact with their ever-diverse workforce to get their message across. Not only does it allow dispersed works to access information, but it can happen live or on-demand, just like your favourite TV shows.
What part of your technology timeline stands out the most? Any predictions for what we’ll see next?
When I originally joined InterCall in August 2009, I was given the company standard cell phone, a Nokia 6700. It’s a pretty basic phone; it comes with a camera and can send texts and make phone calls. For me, it was great because I had a phone that I didn’t have to worry about the bills for!
Fast-forward six months to February 2010 and the decision I made to purchase my first smartphone, a Nokia E63. This phone seemed to do it all; not only did it support picture messaging, but it had push-email, full web browser capabilities and an instant messaging client.
Fast forward another 12 months to February 2011 when I upgraded again to a Google powered HTC Wildfire. This phone does everything that my E63 could, plus I can now have a point-to-point video call, update all my social networks simultaneously and customise my phone to work how I want it to!
So where am I going with this story? Well, in the space of two years, I’ve gone from being excited about having a mobile phone that could take a picture and make a call, to needing a phone that unifies separate applications I use day-to-day into one single device.
We see technology advancing in the consumer world at an incredible pace, and it’s always ahead of the curve of adoption within the workplace. Take the rise of Facebook and Twitter for example. We’re now seeing business-grade alternatives for the workplace from the likes of SalesForce.com’s Chatter and Yammer, yet they are three or four years behind the consumer trend.
Looking around the office today, I suddenly realised the sheer amount of smartphones littered around people’s desks had dramatically risen over the last year. Now that the majority of consumers are converting to unified devices (aka smartphones)—up by a staggering 100 milllion additional units in 2011—I believe we’ll see businesses truly start to adopt unified technology in the workplace over the course of the next 18-24 months.
Like cell phones, Unified Communications is constantly evolving as technology and devices develop and become more interoperable. Audio conferencing solutions, web conferencing and video conferencing are integral aspects of Unified Communications, and InterCall is blazing the trail within this segment through the deployment of Unified Desktop.
And just like the move from a Nokia 6700 to the HTC Wildfire, Unified Desktop turns your siloed work station into a multi-channel communication tool that allows organisations to increase productivity through the unification of devices onto one platform. It integrates conferencing and collaboration, messaging and telephony, with an element of presence, into one single, easy-to-use interface.
With all these transformations taking place in our work environments, what tools have you adopted that increase your productivity?