Hang up your landline – Three Ireland shift to managed mobiles
Communication tech focus in 2017 will be on mobility and the internet of things
Three Ireland business director Eoin McManus: Managed mobile phones run software that operates sophisticated security firewalls and enables data to be wiped remotely in the case of loss
The dominant business technology themes for 2017 and beyond will be mobility, the internet of things (IOT), the cloud, and security. This is the view of Three Ireland business director Eoin McManus who also believes that next year will also sound the death knell for PSTN telephony – the good old-fashioned landline.
“Mobile phone companies have been talking about remote working for a long time but it is now really starting to happen”, he says. “Smartphone functionality means that mobile telephony is now becoming more important than fixed line. 2017 could be the year that fixed line starts to die, we could be looking at RIP PSTN.”
There are implications to be managed, however. “This is particularly the case for medium- to large-sized organisations which are having to switch over the managed mobile phones. If you are a CFO [chief financial officer] or CTO [chief technology officer] and you are managing this process you are going to have to try to create an enterprise class mobile environment which will deliver the same security and collaboration features as the fixed line solution.”
Managed mobile phones run software that operates sophisticated security firewalls, allows the devices to be tracked, enables data to be wiped remotely in the case of loss, restricts the type of apps which can be downloaded, and so on.
“A year ago or so, organisations were still just whacking out a load of mobiles and putting email on them”, McManus says. “They didn’t really considers security and data protection issues. Employees were sharing files over Dropbox and so on, but this didn’t provide the level of security required. We have partnered with Citrix to provide a solution which replicates the same level of security and other features that you get in the office. This enables our customers to create a mobile working environment which is secure, replicates the office and which they are comfortable with.”
Fixed-line telephony isn’t actually dead yet, of course, and Three is working with customers in that area as well. He points out that companies are increasingly moving over to voice over internet protocol (voip) telephony and this facilitates much greater flexibility.
“Voip has now become mainstream and it offers solutions for companies which are looking to reduce costs”, McManus says. “It allows for the creation of a unified communications environment which offers so much more than traditional fixed-line telephony. The solution we offer allows people to take their fixed-line calls on their mobile handset. That means that companies which want to retain a fixed-line number can make it mobile with staff being able to take calls when they are out and about.”
One of the issues with moving to a totally mobile or even a mixed telephony environment has been the feared loss of features such as call transferring and conferencing which are taken for granted in the traditional fixed-line environment. This is no longer a problem thanks to the solution offered by Three in association with Cisco.
“We offer an enterprise-class unified communications solution”, says McManus. “And it’s up in the cloud. We don’t put in a phone system, we give our customers access to the Three system in the cloud. This takes the complexity out of it and makes it much simpler and cheaper for companies to manage their telecommunications networks.”
The advantages of this move to the cloud are considerable. “It declutters the whole thing”, he explains. “We have just put in a wide area network [WAN] for a company which previously had 125 data connections. The solution we provide has it hosted in a Three datacentre and the company now has just two data connections.”
Another change he is seeing is the way companies want to be supported by their phone companies. “This comes down to how different generations interact with technologies and services”, he points out. “We’ve changed the way we support customers to provide an excellent voice experience if that’s what they want but also to offer a the full range of digital options.”
The other main theme he sees coming to the fore in 2017 is the internet of things and machine to machine technology (M2M). “We have more than a 50 per cent market share in that area at the moment and it is growing very rapidly. Security systems, CCTV, smart metering – it’s becoming part of people’s lives. In the future there will be a chip in your household bin which will signal the waste company when it is ready to be collected. It is estimated that there will be 50 billion connected devices around the world by 2020 and that investment in IOT will reach €6 trillion by 2021.
“We are seeing much bigger demand for M2M and companies are asking how it can make them more efficient. We have just completed a project with the Europa car rental company where they have installed chips in their fleet to track the vehicles’ locations, what speeds they are travelling at, and so on. This has reduced their insurance cost and in one case has actually helped them detect an attempted fraud. 2017 will be a big year and will see the beginning of a very significant shift to M2M technologies.”