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Mobility transforms corporate communications

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During the last several years, the office phone system experienced significant changes, driven by consumerization, cloud computing and other IT trends which continue to disrupt the business world. While the overall IT landscape continues to advance rapidly through innovation, the telecommunications aspect is undergoing particularly noticeable transformations.

A recent report by Infonetics Research highlighted this occurrence, noting that the telecom industry is expanding at a faster rate than the global GDP is recovering. The International Monetary Fund recently said worldwide GDP is estimated to grow 3.3 percent in 2012 from 2011.

"Economic readings are worrisome everywhere but the U.S., but so far the impact on global telecom and enterprise remains tame and we're forecasting capex to grow nearly 4 percent in 2012 over 2011," said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

While several trends contribute to the growing telecom industry, including the advent of VoIP systems and unified communications, mobility maintains the top driver. This is largely due to the consumerization of IT and the adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) programs in the private sector, Infonetics Research reported.

A separate report by Gartner said BYOD is commonly considered the most radical shift in enterprise operations since the emergence of the personal computer.

"With the wide range of capabilities brought by mobile devices, and the myriad ways in which business processes are being reinvented as a result, we are entering a time of tremendous change," said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

How BYOD is changing the office phone system

In the past, the corporate phone system was a land line. In today's business world, legacy solutions quickly become antiquated and generate more problems than they solve. This is especially noticeable with consumerization trends and the proliferation of BYOD programs, which allow individuals to use personal smartphones, tablets and other gadgets for work-related tasks.

"The market for mobile devices is booming and the basic device used in business compared to those used by consumers is converging," Willis said. "Simultaneously, advances in network performance allow the personal device to be married to powerful software that resides in the cloud."

The mobile transformation also drives the growth of cloud communications. Another study by Dialogic forecast the cloud-based communications market to generate upward of $8 billion in revenue by 2014. This is largely because the flexible hosted environments and the anytime access capability are important for mobile devices that are regularly used outside the office.

As companies around the world allow individuals to use personal smartphones and tablets for more mission-critical tasks, the BYOD trend will continue impacting how enterprises and small businesses alike embrace the transforming telecom landscape. Since communication is and always will be a crucial aspect of any successful organization, decision-makers will need to consider embracing the transition to a mobile workplace, as neglecting to adapt will almost certainly be disastrous.