MCaaS (Mobile Communication as a Service) is the next natural evolution after the explosive growth and success of UCaaS (Unified Communication as Service). The benefits of MCaaS are significant for enterprises of all sizes i.e. add mobility and communication to every aspect of business applications without upfront capital cost and complexity to own and manage the infrastructure. This means businesses can improve their productivity by establishing more efficient communication amongst their employees and even more important with their customers – driving more business.
To make this possible, the sellers and resellers of communication services are moving up the food chain and evolving from a traditional service providers and system integrator to a customer experience enablers – someone who not only sells or upsells recommended applications but has the ability to create and implement new mobility experience that meet very specific business communication needs.
This new role of what I call an “experience guru” is not limited to traditional wireless service providers, MVNOs, or telecom operators. A new ecosystem of enterprise software vendors, system integrators, cloud based communication application providers, developers, WiFi providers, and telecom operators is needed to fulfill the vision of seamless mobility.
We are still at the beginning of this massive trend toward software everywhere, embedded communications, and nearly everything is being deliverable by the cloud. But, we know that WiFi enabled smart devices are ubiquitous, you can find WiFi everywhere; RAN (aka cellular) signals are getting better every day with small cells; LTE deployments are improving quality across the board; and higher quality nomadic technologies such as Hotspot 2.0 are making “hop on, hop off” secure mobile access possible, leading to a seamless mobile experience for users.
The stars are aligning for this new generation of CSPs (Communication Service Providers) and their partners to deliver more value – more productivity – better outcomes – to businesses where the next generation of workers is insisting on the same or better experience they have on their iPhones and smartphones, tablets and even wearable devices in their personal lives.
As the hyper-connected nature of life for even the smallest business accelerates, there is no more effective operational and business model than the cloud, with a thriving ecosystem including growing developer communities, platforms-as-a-service like GENBAND’s Kandy (www.kandy.io), a growing number of APIs and SDKs, and generally a “candy store” of options sharp CSPs can bring to their embedded base of customers, while also competitively attracting new business.
So, many CSPs and their partners woke up to the possibilities in 2014,that 2015 will prove to be an even more competitive year. As Mobile CaaS adoption increases, there is further price pressure on “ARPU” from limited set of services, which smart CSPs are addressing by creating new applications, creative bundles and services to the business and to the businesses’ customers whether consumers or other businesses.
Vertical industry applications for MCaaS are really taking off, with a new application surfacing nearly every day especially in the areas of healthcare (patient and care team collaboration reducing medical costs while improving patient outcomes), education (extension of physical classrooms), retail (innovative ways to co-browse with consumers to increase sales and satisfaction), banking (private banker and broker real time conversations requiring only a browser), and logistics (a huge area where field service teams are becoming exponentially more productive, causing delighted customers and more insight into service processes and costs for companies with “truck rolls.”)
CaaS is the natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization and utility computing – but with the additional twist of having to ensure services work across all types of devices and networks. Through open platforms and leveraging new technologies, such as WebRTC and ORTC, the ability to attract developers and retain them to build applications for the mobile increases the adoption of Mobile CaaS. Look at the growth of mobile app stores!
Finally, putting in place a business model that enables developers and service providers to make money is the real key to success. Mobile CaaS deployments will need at the minimum:
- Virtualization for storage, computing and networking that is elastic and can scale
- Apps stores for the secure and efficient delivery of services to specific and diverse customers
- Developers who are creative and actively tap into communities, and
- A very simple development platform with comprehensive communication APIs and SDKs
In 2015, successful CSPs will continue to radically and quickly expand their enterprise and SMB offerings. Offering a Mobile CaaS cloud creates an easy way for customers to understand and buy a “one-stop shop” for productivity applications including RTC.
Today, selling IS upselling, period, and when CSPs and their partners understand that services in the future will be “experienced” rather than “used,” they will open up the spigot for new revenues – as they getting in front of the vision, and on the side of helping businesses grow, not just “save money.”
While cost savings are always important, as the economy continues to recover – after the Dow hitting records in the last month of 2014, topping 18,000 points – having a deep relationship with customers that customers recognize as fundamental to enabling them to grow will cement relationships not only for 2015, but years to come.