FreeConferenceCall.com: Bob Wise's 2016 Trends

While voice is still critical in emerging markets, the demand for rapid service deployment will see SaaS on the rise in emerging markets, according to FreeConferenceCall.com’s Bob Wise…

Which developing or emerging markets (regions / countries) do you cover?

FreeConferenceCall.com is active in developing markets in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

We currently provide international services across the entire globe, with local dial-in numbers for 58 countries – and growing.

What are your main hardware and/or services focus areas?

FreeConferenceCall.com provides HD audio collaboration and video conferencing services globally. We offer free conferencing services to end users while also leveraging this model in our paid-for FreeConferenceCall.com for Business service. 

FreeConferenceCall.com has more than 800,000 business customers, worldwide, including users from most Fortune 500 companies. 

What are the top market and customer trends that will drive change in your area during 2016, and why?

We see enterprises in many developing markets becoming increasingly savvy about their communications services, while network operators are being challenged to manage new competition.

In 2016, we see four key areas shaping communications services in developing markets:

  • Demand for Unified Communications increasing with new deployments targeting SMBs through to multinational corporations
  • Competition from Over the Top (OTT) voice and messaging services continues to grow, challenging network operators to monetize new infrastructure investments
  • Partnership models are maturing and enabling operators to rapidly add new products and services to their offerings, like Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud communications, and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Voice remains crucial to an operator’s success, but the model for monetising voice is changing  

What are the solutions that will make the greatest impact in your area during 2016, and why?

2016 will see Unified Communications in developing markets mature and grow. So far, growth in Unified Communications has been focused on North America and Western Europe, but we will see this spread to developing markets as operators look for new ways to increase profitability and serve enterprise demand.

What changes need to be made to speed up developments and what can hold them back?

Partnering will be critical to the growth of Unified Communications in developing markets. Network operators have an opportunity to gain a ‘first mover’ advantage over their competitors by partnering to rapidly deliver new services. If they choose to develop services themselves, they face slow time to market and delays in the monetization of these services.

By adopting a partnership model, operators in developing markets can accelerate their entry into new markets and efficiently drive profitability.

Which technologies do you think will be most important in emerging markets in 2016?

SaaS; OTT

The maturation of SaaS and OTT models give network operators the ability to explore and adopt new services with limited risk and the possibility of tremendous rewards. While service development was costly and resource-intensive, SaaS and OTT have allowed operators to seamlessly incorporate existing services into their business and package them for their users. In 2016, we will see operators in developing markets build new lines of business and capture new revenue through partnering with SaaS and OTT providers. This will benefit the entire value chain from the network operator through to end users.

In the case of OTT services, operators that choose the right partners can benefit from revenue sharing models and grow alongside OTT service providers. It doesn’t have to be a case of one player benefitting from another’s investments. Partnerships with shared value will grow in developing markets and local operators will see the rewards.   

Bob Wise is the President of FreeConferenceCall.com

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