In a sluggish economy, demand for more affordable communications options continues to proliferate across the world – and managed service provider EcoCarrier plans to introduce new services to help meet these needs at the upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) Miami 2013 event in Miami, Fla.
The Canada-based company plans to officially roll out its PiFi and PiFi Services, designed to make mobile data services for Wi-Fi-enabled devices ubiquitous and affordable for all travelers.
The new service aims to offer the lowest-cost way of making international voice calls while mobile roaming with a smartphone.
EcoCarrier will also introduce its IntelliDR Network, which has points of presence (PoP) in some 15 countries including Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Morocco, Libya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Sudan and carries in excess of 25 million minutes of call traffic monthly for call termination on the direct routes for wholesale carrier service.
EcoCarrier provides managed services, with products such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) gateway, prepaid calling card, pinless calling card, roaming SIM card, mobile broadband on demand (mobile Internet services), callback services and PC-to-phone services.
TMCnet recently had the opportunity to catch up with Carl KS Teo, president of EcoCarrier, who believes the most significant technology trend affecting the way businesses conduct operations today is mobile connectedness and its increasingly ubiquitous availability.
“Technology and network facility are becoming available for use in an ever more extensive reach and coverage reaching into all manners of business activities and all kinds of business operations and country and geographical coverage,” Teo told TMCnet.
As companies from all over the world struggle to compete in an uncertain economy, cloud computing is changing the way organizations operate, making new technologies affordable for all size businesses.
For example, businesses can now avail themselves of the most powerful suite of software for as little cost as $30 a month service fee in a cloud computing service model, according to Teo. However, security concerns around cloud computing remain and are being addressed by the market.
“A reasonable level of security is available with cloud computing,” Teo said. “Building better security is an evolving process that involves the participation of hackers to stress-test the security in place for use. I don’t think it is an impediment to the adoption of cloud computing-based services by the user public.”
For many businesses, including EcoCarrier, the unprecedented growth of social media has changed the way they manage customers.
“In many ways, it has to do with, ‘what’s the best way to reach out to your customers?’ We have to be with it in order to keep up with the competitions and the new players in our space,” Teo explained.
In addition to “cloud,” the term “customer experience” has become another buzzword and 2013 may well become characterized as the “Year of Customer Experience.” Teo said EcoCarrier is using social media and the so-called blogosphere to improve its customers’ experiences.
Keeping in mind that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is now pervasive and no longer a phenomenon, Teo said EcoCarrier is encouraging BYOD given that the company’s services are offered in a managed services model.
“We try not to have to handle any hardware device. Today it is reasonable to expect that most, if not all, the hardware devices in the market are reasonably well built and made in compliance to industry specifications and protocols,” he said.
In addition, Bring Your Own Storage (or rather, Bring Your Own Cloud-based Storage) – and dealing with it may, in fact, now be the new major issue most enterprises and solutions providers need to deal with. As an MSP, EcoCarrier is prepared to deal with BYOS through independent vendors.
“As a managed service provider offering all services online, all storage of data relative to the relationships and transactions that we have with our clients are available in storage online and on-demand by our clients in our web servers,” Teo said.
Looking at other communications trends, Unified Communications (News - Alert) and VoIP have moved beyond the early adopter phase into the mainstream, yet challenges still remain that businesses must contend with as they determine when and how to migrate to IP-based communications.
“In the case of the large companies, it’s cash flow,” Teo said. “In the case of small business it is lack of knowledge, in-house expertise and cash flow.”
Give the latest PC figures, Teo believes that we will eventually see an end of the laptop, although it may be this year. Gartner (News - Alert) recently said worldwide PC shipments totaled 90.3 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 4.9 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2011.
“It does look likely that laptops will go into the history book sooner or later but may be not in 2013,” he said.
Teo also believe that Windows 8 will significantly impact the mobile market and be a real contender in a market dominated by iOS and Android, while RIM continues to lose marketshare.
“With Microsoft’s (News - Alert) clout in distribution, Windows 8 may still be able to gain a significant share of the market. RIM’s prospects are confined to some countries where they have already a large customer base,” he said.
As video continues to proliferate, 2013 will bring widespread video communications adoption because all the tools are readily available at affordable prices, including cloud-based-offer pricing and businesses can now engage reasonably good people to do video creation and production for a small expense, Teo pointed out.
The most disruptive technology that will hit mainstream markets this year will be the 3D printer, he predicted, and the one misconception he would like to see set straight in the technology markets is “money is the root of all evil.”
“It should be ‘the love of money is the root of all evils,’” Teo said. “One should read the book ‘How Much is Enough?’ by Skidelsky, Robert Jacob Alexander.”
Looking ahead to ITEXPO Miami 2013, Teo said he looks forward to the company’s exciting announcements and meeting face-to-face with potential news partners.
He summarized, “We look forward to meeting suitably-positioned individuals or corporations to discuss the opportunities and benefits our various business propositions.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Braden Becker