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September 29, 2010
September 29, 2010

360networks SVP and ITEXPO Speaker Talks Trends, Wireless Backhaul

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Communications trends that are emerging today are truly directing the way in which we not only communicate, but also organize information. The most significant trend, according to Rick Coma, senior vice president of 360networks, is found in two different key areas: smartphones and wireless data. Coma recently took part in a TMCnet interview in anticipation of the upcoming ITEXPO West 2010 event. 

When asked about the one product or service most needed in the market, Coma pointed to ubiquitous mobile VoIP. As for when communications will go mainstream, Coma believes it will be in about two to three years. He points to Google, Apple (News - Alert) and RIM as all winners in the smartphone/tablet wars and acknowledges that social media has not really changed the way he and his company communicate with customers. Coma does not believe HD voice will be widespread in 2011 and that mobile video chat or conferencing is becoming highly demanded in the consumer market. 

When asked which wireless operating system will see the greatest success in the next three years, Coma pointed to Android and its leadership. As for wireless networks replacing wires, Coma feels that people do not trust their voice to wireless and therefore this change is not coming. The impact of the growth of cloud-based services on 360networks’ (News - Alert) business is starting to grow. 

At this year’s ITEXPO, Coma will be speaking about wireless backhaul. Attendees to this session will take away a better understanding of this market.The entire conversation is provided below:

What is the most significant trend in communications today? Why?

I would have to say smart phones and wireless data.  Both are changing the way people communicate, view and distribute content, requiring our industry to come up with more effective and efficient ways to keep pace with expanding capacity needs. 

What is the one product or service the market is most in need of?

Ubiquitous mobile VoIP.

When will unified communications go mainstream?

I would say in two to three years.

Who will win the smartphone wars? Tablet wars?

Google, Apple and RIM.

Has social media changed how you communicate with customers?

Not really. As a wholesaler, ours is a face-to-face, person-to-person business. We know our customers personally and communicate with them on a daily basis. Our high-touch customer service remains an important component of our overall service delivery. Social media may augment, but won’t replace that.

What are your thoughts on the viability of mobile video chat or conferencing?

We are starting to see it some in the consumer market today. As the technologies evolve we will see more, all of which will continue to drive increasing demand for bandwidth. 

Which wireless operating system (Android, iOS4, Microsoft (News - Alert), etc.) will see the greatest success over the next three years? Why?

Android. They took the lead and will continue.

Some have suggested wireless networking will soon replace wired networks in the enterprise. Do you agree? Why or why not?

No, people don’t trust their voice to wireless and a lot of areas don’t get good wireless coverage. As LTE (News - Alert) becomes more widely deployed we will see more small enterprise customers move in that direction.

What impact has the growth of cloud-based services had on your business?

It’s starting to have a bigger impact on our overall business. Similar to video chat, cloud based services will require additional capacity and our industry will have to come up with creative ways to keep pace without sacrificing quality for price. 

You are speaking at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2010. What is your session about?

I’ll be speaking about wireless backhaul on Oct. 6, in particular discussing the various alternatives available and expanding a discussion that has primarily been about connectivity to the tower to a broader, regional approach.

What will attendees take away from your session?

A better understanding of wireless backhaul market, what wireless carriers are looking for today and who is in the best position to deliver.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf
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