Technology that Will Shape Business in Ireland in 2016 – Part 1

Three Business Blog Team
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On: 22 Jan 2016
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In this blog, David Hennessy, CTO, Three Ireland, outlines his top technology expectations for business in Ireland in 2016.

2016 will no doubt be another year of pivotal technology change and development. For businesses, both in Ireland and globally, it is vital to keep abreast of the opportunities that new technology and mobile communication developments bring, for greater efficiency and competitive edge.

David, what do you think will really move from hype to reality in the technology and communication space in 2016?

The Internet of Things (IoT) will become a viable reality. Last year we witnessed the start of this and various countries around the world including France, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, UK, and India to name a few, are now working on national infrastructure roll-outs to provide dedicated radio coverage to support IoT rather than just talking vision. While a full global solution may still be fragmented and there are a variety of challenges to be addressed – including standards and security – the wheels are now in motion and I think we will see increased velocity of IoT deployment over the coming year. It may well be some time before the majority of businesses are embracing IoT within their products and services, however, it is something they should be researching and investigating right now.

Name one technology development that businesses will have to consider in 2016?

Contactless payments on mobile will gain momentum and catch up with card based payments. It has taken some time for the market to establish equilibrium in its approach. Setting a standard model across different device and payments systems was essential in order to create a globally acceptable model. But a debate held at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January in Las Vegas indicates that the early challenges behind contactless payments have now been ironed out and mobile manufacturers like Apple and Samsung are delivering this functionality on their products. In the Irish market we are also seeing developments like Wirecard’s new mobile payment solution `boon’ becoming available on Android smartphones in Ireland from December 2015. Any business that handles card transactions should be thinking about adopting a mobile payments strategy in 2016.

And how about on the connectivity front?

I expect to see businesses converging their use of different communication networks. This will help them achieve better coverage and reliable access to data and greater responsiveness as an organisation. Particularly we’ll see further take up of both voice over LTE (4G) and voice and text over Wi-Fi in business environments. With 4G offering up to three times the capability of 3G and more bandwidth efficiency than 3G, its increased use will extend and free up corporate networks to make both mobile voice and data more pervasive. Add to that the ability for mobile devices to default to using Wi-Fi networks when required. Businesses will benefit from being able to synchronise their various network investments into one solution.

Finally, what is likely to have the most profound effect on the mobile market?

In the mobile space particularly we will see further changes to the SIM card. We have already seen developments around the eSIM or virtual SIM and in 2016 I expect the future of the physical SIM card to become increasingly debated. Phones developed and manufactured with virtual SIMs may adapt the way mobile network operators and device manufacturers work together. The removal of the physical SIM will also give manufacturers greater flexibility over the form factor of devices leading to greater innovation opportunities in mobile technology. The GSM Association still has decisions to make on how the concept of eSIM will work but I expect this to be a big change over the next two to three years. Businesses should be thinking about how more flexible mobile arrangements and radically different devices brought about through SIM technology changes may help them deal with efficiency and innovation.

Read part 2