IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Answering the call

Thu 1 Sep 2011
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The government’s planned nationwide fibre-optic Ultrafast Broadband (UFB) network is still little more than a glint in the trench-digger’s eye, but it’s already having an impact on telecommunications pricing.A wholesale broadband price war has broken out as the major telcos jostle to lock in customers before the UFB – and its promise of cheap, ubiquitous connectivity – becomes a reality.

Tumbling business broadband prices are in turn helping to change how technology is used in the office. Vendors are now having much more success convincing those managers in charge of the corporate cheque books that digital communications solutions – VoIP telephony, video conferencing and unified communications – make financial sense."Many people have a misconception that affordable fibre connections are yet to arrive,” says Blair Stewart, general manager of Digital Island, an Auckland-based telecommunications service provider focused on the medium-sized business market (typically businesses with between ten and 200 staff).

But in fact, Stewart says, the business sector, particularly in the main centres, is already well served with fibre connectivity even before the UFB arrives. Most buildings in the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch central business districts are already connected to fibre and the recent wholesale price cuts make using it a much more attractive proposition.

"Fibre pricing has probably halved in the past three months, and I would expect it to halve again in the next six months. It’s amazing,” he says."All this fibre is already there and the pricing is suddenly coming right. That’s opening the door for a huge number of businesses, who couldn’t justify $1000 a month to replace their [DSL] broadband, but they can justify $300 or $500 a month, and they’re now open to signing up for those services.”

Stewart says in the medium-sized business market, the concept of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking – having a direct fibre connection from a business’s PBX (Private Branch exchange) to the service provider’s telephone network – is proving popular because it can be provided considerably cheaper than a traditional ISDN landline connection.Businesses wanting to take advantage of unified communications (UC) – the integration of real-time and non-real-time telephony, video, messaging and data transfer services – are also attracted by SIP trunking, he says. This is because the IP PBX units at the heart of UC deployments connect to SIP trunks rather than ISDN lines.Others in the industry echo Stewart’s prediction that over the next few years VoIP will act as a springboard for enabling greater uptake of UC products and services by local businesses.

In its first New Zealand Communications Market Report, published in August, research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan predicts the local UC market will grow to be worth $212 million by 2017.Frost & Sullivan says spending growth on UC will be driven by larger organisations, predominantly government departments, banks and financial services businesses, who are striving to reduce transport costs and enhance worker productivity by enabling UC features such as email delivery to staff members’ personal devices.

"Almost unanimously [IT managers] were looking to UC for improved business processes and an ability to reduce costs,” says Audrey William, Frost & Sullivan’s ICT research director for Australia and New Zealand."Until recently the biggest challenge was the overall cost of purchasing and running such solutions,” William says."

However, as more and more organisations realise the benefits of their UC deployments this concern is dissipating and we anticipate steady market growth for the next six years.”Claudio Castelli, a senior analyst at research firm Ovum, says whilst uptake of IP telephony by larger organisations is growing in the New Zealand and Australian markets, the pace of growth is slower than in other parts of the world.

According to Ovum’s research, 42 percent of large enterprises in ANZ have yet to deploy IP telephony, compared to 35 percent of equivalent organisations in Europe and 30 percent in the US.Castelli attributes the lower uptake rate in this part of the world to local businesses taking a "phased” approach to communication technology upgrades – they are waiting until existing telephony equipment reaches its end-of-life before replacing it."The original reason companies went for VoIP, and IP telephony in general, was normally so they could have a single infrastructure – there are direct cost savings with that,” Castelli says.

He says corporate motivation to move to an IP-based communications infrastructure has gradually shifted from being purely based on a desire to save money as organisations have realised the productivity gains that are possible through UC."When you go into the next generation of communications systems you are able to get better integration with other applications, like integration of business processes, integration of other ways to communicate and collaborate, such as video, instant messaging and so on.

Even integration with social networking.”One key trend identified by analysts, as business VoIP and UC uptake grows, is a shift towards organisations favouring hosted or managed service options, rather than running their communications services purely on-premise. This trend is driven by businesses’ drive to reduce capital expenses.

According to Ovum, the managed and hosted IP voice service business in Asia-Pacific will increase almost three times over the next five years."The preference will continue to be for on-premise IP PBXs, but many companies will consider relying on a service provider for hosting and system management,” says Castelli."We expect the preference for the hosted approach to rise as more offerings are released into the marketplace and customers realise the benefits of the new cloud models, such as faster deployment times, high flexibility to upscale (or downscale), outsourced management, and utility pricing.”

Frost & Sullivan’s William says the Christchurch earthquakes have been one factor that has encouraged businesses to review their disaster recovery strategies, which intern has heightened interested in hosted telephony and UC solutions."

Currently organisations show a strong desire to own and self-manage their UC infrastructure. However, heightened awareness of the need for redundancy and resilience are expected to drive higher adoption of hosted solutions,” William says."Similarly, business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, which were not seriously considered by businesses prior to the natural disasters, are now regarded as critical in allowing businesses to stay operational despite major disruptions.”

The growth of UC brings with it an increasing ability for business to better integrate the use of mobile phones into their networks.Alan Register, a UC product specialist at Cisco, says applications that enable simultaneous ringing of an employee’s desk phone and mobile – so they can choose which to answer – has been one of the most popular mobile UC features.

Solutions which switch mobiles onto a company’s Wi-Fi network when a user is in the office are becoming increasingly popular because of the ability of this application to save costs by avoiding cellular network charges.

This type of solution is particularly popular with multinationals because it can greatly reduce their international roaming bills for staff travelling to overseas offices.

However, vendors, analysts and service providers see increasing use of video communications as the biggest trend in UC."Video and VoIP go hand-in-hand,” says Cisco’s Register."They’re not really separate technologies, which is the way they’ve been treated in the past, and the way they’re being treated by some vendors out there,” he says."I should be able to make a phone call, and if it’s required, high definition video will pop up so I can have that performance review with my employee, or that customer meeting, just as easily as I can make a phone call. That’s the next wave and there’s a whole lot of business value in being able to retain that face-to-face aspect [without the travel costs].”

Digital Island’s Stewart agrees. "To me the big one is desk-top video meetings. I believe that’s going to be a game-changer in terms of how businesses work. Whether it’s customer service – where you can sit there talking to a customer – through to holding meetings across different sites,” he says."Desktop video is going to be bigger than email in terms of changing the way people work.” 

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Whispir reports significant revenue growth as CaaS market expands
Australian cloud platform Whispir has announced its financial results, reporting significant growth as it continues to introduce new Communications-as-a Service (CaaS) offerings to the market.
Story image
Cradlepoint launches architectural extension of NetCloud solution
With this latest release Cradlepoint is focused on helping lean IT organisations with advanced SD-WAN and zero trust capabilities.
Story image
Ivanti reveals potential ROI of 261% for Endpoint Management Solution
Ivanti has announced the results of a commissioned Total Economic Impact (TEI) study conducted by Forrester Consulting.
Story image
Schneider Electric launches Connected Services with Claroty
Schneider Electric is teaming up with Claroty to assist in maintaining cybersecurity for physical assets - a critical issue.
Story image
8x more users attacked via old Microsoft Office vulnerability in Q2
"Criminals craft malicious documents and convince their victims to open them through social engineering techniques."
Story image
Facial recognition
Benefits vs risks of facial recognition technology
Once a distant, futuristic concept, facial recognition technology is now found in many technological applications with a variety of different functions. 
Story image
Virgin Money works with 9Spokes to create custom offering
Virgin Money has worked with Kiwi SaaS 9Spokes to build a custom version of its business dashboard offering, M-Track, to generate stronger insights for the bank and its customers.
Story image
Can biometrics help? 123% increase in Gen Zs scammed online
In the three years leading up to 2022, the number of Gen Zs who fell victim to online scams rose by 123%, according to Ping Identity.
Story image
How to increase the success rate of business data projects
Amid changing economic conditions and uncertainties about supply chains and staff availability, it's never been more important for New Zealand organisations to be innovative.
Story image
Workday research finds A/NZ organisations becoming leaders in digital agility
New research from Workday and IDC has revealed that Australia and New Zealand are becoming leaders in digital agility.
Story image
CISOs need to consider a risk-based cybersecurity strategy
Rather than talking in terms of attack vectors and vulnerabilities, CISOs and security decision-makers must look at actual business risk.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Why it is imperative to keep up with technology advancements
Technology is constantly evolving, which is why digital transformations can often be complicated. What legacy items stay? Will the new and old work together? Or is there a whole new system that we need to introduce?
Story image
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Cloud Security
Tenable makes additions to Cloud Security portfolio
Tenable has announced additions to Tenable Cloud Security that represent the next step in assessing threats related to cloud vulnerabilities.
Story image
Lucid Software
Lucid Software expands enterprise offerings with enhanced slack apps
Lucid Software has expanded its enterprise offerings with enhanced slack apps for its Lucidspark and Lucidchart technology.
Story image
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Sophos reveals latest ransomware trend impacting orgs
Sophos has announced in a new whitepaper that Hive, LockBit and BlackCat, three prominent ransomware gangs, consecutively attacked the same network.
Story image
Data Protection
Advancing genomic sequencing and public health with digital infrastructures
Right before our eyes, we've witnessed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in record time. An enormous achievement in an otherwise lengthy task that previously took, on average, 10-15 years.
Story image
Demand grows for future-proof mobile access solutions
HID Global, in partnership with IFSEC Global, recently released the 2022 State of Physical Access Control report for the fourth year running.
Story image
Australian Grand Prix uses CENNZnet blockchain for fan experience
CENNZnet was employed by Power'd Digital to deliver the Formula 1 Heineken Australian Grand Prix's 2022 AusGP Access program.
Story image
Kaspersky uncovers new attacks by advanced persistent threat group
The attacks involved modifications of the well-known malware, DTrack, as well as the use of a brand-new Maui ransomware.
Story image
Data Protection
Safeguarding your financial data
As the digital revolution marches on, managing data security has never been more important. Here are five important steps to take toward better financial data security.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Augmented Reality
TeamViewer remote access software integrated into RealWear Cloud
TeamViewer has announced a major expansion of its partnership with RealWear, a leading provider of assisted reality wearable solutions for frontline industrial workers. 
Story image
Contact Centre
Treasure Data launches new customer experience functionality
Treasure Data has introduced a new strategic vision and product positioning for Customer Data Cloud, reflecting the company's focus.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Concentric AI protects sensitive data with new capabilities
The new capability reveals sensitive data shared across email and business messaging platforms and highlights who has inappropriate access to content.
Story image
Investment in APAC cold storage to reach $5 in next decade
Investment in Asia Pacific’s cold storage market is expected to grow fivefold in the next decade, according to JLL.
Story image
Avast reveals zero-day exploits targeting Chrome and Microsoft
Avast, released its Q2/2022 Threat Report today, revealing a significant increase in global ransomware attacks, up 24% from Q1/2022.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Top tips for making your finance transformation program a resounding success
Planning to make 2023 the year you embark on a wholesale finance transformation program? It’s a move that will stand your enterprise in excellent stead as you navigate the complexities of the post-Covid business landscape.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Federated change is the best path to digital evolution
Businesses that can successfully manage the exponentially expanding masses of data produced by modern consumers will be the businesses that survive and prosper.
Story image
CM Group recognised as Best Overall MarTech Company
MarTech Breakthrough has ranked CM Group as the Best Overall MarTech Company for the third year running and Cheetah Digital as Best Overall Marketing Campaign Management Solution.
Story image
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Mendix
Mendix is a low-code platform used by businesses to develop mobile and web apps at scale, and Jornt joins us today to discuss how these offerings work, and what benefit they have in the development process.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Is your chatbot bringing down the customer satisfaction score?
The top 10 reasons why chatbots are failing to meet customer expectations and what you must do to avoid that.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Appier achieves historically high growth rate of 56% YoY
"Our strong momentum over the past two quarters underscores Appier's significant growth alongside our customers."
Story image
Data analytics
Pressure on orgs to up their data analytics game - study
A recent report from Sisense highlights data transmission, analysis, and risk management remain top concerns for data professionals in APAC.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner unveils key emerging tech to watch in 2022
"Such technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters," says Gartner.
Story image
Lacework launches new capabilities for better threat detection
Lacework has announced new capabilities that enable organisations to uncover more critical threats to their infrastructure and empower teams.
Story image
Email scams
HelpSystems shines light on impact of response-based threats
Response-based attacks targeting corporate inboxes have climbed to their highest volume since 2020, representing 41% of all email-based scams.
Story image
Dynatrace extends application security capabilities for runtime environments
Dynatrace has announced that it has extended its Application Security Module to detect and protect against vulnerabilities in runtime environments.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.