Following our last post, commenting on how the largest mobile phone and software vendors are all targeting video communications and collaboration on the desktop this summer, this week we’ve seen another vendor announce a new product that could have a significant impact.
Just in time for the holiday season, Nokia has announced the new Lumia 1020 Windows smartphone, designed to work with 4G. This challenges the iPhone and Galaxy smartphones with a larger than usual screen, and a headline-grabbing 41 megapixel camera. It promises the glossiest pictures ever taken on a smart phone.
Nokia’s Lumia is up against stiff competition from the iPhone, Android and Microsoft devices, which are all millions of units ahead in terms of sales, and appear have better operating systems. All of these are popular devices that people have been bringing to work for some time. In the typical corporate environment where the focus is first and foremost on telephone systems for business, people are using their smartphones to access the Internet, download their email and to use their personal apps.
However, although they were not designed as business telephone systems, the smartphone and tablet vendors are starting to make deeper inroads into the business market with video communications and collaboration. Apple which offers Facetime, has a new app which allows Apple users to view documents created in Office. Microsoft is offering their own tablet computer, the Surface, which delivers Office software and High Definition video. Considering that Microsoft also has Skype, with the arrival of 4G networks and fibre to the home, we see a perfect storm of users who will want to use video at work – if their office network will allow them to do so without too much latency.
With the ability to make video calls so easily, and greater use of high definition images, the extra load on corporate networks is potentially enormous, and not all of this will be business data. If the Lumia 1020 finds its niche in the marketplace, people will be creating some huge image files and will be hungry for bandwidth to download their photos onto their computers.
Most businesses want to support the bandwidth demands of smartphone users, and some can use this strategically – for example, in retail and hospitality settings, having access to a Wi-Fi network is good for business, as it encourages visitors to feel comfortable and linger longer on the premises.
So as well as supporting the devices, Connect is now working on the best way to monitor and manage the networks, how to provide sufficient bandwidth to support conferencing, how to prioritise access to networks, and how to provide enough capacity for visitors to check their emails and update their Facebook pages, whilst always monitoring who is using what.