Flexible working will become the new norm, so service providers must be able to offer hosted Mobile UC services

Demand for flexible and teleworking options is growing globally, and will become the dominant way of working in future. Offering Mobile UC services and capabilities to B2B customers not only gives service providers a steady, predictable revenue stream, but can also help to differentiate your offering.

A new survey by PGi indicates that teleworking is becoming the dominant way in which the world works. Work is no longer a place, instead it spans well beyond the office walls, and the 9 to 5 routine.

PGi’s Telework Survey, polled nearly 3,000 knowledge workers in North America, Europe, The Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific Japan about their working habits, and a resounding 79 per cent said that they worked outside the office, with one day per week being the most prevalent teleworking setup, followed by 2-3 days working outside the office.

The survey also revealed that ‘flexible working’ – a hybrid of in-office and out-of-office work – was the most popular form of working around the world.

There are a number of drivers for this. First, says the report, 66 per cent of respondents said that their organisation had become more positive towards offering teleworking options. From an employee’s point of view, survey respondents reported a number of benefits, the top three being:

  • It eliminates or reduces commuting time;
  • It provides a better work/life balance; and
  • They are more productive when offered flexible working options.

Interestingly, 60 per cent of teleworkers worldwide said that they would leave their existing job for a similar job at the same pay rate if they could work from home full time.

Combined with the growing trend of mobility and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), whereby employees expect to use their personal mobile device of choice for work purposes using a host of UC applications, these trends suggest that demand for mobile unified communications (UC) and collaboration applications – including but not limited to messaging, email, file sharing, collaboration applications, and video and audio conferencing – is only set to grow.

At the same time, an increasing number of surveys and predictions suggest that organisations are moving away from premise-based, PBX-type solutions, towards hosted UC and UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) solutions, particularly in the mid-market, as hosted solutions remove the high cost of purchasing and maintaining costly infrastructure and software.

Service providers cannot afford to ignore these trends. Customers demand fully mobile, hosted UC solutions, and that demand is only going to accelerate.

Indeed, it also provides a compelling revenue opportunity for service providers that understand the needs of their customers. Most importantly, we are talking about business customers, a promising and potentially lucrative segment that MVNOs and MNOs should already be targeting.

Hosted and Mobile UC services not only provide an opportunity for service providers to offer subscription-based services, and therefore a steady and predictable monthly revenue stream, but also provide significant scope for upselling new features and capabilities, such as call recording, mobile IP calling and Skype for Business, all of which can add significant new revenue streams.

Each customer will no doubt require a different mix of services that will evolve over time according to their needs. Some of our customers, for example, charge fixed fees for a mobile IP service; others charge for mobile call recording or conferencing, or a combination of different packages. By growing with your customers over time, hosted Mobile UC services can become a differentiator for service providers.