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Ten Things to Watch for in 2020

The ICT industry is constantly changing, and at LB3 and TC2 we keep a close eye on these developments so we can help you understand how these changes affect your company.  Here are ten things we’re watching in 2020:

  1. Catching the 5G Wave

The new 5G wireless access technology promises to offer speeds hundreds of times faster than today’s 4G networks, connect billions of new devices, and improve latency and service levels.  5G has its ICT industry skeptics and controversy, but 2020 is the year that companies need to stop just “hearing” about 5G and start planning to take advantage of this technological game changer.

  1. Coping with the California Consumer Privacy Act

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect on January 1, 2020.  California enacted CCPA to provide consumer privacy protection for its residents, and if your company interacts with California residents you likely need to comply with CCPA’s requirements.  Enterprises must understand those requirements and act to meet them, which may require your vendor’s help.  Enterprises must also watch for potential changes and understand the penalties for non-compliance.

  1. Is Voice Dead?

The report of voice’s death is greatly exaggerated.  While voice services have changed over the years and become a part of an enterprise’s unified communications solution and a much smaller revenue source for wireless carriers, it is still a strategic product and carriers continue to take positions that are costly and confusing for enterprise customers.  In 2020 enterprises must plan around the general demise of voice and determine how they can still obtain (under reasonable terms) the voice they still need.

  1. Blockchain:  A Chain of Fools?

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology, has garnered a lot of press over the last few years.  Many believe that blockchain can help network service providers and ICT customers improve internal operations, from ordering, billing and payment systems, to wireless roaming, to supply chain management.  Does blockchain have a place in the ICT industry and if so, where?

  1. Notable Supplier Mergers

There was some notable M&A activity in the communications industry in 2019.  It seems likely that Sprint and T-Mobile will finally receive regulatory approval to merge, TEM providers Calero and MDSL announced they were combining, and onetime communications equipment powerhouse Avaya announced plans to enter into a strategic partnership with RingCentral, a cloud-based UC provider.  Cisco, long the tiger in the room, is facing a less dominant position in some areas.  These and other M&A transactions could affect what enterprises buy and from whom.

  1. The Time has Come for SD-WAN

SD-WAN is a network edge solution quickly gaining favor in the enterprise WAN.  Enterprises that have made the move to SD-WAN are seeing marked improvements in service performance and sizeable reductions in cost.  But before making a wholesale network change, a company needs to weigh the cost/benefit of buying a managed solution or deploying a DIY SD-WAN solution.  2020 will continue to create SD-WAN challenges and opportunities for enterprises.

  1. Service Providers Commit to SDN and NFV

With the enormous growth of network traffic from video, UC and social media platforms, streaming, and the tsunami of traffic expected from 5G and IoT, network service providers have re-architected their networks to support the demand.  Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) are solutions that reduce the service provider’s need to add boxes and cabling and enable them to use software to centrally manage and control their network and virtualize network services.

  1. Operating in a Multi-Cloud Environment

Amazon is the undisputed leader in providing cloud services to enterprises, but Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, IBM, and others are starting to chip away at that dominance.  The move to the cloud shows no sign of slowing and the ability to manage a multi-cloud environment is a growing concern for CIOs.  Enterprises need to rethink how they are using people, process, and tools to address this important requirement.

  1. Data Security and Disaster Recovery Diminish Distress

Enterprises continue to spend millions (an amount growing annually by 15% or more) to shore up their security because a data breach could cause lasting damage to the brand and a major embarrassment for the company.  A breach may also obligate you to pay a large penalty under numerous and increasingly stringent privacy laws, including Europe’s GDPR, California’s CCPA, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Act, or significant damages from a class action lawsuit.  Moreover, given the turmoil in the world (and the move to SD-WAN), enterprises are also focused on disaster recovery, resiliency, and network protection.  There’s no time like the present for an enterprise to evaluate its compliance with these laws, to improve security which reduces the risk of data breaches, and to update its disaster recovery plans and network resiliency.

  1. 911 Regulations: 2020 is the Year to Protect Your Employees and Stay Out of the Press

In 2020 new FCC regulations go into effect that aim to improve 911 emergency calling in the US.  These regulations impact most enterprises installing, operating or managing multi-line telephone systems (“MLTS”).  First, MLTS must allow users to directly call emergency services by dialing 911 without dialing a prefix (e.g., “9”) to reach an outside line.  Second, under the new regulations, enterprises operating MLTS must transmit dispatchable location information with each 911 call.  There are exceptions, qualifications, and rolling compliance dates.  Enterprises need to understand how these changes, which are complex, impact them including any systems or equipment changes, and as more enterprises turn to third parties for compliance help, what they need to consider in those contracts to get the best value from those relationships.  As a result of these new requirements 2020 will be the year of 911, and enterprises will focus on how to keep their employees and guests safe and avoid any bad publicity.

Want to learn more about the above?  We will be releasing up-to-date podcasts and articles on a weekly basis.  Can’t wait?  Contact Deb Boehling, Laura McDonald, or Joe Schmidt or click here for more enterprise focused articles, podcasts and our upcoming conferences schedule.

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