Nortel says study it funded proves its point

A study funded by Nortel Networks proves the company’s contention that communications connectivity is about to explode, the company says, and if organizations aren’t prepared they will lose employees as well as business.

For about a year Nortel – whose business it is to sell communications products and services – has been saying we live in a world of so-called hyperconnectivity, a term it has embedded in all of its marketing material.

On Tuesday it released a study it paid IDC to do of 2,400 people in 17 countries three months ago about their use of personal technology devices, which found 16 per cent are already “hyperconnected” – meaning they use at least seven IT devices and nine software applications for work and play. Another 36 per cent are “increasingly connected,” meaning they use fewer devices and applications, and less intensely.

But IDC estimated that as more young people enter the workforce, the number of “hyperconnected” people in the workforce could grow soon to be 40 per cent.

Not only that, the study found, a large number of the people surveyed expect to use so-called Web 2.0 applications such as FaceBook at work both for business and personal use. It also discovered the fact that people text message from everywhere including restaurants, their beds and their houses of worship.

The significance of this and other findings is that organizations have to adapt their networks to the increasing strains it will face, John Roese, Nortel’s chief information officer told reporters at a briefing.

CIOs have to be aware that “a new wave of consumers, a new wave of employees and a new set of monetization opportunities” are coming.

“We have to embrace and understand the blurring of the intranet and the Internet is starting to occur,” he said. Under questioning, Roese acknowledged the study merely proved what’s already known – that as the cost of Internet connectivity has dropped the number of users has gone up.

“To be perfectly honest, at an IT level all of this is completely obvious,” he said. But, he said, it gives a “data point” to CIOs that this is happening at scale and faster than anticipated.

“It gives the CIO air cover to go back to the CEO and say the demand is greater than the traditional budget model we use to build our IT infrastructure,” he said. Nortel not only tries to build good products but “we also give them air cover for them to them to – and I hate to say it – drop the [IDC] white paper on the CEO’s desk when they ask for the next $1 million to go and incorporate next generation experience into their application environment.”

IDC vice-president Vito Mabrucco, who is also managing director of the company’s Canadian division, presented the study results. He acknowledged that IDC could have picked another word to describe the avid users of technology other than “hyperconnected,” but said the study’s results would have been the same.

Roese said to meet the increasing demands of users it has been working on a number of unified communications projects and applications, some of which it has already released and some which will come to market soon.

One about to come out has been dubbed Rendezvous, a capability to be added to its Sofware Communications Server, which will give organizations the ability to expand messaging. For example, if a caller can’t get a person in the company because they don’t answer the phone, the system will track when the intended recipient is using the phone through presence embeded in the communications infrastructure. It then dials the caller, asks if he wants to be connected to the person and connects the two.

Roese said pricing of the feature hasn’t been determined yet. But he said it’s vital for product manufacturers and organizations to approach their IT and communications infrastructures with new ideas such as this to meet the demands of customers and employees.

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