If there’s one safe bet in 2012, it’s that cloud will remain a hot topic. That’s because for service providers, for enterprises of every size and for consumers, cloud-based IT and communications services are lucrative, cost-effective and convenient, respectively. In other words, the cloud fills a real-world need.

Here are five ways that the cloud market will evolve in 2012:

>> Wider adoption. Many enterprises, government agencies and other organizations already use the cloud. Their success stories are increasing awareness of the cloud’s bottom-line benefits, spurring further adoption in 2012 and beyond. Just as important, this adoption is growing across all organization sizes.

>> Cloud’s wireless tether. By some estimates, 70 percent of cloud users will get access via wireless by 2015. That’s no surprise, considering how enterprises are increasingly equipping their employees with tablets and smartphones, which have the processing power, displays and broadband connectivity necessary to provide a good user experience with cloud services on the go – including those with such real-time needs as voice and video.

>> Death of the deskphone. Cloud services are yet another nail in the deskphone’s coffin because they enable tablets and smartphones to integrate seamlessly with PBXs. That migration eliminates the capex of the deskphones themselves and their opex. Just as important, that integration can be over Wi-Fi – in the office, the employee’s home office or a hotel room – saving additional money than if all calls were over wireless.

>> Video gets democratized. The price of videoconferencing and video-calling endpoints keeps falling, but the steep cost of such network infrastructure as bridges still is holding back many enterprise implementations, particularly among small and medium-sized businesses. That problem has spawned a growing number of cloud-based services designed to make video affordable enough that enterprises can provide it to rank-and-file employees instead of just to executives.

>> Continued consolidation. You’ve probably noticed the spate of M&A activity among data-center operators during the past year, including telcos and cable operators using those acquisitions so they can offer a wide range of cloud services. Expect more consolidation in 2012 as data-center operators and service providers scale up to meet demand.

Sanjay Srinivasan, CTO, Telesphere

The Daily



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