Over the past decade, cable operators have made impressive inroads in the very small and small-to-midsized (SMB) business markets, capturing up to 20% or more of the revenues from these rapidly growing segments of the commercial telecom space. In fact, in some parts of North America, operators have actually become the largest players in the bottom half of the commercial market, edging out the incumbent telcos.
Largely as a result, the seven largest US MSOs alone collectively generated more than $12 billion in business services revenues last year, according to the latest figures compiled by Heavy Reading. And that total is still rising by about 20% annually.
Now, emboldened by their striking success with very small firms and SMBs and needing to maintain their strong momentum in the business service market because of lagging growth in their core residential video market, cable operators are setting their sights higher. Seeking to capture an even shinier prize, operators are shifting more and more of their focus to larger regional firms and national companies.
Yet, even as they do that, cable providers risk missing out on another, possibly even more promising commercial opportunity -- the mobile enterprise. That's because businesses -- both smaller and larger -- are increasingly searching for ways to serve their ever more mobile workforces and customers with innovative mobility solutions.
As research studies have shown, today's consumers and workers have become far more mobile than ever before. For instance, one study found that millennials, who make up about a third of the world's population, now do almost everything on some kind of mobile device. In particular, the study showed that millennials prefer to use their smartphones and tablets to do business, with 70% favoring their smaller mobile devices over their larger PCs for work purposes.
As a result, there are more and more commercial transactions being conducted over mobile devices, whether work or personal devices. Indeed, according to another recent study, smartphones and tablets will account for three-quarters, or 75%, of all enterprise applications by 2017. Further, the study revealed that nearly 70% of mobile professionals will use their personal mobile devices for business communications and transactions by 2018.
How can cable operators, who often lack mobility solutions today, cater to this lucrative and growing part of the commercial market? What kinds of mobility products and services do they need to develop and deploy? What challenges must they overcome?
We will be exploring the mobile enterprise opportunity for cable operators in a series of three blogs and a white paper over the next few weeks, as well as a webinar on the subject sponsored by Mitel Networks Corp. and moderated by me on Wednesday. To find out more about this upcoming webinar, "The Rise of the Mobile Enterprise for Cable Operators," and sign up for it, please click on this registration link.
This blog is sponsored by Mitel as the first installment of a three-part series on cable's mobile enterprise opportunity.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading