Mobility to help expansion of SMBs
Abu Dhabi, April 30, 2008
Mobility technologies will help small and medium businesses expand and fight rising operational costs, according to an Etisalat official.
“Small and medium businesses are facing a major challenge – how to grow to continue to meet the industry demand, whilst protecting themselves from over exposure to debt and inflationary costs. Mobility solutions, such as mobile email, managed services and mobile payments are perfect options for companies looking to expand their customer base for the foreseeable future,” said Etisalat’s vice-president for Small and Medium Businesses Khalifa al Shamsi.
He was addressing an audience of entrepreneurs at the GCC Small and Medium Businesses Conference
For an SMB the major costs are its office location, its ICT infrastructure, and its personnel costs. Mobility solutions such as Etisalat’s BlackBerry service, its Internet Mobile Broadband (3.5G router, USB Mobile modem and 3.5G Data card), and M-Payment solutions, as well as its portfolio of managed services, and in particular data hosting, make a major impact on the expenses of any company.
“M-Payment solutions are the latest method for SMBs to reach a global audience. Around the world, consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to using electronic channels for their purchases, and mobile will become an increasingly important medium due to the proliferation of phones, PDAs and other access technologies,” said Al Shamsi.
Mobile devices are currently reported to be outselling PCs four to one , and with two thirds of the world’s population lives within range of a cell phone tower - in the UAE, 100pc of the population is covered by a 2G network, whilst more than 98pc also have access to 3.5G mobile data – the opportunities for mobile commerce are predicted to be massive.
“We have seen reports that since the beginning of 2007 and in less than a year, more than 500,000 domain addresses with the new ‘.mobi’ extension have been sold – this shows that companies are confident about mobile commerce and are developing their strategies with a mobile element. The technology for secure transactions via mobile is here, and the services are now beginning to be introduced to the market,” Khalifa said.
Khalifa continued to discuss how the cost of personnel and the challenge of retention is one of the major dilemmas within the Middle East, and for SMBs this is doubly critical as they lack many of the retention abilities of larger companies.
“Outsourcing is one of the most essential decisions for an SMB to take. The IT department is an expensive drain on resources, and does not necessarily assure of the maximum levels of security. Outsourcing hosting of servers and the negotiation of an Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a qualified service provider can significantly increase the company’s productivity and reduce down time.”
“It is not unusual for executives to check their email on the move, meet a colleague at a coffee shop, then have a teleconference via a mobile phone and finally, sign an electronic contract before retiring for the evening,” Al Shamsi concluded. “Business is about relationships and these relationships are enhanced and made more efficient through the use of mobile technologies.”
Earlier this week, Etisalat has launched a new 3.5G router which provides wireless internet to around 32 persons at the same time using only one SIM card, which means that those companies can access high speed Internet easily. This device is totally portable, bringing a ‘virtual company’ to any location within the UAE. – TradeArabia News Service