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BICS has had a successful few years establishing itself as the go-to communications enabler in the APAC region. To support this growth, we’ve expanded our regional office by 30% over the last 12 months. Not only growing our sales department, we’ve also expanded our engineering and support teams to provide seamless on-boarding for our customers in the region such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, Info-Communications and Digital Service Providers.

The number of customers using roaming services has increased dramatically in recent years. This is thanks to the growing accessibility of 4G services, as well as the increase in the availability of easy to deploy tools which allow providers to deliver roaming services to their customers. The number of connected devices is also growing, alongside users’ expectation that service quality and experience should be universal and not subject to additional fees, wherever they are in the world.

Business growth today is reliant on the two-pronged proposition of global reach and a localised, high quality end-user experience. Digitalisation, and cloud technology in particular, has allowed companies to pursue and achieve these goals. In just two years’ time, 90% of businesses will have moved to the cloud, and by 2020 the market for cloud services will be worth a staggering $241 billion. The recent spate of cloud-focused deals – including Deloitte’s expansion into cloud services and Microsoft’s acquisition of open source cloud company Deis – supports these predictions and demonstrates the prominence of these services to a cross-section of industries.

Recently, we've announced that following approval from regulators, TeleSign will join the BICS family, with an acquisition which combines our global network and reach to mobile operators with TeleSign’s leading cloud communications platform and mobile identity and authentication solutions. As a result of the deal, we will create the world’s first end-to-end Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) provider. CPaaS allows developers and product owners to easily add real-time communications features into their applications and services without having to build backend infrastructure and interfaces.

The Internet of Things is a huge business opportunity for innovators and service providers alike. Technavio's analysts forecast the global cellular M2M connections and services market to grow at a CAGR of 29.98% during the period 2016-2020. From connected cars to utilities, heavy industry and manufacturing, practically every vertical sector is being transformed by M2M, providing operators with the platform to  deliver the connectivity required to drive this evolution. According to a survey conducted by 451 Research, approximately 65% of enterprises utilize IoT solutions for business purposes. 

In 2016, BICS further consolidated its position in the North American market. An office was opened on the West Coast at the end of 2015, and last year we leveraged that presence not only to further boost our credentials in the region, but also to bring us closer to potential Digital Service Provider (DSP) customers in the Silicon Valley and the entire West Coast. By opening an office in San Francisco, we aimed to get closer to prospective customers, increase our customer base and grow our portfolio of solutions through customer intimacy. I am pleased to say that this was a success. 

Holidaymakers and frequent travelers on the continent had cause to celebrate few weeks back, when the EU announced it would put an end to roaming surcharges once and for all, helping mobile users avoid sky-high phone bills when they return home. Following almost ten years of negotiations in Brussels, it was also decided that wholesale charges for data will initially be capped at €7.70 per gigabyte, dropping to €2.50 in 2022. Voice calls will be capped at 3.2 cents per minute, and SMS at 1 cent per message. The changes come into effect mid-June, which means that for many families travelling in Europe for half term, this month will mark the last time they could risk a hefty holiday phone bill.

The BICS team is nearing the end of a busy week in Barcelona, having met and chatted with customers, partners, press and analysts at our stand at the Mobile World Congress. We also found brief snippets of time to explore the halls here and discover the technology and talking points dominating the 2017 event. Developments in the IoT and the potential of 5G were huge this year, and with knowledge and experience of the Internet of Things, BICS is well positioned to help companies make the most of this technology. A number of car manufacturers were exhibiting this year, showing off concept smart cars and discussing connectivity initiatives.

In just a few days’ time the BICS team will be Barcelona-bound, as we return to Mobile World Congress on February 27th. Despite our long history of attendance, no two years are the same. The past 12 months have seen a whirlwind of M&A activity, the emergence of new mobile services and digital experiences, the increasingly global adoption of 4G LTE, and continued maturation of the IoT. All of these factors will influence discussion and announcements at the show this year, and we can’t wait to be part of it.

The GSMA has identified seven overarching themes for the 2017 event; connected consumers, entertainment, sustainable development goals, the fourth industrial revolution, the pervasive network, ecosystem enablers, and disruption. 

Humans are natural born communicators, machines are not. This throws up challenges to the success of the internet of things (IoT), which is based on an expanding web of connected devices (the ‘machines’), all communicating with their owners and with each other. We are seeing a huge global shift towards companies connecting assets, but how can we ensure these connections are reliable? How can companies integrate the growing number of different devices into their business on a global scale, and ensure they all communicate seamlessly? BICS is well positioned to enable this communication, but before looking at the solution, it’s worth examining just how much companies can gain from the IoT.