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inherent disadvantage compared to enterprise-scale organizations. The effects of an attack on an SMB are proportionately different as well. When a small business experiences a breach, it’s more than just a hack of confidential data – the entire company is at risk. SMBs don’t have the funds that corporations do to react in a crisis situ- ation, bring in crews to assess the risk and attack, and respond in a way that cements customer loyalty. Reputations are typically damaged beyond repair, so SMBs must take precautions now to pre- pare against this increasing threat if they want to survive. As a result, investment in solutions that offer built-in security are on the rise among this set, especially managed security. The Directive survey found that 81 percent of respondents are putting funds toward security, as well as mobile device management (51 percent). 3. EmergingTechnology Adoption SMBs are growing comfortable with the basics of digital transformation, and many organizations are setting their sights on cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and aug- mented reality-based collaboration. In 2018, spending on the software, hardware and services that enable digital transformation will reach nearly $1.3 trillion, predicts analyst firm IDC. That figure represents a 16.8 percent jump compared to the $1.1 trillion spent this year. By 2021, IDC expects that digital transformation spending will reach nearly $2.1 trillion. “While some industries are more fo- cused on the core technologies underly- ing the ‘3rd Platform,’ particularly cloud, big data and analytics, and mobility, many have shifted their investment fo- cus toward the ‘Innovation Accelerators,’ such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and cognitive computing, and robotics,” said IDC program director said Eileen Smith. “While the invest- ment strategies may differ from com- pany to company, the objective remains the same: to reimagine and reconstruct the business to compete in the increas- ingly digital economy that’s platform- powered and ecosystem-enabled.” 4. Mobile-First UC A cooperative work environment that enhances collaboration, both in- side and outside of the office, is one of the biggest goals for SMBs in 2018. While 2017 saw the rise of mobile apps for UC, which offer unified voice, mes- saging and video capabilities while on the go, 2018 will see that mobile-cen- tric experience expand. Going forward, the range of UC function supported on mobile devices will expand to include team collaboration, content sharing and enhanced meeting support. A proliferation of anytime, any- where capabilities, including audio/ video chat, or the ability to share desktops, location and availability with colleagues, serves the growing virtual workforce, helping users stay con- nected and enabling continuous con- nectivity to customers and employees, around the world. 5. VoLTE as Part of Mobile UC Adoption Grows There is an increasing demand from SMBs for mobile UC solutions, as the borderless office continues to become mainstream. A key part of this is VoLTE – IP voice delivered across 4G cellular connections – is expected to grow, according to Technavio. The benefit of VoLTE calling is that the quality of the call is better than a typi- cal cellular phone call, while saving companies mobile calling minutes. “Fast, more reliable, and richer services have the potential to encour- age subscribers to switch to VoLTE,” said Jujhar Singh, a lead M2M and connected devices research analyst at Technavio. “VoLTE can be unified with PBX systems. This feature is of relevance to businesses: this integra- tion enables a UC experience with corporate presence, messaging and video and allows end users to experi- ence better quality of services at an optimum price.” o 10-year marketing veteran, David Portnow- itz leads Star2Star’s creative, digital and co- op marketing efforts. Core Communications January - February, 2018 | Channel Vision 47