This month I contributed to a feature in Comms Business magazine – The future of telephony.
In this blog, I delve a little deeper into the subject.
I discuss the biggest drivers for affecting change when it comes to technology and share my predictions for the game-changers we should expect to see in the next few years.
table of contents
how will Openreach's WLR and PSTN switch-off change business communication technology?
While that’s a big deal for the future of business communication, few people outside the ICT sector are tuned in to what this actually means.
Instead, people care about having access to technology that simply helps them communicate and work.
The UK’s shift to digital comms solutions was fast-tracked when home-working became mandatory. Suddenly we didn’t need to convince end users of the benefits; it became a necessity and adoption of the supporting technology was instant.
The copper switch-off has become an incentive for businesses to move to ‘all IP’ based services, but it’s no longer the driving force. Human behaviour will continue to be the leading factor that influences the future of business communication. That landscape is about much more than telephony; it’s about how we connect and communicate as people, and how we live and work.
Our channel and the technology we provide play an important role in serving those human needs, and that’s part of what makes this industry so appealing.
what other drivers will impact the future of business communication in the next few years?
Flexibility to make hybrid working even more effective is a big area of focus.
There’s an unspoken expectation that employees will be given the technology they need to comfortably fulfil their role remotely. That includes conference calls and video calls, sharing documents, collaborating, ease of access and even the ability to stay close to company culture.
Equally, employers are recognising that if you want to attract the best talent, you’ve got to give them the ability to work however they want to work. Technology can be a huge factor when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent in your industry.
Our experience of remote working over the last few years has taught us how it works in practical terms. Remote working isn’t restricted to travelling salespeople, or commuters with an open laptop on a train. Pretty much everybody expects to be able to work from anywhere.
what new capabilities are emerging?
With more people working remotely, mobile technology has become even more relevant.
Removing the differences between fixed and mobile networks means that end users can naturally use their mobile as part of their suite of business communication tools.
Mobile use is only going one way; FMC (Fixed–Mobile Convergence) hooks into this trend and helps to facilitate the future of hybrid working.
We all carry a mobile, whether it’s a personal phone or a work one. If FMC negates the need to have another device on your desk, then why not? It just makes sense.
AI is the trending technology topic of the moment. While we’re not experiencing the full potential of AI yet, it will unquestionably affect us all.
I’m curious as to how AI will impact this marketplace. There are various, powerful use cases for AI in telephony.
AI can be used to generate lifelike, professional voice recordings; we’re already seeing brilliant examples of that in the market already.
It can deliver neat, automated customer service experiences that have the capacity to learn and feel human.
It can be used to create virtual environments that support hybrid working. The metaverse, for example, is a communication tool.
For some, it may feel like a buzzword, but AI is already prevalent. AI is naturally forming part of the tools that we all have access to today.
how are the needs of end customers changing?
Five years ago, data usage was a major topic. The ever-increasing demand for fast and reliable internet connectivity hasn’t changed, but expectation has.
Great connectivity has become an expectation – most people view it as a utility, as they do their water or electricity supply.
People’s reliance on good internet connectivity comes into stark reality when there’s a problem. It remains our responsibility as a channel to make sure that it works, and that we deliver it well. Our responsibility is to offer the product competitively, and efficiently and to make sure it’s well supported.
Remote working remains an important topic, but it’s essential that MSPs (Managed Service Providers) and resellers stay close to their customers, to understand how this evolves.
Topical themes include flexibility, sustainability, security, and culture. Our job is to understand how our technology and the services we provide hook into these needs so that we can serve customers.
how could resellers and MSPs evolve their offerings to ensure they are meeting business needs?
Resellers and MSPs should remain open-minded to reviewing what they offer, and how they present their offerings.
The future of business communication will be shaped by changes in human behaviours, more so than by the underlying technology that’s available. Staying close to your customers’ needs and offering them tools that fit with how they want to work is the best way to remain relevant.