23 December 2016
The telecoms landscape is changing. Infrastructure is moving from on-premise to the cloud. The workforce is becoming more mobile, as work becomes less defined by what is achieved between four walls and a desk. And, at the same time, IT budgets are forecasted remain stagnant in 2017, despite the growing innovation behind business technology.
Another year over and another year closer to 2025 – the expected end of ISDN. It’s been an eventful 12 months, not just in terms of global politics and world events. 2016 also saw once-emergent technology become mainstream, with more businesses embracing the advantages of cloud-hosted solutions.
So what can we expect in the year ahead? Here are some of our top predictions all businesses need to know.
1. Voice will stay strong
Despite the growing popularity of video conferencing and instant messaging, as well as the continued use of email in the workplace, we expect voice communication will continue to be one of the most popular ways people keep in touch. Its ease of use, ubiquity and convenience makes it ideal for businesses to communicate with employees, suppliers and customers. As such, keeping voice channels available will be mission critical for all.
2. Flexible working will need support
To get things done in 2017, people will need to have the right tools and access that will allow them to work anywhere and at any time. And in line with the growing freelance economy and flexible working practices, the use of online collaborative platforms will rise. To support this, businesses will need to make sure their telecoms systems allow users the same functionality on their mobile phones as their desk phones.
3. Unified communications will become strategic
Unified communications (UC) isn’t a new concept for 2017, but the market is evolving and turning it into a reality. In order to meet the increasingly complex needs of businesses today, many vendors will be offering UC as a strategic offering, rather than a simple product. As such, businesses should make room for voice, video and chat messaging in their communication strategies.
4. Continued growth of cloud adoption
According to a survey by Spiceworks, 38% of IT professionals consider cloud technology as very important or extremely important to their current practices. So, in the year ahead, we can expect more businesses migrating their traditional systems to cloud-based alternatives. SIP trunking as future-ready upgrade (and not simply a replacement) from ISDN will continue its popularity, as will fully hosted phone systems, for businesses needing to replace or looking to remove their onsite PBX.
5. Uncertainty will affect everyone
Digitally, we’re becoming more connected. But politically, we’re living in uncertain times. Brexit, Trump and global economic uncertainty will make for a challenging 2017. This in turn will result in another stagnant year for IT budgets and staffing levels. All IT leaders will need to be more strategic in doing more, with less.
Every New Year signals a chance for new opportunities and possibilities to follow. To embrace these trends and be ready for the future, businesses need to focus on making their telecoms infrastructure flexible and fit for the upcoming year.
Looking ahead, it will only become more expensive to maintain legacy IT and telecoms systems. This creates an urgent need to update infrastructure for the sake of cost savings, as well as to improve operational speed and efficiency. Although we don’t have a crystal ball, we’re certain the telecoms future is cloud-based, mobile friendly and well connected.
23 December 2016 | Cem Ahmet
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.