A year in review: telecoms in 2016

2016 has certainly been quite the year. We’ve witnessed huge change in the global political landscape. We’ve mourned the loss of some musical legends. And we’ve seen huge advancement in tech innovation – including telecoms.

Primarily, this year has proved that we’re still on a one-way road towards digitisation. In the consumer world, efficiency, flexibility and convenience continue to define new services and technologies on the market. So in order to catch up, attract new talent and keep the workforce happy, business models have had to make sure their digital strategy reflects these needs.

It’s little wonder then that resellers who have embraced digital offerings have generally fared better than their more conservative peers. The demand is there. According to Gartner, CIOs are already spending 18% of the budget towards digitisation programmes, with this figure set to increase to 28% by 2018.

Here’s a look at the technologies that have made a mark on the telecoms space in 2016, and will define the landscape in the year ahead.

 

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› Cloud is now mainstream

This year saw cloud adoption rates grow, with many businesses embracing private, public and hybrid cloud models. Vendors, channel resellers and customers continued to recognise the importance of the cloud for delivering secure and cost-effective communications.

› Mobile coverage improved

While there was little improvement in actual mast-based coverage from the big carriers, tech innovation found a way that allowed users to access multiple networks from a single SIM. With a Multi-network SIM, if the primary mobile network is not available, it will look for another available mobile network, providing better coverage for users.

› Appetite for bandwidth grew

It seems like there’s never enough bandwidth, especially when it comes to businesses that rely heavily on ecommerce, cloud computing and telecommunications. Businesses were increasingly using multiple devices to connect to the network and were consuming more data-rich media.

So what can we expect for 2017?

We can look forward to another busy year for the telecoms industry. We predict there will be continued momentum towards connectivity and the Internet of Things, built on a foundation of future-ready voice and data networks. Specifically, the trends that will define the year will include:

› Unified communication will evolve

Unified communication (UC) will go from being delivered as product, to being sold in as a strategy. This is because resellers will realise that no two organisations are alike, meaning there is never a real single solution. In a user-sense, UC will continue to focus on collaboration to improve flexible working environments for all.

› Better security

More businesses will come to accept that a breach will eventually occur. But when it does, they will be more proactive in containing the threat and limiting any damage. This is because most small and mid-sized businesses will use the expertise of managed security services to protect their organisations against threats, rather than struggle to do it in-house.

› Rethinking of SIP

The common misperception of SIP trunking being just a direct ISDN replacement will be corrected as leading SIP providers continue to innovate. Providers will work on combining APIs to build improved and better-integrated services.

› Further unpredictability

Of course, we don’t know what the future of the political landscape holds. The year ahead will have its challenges, and this will feed into our telecoms landscape. But as we saw from the financial crisis, uncertain times often encourage cost saving measures to kick in. And with cloud-hosted offerings providing inherently better cost efficiencies, we can expect businesses to actively seek modern solutions.

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21 December 2016 | Justin Coombes

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