Forecasting the future of telecoms

The Internet has taken us into a new dimension and changed the way we communicate forever while broadband telecommunications have drastically changed the way we share information. The technological advances in the telecommunications industry have transformed the experience of making a simple phone call as the advent of video conferencing creates the effect of being in the same room as the person we are speaking to.

Email is quickly being replaced with SMS and social networking and the new generation of office workers already consider it to be a thing of the past. With the launch of Facebook’s new overarching messaging service, it looks increasingly likely that email will be rendered obsolete in the office of the future.

Phone numbers look set to go the same way as businesses will no longer need to provide these to their employees, instead co-opting employees’ existing profiles and overlaying the company’s branding for the duration of the individual’s time with them.

Facebook recently wrote on its blog page: “Relatively soon, we’ll probably all stop using arbitrary ten digit numbers and bizarre sequences of characters to contact each other. We will just select friends by name and be able to share with them instantly.” Businesses that embrace these new channels of communication will benefit from increased productivity, improved efficiency and collaboration.

Next generation workers tend to change jobs and employers more often than their predecessors and will therefore require a fully portable communications profile that they can take with them when they move. More than ever before, individuals are engaging with and developing their social networks as they become increasingly aware of the importance of their online identity. In turn this strong online identity, which includes communication channels such as phone numbers, web addresses, Facebook pages and instant messaging profiles, will become increasingly important to business networking.

As a result, communication channels will be location and device independent, instead being mapped to the employee. They will be carried to whichever technology is in use at the time, whether that is a phone handset or a soft client on a laptop. Social media and instant messaging platforms will evolve into an online business environment where multiple users can seamlessly communicate and collaborate across a variety of media, increasing productivity and speeding up the completion of projects.

Businesses will start to dramatically change the way they consume broadband as they look to address the green agenda and reduce unnecessary costs. Businesses are already looking afresh at how they conduct meetings and video conferencing is emerging as an evermore compelling solution as it offers a genuine alternative to executive travel and reduces the corporate carbon footprint.

Application Performance Management will increasingly allow businesses to reduce cost concerns as it provides real-time visibility and control over the network, enabling them to prioritise network traffic as needed and avoiding the costs of investing in more capacity.

These changes mean that relationships between businesses and telecoms operators will become more important. In response to this, the telecoms industry will need to ensure that it continues to offer reliable and secure solutions to enable more innovative working practices than today. Looking at the developments in telecommunications sector over just the past couple of years it is difficult to predict how the situation will change in the near future however, one safe prediction is that demand for additional capacity and services from the user is only going to grow.

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Matt Key is Managing Director, Enterprise, Cable&Wireless Worldwide.