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Blog Comp 2017: The Future of Business Communications

Guest Blog by  Umar Shah, Digital Marketing Apprentice at Lily Comms

The future is an exciting place, especially in the technological world. With recent development in artificial intelligence (AI) and news about 5G, what can we expect in business communications? Here’s what I predict.

Voice Telephony

From the first voice call ever made in 1876 to now, advancements in voice technology have resulted in cheaper, faster, and higher quality voice calls, and I don’t expect this trend to end anytime soon. ISDN technology replaced slower and costly analogue and IP has replaced ISDN for the same reasons. More businesses, especially in the UK, will now make the switch to IP technologies, such as VoIP or SIP, due to BT planning to switch off their ISDN networks by 2025.

Cloud telephony is on the rise and will continue to do so, becoming more popular with businesses due to its convenience and simplicity. However, the future of cloud and voice telephony is largely dependent on the development of faster, cheaper and more secure internet & broadband. Currently, cloud telephony for some businesses is still no match for on-premise solutions, as they’re cheaper in the long-term. However, if cloud telephony becomes more secure and more cost-effective, more businesses will look towards it as being a part of their communications arsenal.

Future Business Comms timeline
The Future of Business Comms

Video Telephony

I suspect a similar future in video telephony as with voice communications. Improvements in Internet & Broadband will lead to cheaper, faster and higher quality video calls. News about a smartphone with a holographic display and a strong recent push in virtual reality has led to widespread talk and excitement. Sure, these technologies are extremely cool and things we should all look forward to. However, I don’t believe they will provide a better service than what is available now, so their development won’t have as big of an impact as was expected on the way businesses communicate. I don’t think most businesses will spend more money for the luxury of more immersive face-to-face video calls, than to just take cheaper, regular video calls that already work well.

5G and Mobile Telephony

With fresh news about 5G, and rumoured to be released in 3 to 5 years, I expect mobile working to be widely introduced in businesses. 5G is expected to be no joke, being miles faster than 4G (download speeds of 1-20 Gbps compared to 4G’s 100 Mbps), we are talking about downloading a full HD film in seconds. There is huge potential for 5G. By increasing data transfer and upload speeds, it will revolutionise mobile working and will ensure that remote voice and video telephony will deliver as good of a service as it does in the office. Even lower energy use will result in sensible pricing for 5G, making it even more convincing for use in businesses.

Artificial Intelligence in Business Communications

With recent advancements in artificial intelligence technology, there is more demand for its development. Current AI technology, although impressive, is only just the beginning. Smarter, more realistic AI is just around the corner and we are all familiar with the rumour that at some point, AI will take over certain jobs and tasks. In the next 10 years, I believe we will start to see AI interact with customers, such as in Live Chat Boxes.

Here’s a fun experiment you can try, go to cleverbot.com, which is a website where you can ‘talk’ to an AI by typing, as you would in a Live Chat Box. Give it a go now and see for yourself. At times, it’s obvious that there isn’t a real person on the other end, but sometimes what you get back is convincing. This is just early AI that learns from human interaction, so what you get back is something that another person has probably said to it. Deepmind, an artificial intelligence company owned by Google had recently released a blog article saying they are in the process of developing AI that can think like a human, by taking into account a situation, the actions it can take, the consequences of each action and make a decision out of all these factors. There is huge potential for AI and it is clear to see how it can be used in both business and everyday life.

However, I believe that we would most likely see AI being used by big businesses and brands, such as Microsoft, Amazon or Google, who have the budget to develop AI themselves and put in time and money in research, such as creating filters, testing, adapting and so on. But, as of now, there is still a long way to go for the majority of businesses to confidently put AI anywhere near their websites and customers.

It’s clear that advancements in internet and broadband are important for advancements in Voice and video communications, and mobile telephony will be taken more seriously once 5G is released. As for Artificial Intelligence, it still has a long way to go for it to become advanced enough to be comfortably used commercially as a contact point between a customer and a business. Whatever the future holds, businesses should be excited and should keep one ear out for news about technology and how it can shape their business.

 

Guest Blog by  Umar Shah, Digital Marketing Apprentice at Lily Comms. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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