The way we communicate tomorrow won’t be very different than today. Until telepathy makes its way into the global DNA pool, we’ll keep talking to each other through a variety of hardware based approaches. Computers most likely. Ones on our desk. Ones in our hands. And ones we wear on our wrist or face. The future of business communications lies in software that interconnects hardware and better integrates it into our lives.
Interconnection is the future. That’s what the cloud is doing, aligning all communications on a level playing field, where one ticket buys entry to every ride. Voice and data will be treated as one and the same. Access will be ubiquitous. And connections will be hardware agnostic.
The front runners for the must have business communication tools of tomorrow are WebRTC, Unified Communications, and Mobility. To keep up with the pace of business conversations of tomorrow, you need to build the integration of these communications technologies into your current strategy. Here’s how you can get ready for the future now.
WebRTC interconnects any device that can house a web browser. Once all the major browsers agree on how it should work, WebRTC will make Internet-based conversations instant and easy. Customers will be able to call you by clicking a link, no matter where that link is displayed. And you’ll be able to receive information about the context of the customer contact with the call (E.G., the exact page the caller was viewing when they clicked on your link). And video calling will be a native application on any browser. Your sales team can conference in from anywhere on their phone, computer, or tablet at no cost.
Unified Communications technology streamlines productivity and collaboration by interconnecting voice (no matter the medium), video, email, chat, and documents. Well built UC systems remove barriers between communications platforms to provide users with the utmost flexibility. From a hardware perspective, you get the agility to do stuff like move a VoIP call from your desk phone to your cell phone without interrupting the conversation. From a software perspective, chat, email, fax, and voicemail are all available through one interface.
UC also prepares your business for more contextual, solutions-based, and personal interactions with your customers by integrating with your CRM system. As communications move toward Human to Human, more personalized communications will win every time.
When choosing a platform, look for longevity and forward thinking as much as feature set. Leading Unified Communications platforms such as Microsoft Lync, Cisco Communications Manager, and Broadsoft are consolidating the capabilities of existing technologies. For example, Betanews pointed out that, “Lync fully supersedes everything Skype did.” (Since Microsoft owns both Lync and Skype, consider that a tip for anyone actually serious about Skype for business.)
To connect you in the future, your UC platform will need to scale with the growth of your organization and your communication needs by openly incorporating the technologies you’ll count on. If the platform has a history of expanding capabilities with the technology of the day, you’ve got a better bet than one that just graduated from Kickstarter and is built on a proprietary programing language.
Mobility cannot be left out of any communications strategy. The advent of smartphones has changed everything. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement was born from the fact that mobile devices are not just communications hubs, but the central organizing point for peoples’ lives. We interact and interconnect with the world through smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Mobile phones are powerful productivity drivers that keep users connected anywhere, through any means. They can be integrated with your UC platform, and are WebRTC capable. But mobility goes beyond hardware.
Mobility is also a philosophy. Your workforce doesn’t want to be tied to a desk. And as workspaces and collaboration tools advance, they likely won’t be. According to Cisco’s Global Mobile Data Traffic Forcast Update, in 2013, there were almost 150 million laptops, and nearly 100 million tablets, connected to the global mobile network, and they each more than doubled the mobile traffic created by the average smartphone. By providing the tools to be mobile, you’re empowering productivity and enabling the kind of flexibility that yields a happy workforce.
The traditional role of many devices is changing. Now that all of your communications are digital, there are vast implications for your network. You need to prepare for the increased flow of data. Cisco’s report also revealed that last year, over 40% of mobile traffic was offloaded onto WiFi. That means your WiFi network needs hearty routers designed to handle larger volumes, and the ability to prioritize real-time communication traffic sent by WebRTC, VoIP, and video calling. Also, ensure your system, and any cloud-based or SaaS application you use, makes allowances for secure access from remote locations. And plan for the fact that there will be more devices (laptops, phone, tablets, phablets,…) connecting to your network.
Calling the future:
Humans spent the last few hundred years coming up with new ways to communicate. Now we’re bringing it all together and adapting technological stragglers for the digital age. The copper-based phone system is migrating to the Internet. Data connections are king. Voice communications and data communications are traveling the same pipes, using the same zeroes and ones. We can talk to anyone from anywhere on any device. Communications of tomorrow will be less about how we talk, and more and more about how the devices we use talk to each other.
In that sense, SIP trunking is one technology that can bring the future of communications all together. SIP trunking connects UC platforms to the Plain Old Telephone Network, and builds a bridge from WebRTC in the same way. As mobile devices lose their voice connections to go all data, SIP trunking connects UC integrated softphones over data connections.
As you plan to interconnect your communications to meet the future head on, it is crucial that SIP trunking is at the core of your strategy.