This article originally appeared on VMblog.
In 2018, we saw an increasing number of end-user organizations engage in digital transformation initiatives to improve internal collaboration, as well as deliver new digital customer engagement experiences. Take for example the new Microsoft and Walmart cloud technology partnership to rival Amazon and its latest “Amazon Go” cashier-free stores.
As enterprises and communication service providers (CSPs) strive to understand and fulfill their customers’ digital transformation needs, we’ll continue to see adoption of cloud-based solutions that offer unique functionalities and the ability to integrate communications features into existing internal and customer-facing platforms, such as Slack’s partnership with ADP to provide instant messaging access to human resource data.
Below are three predicted trends we anticipate will make a lasting impact for cloud-based communications in 2019.
1. Network Optimization Using AI
Network outages cause an untimely and costly implications for enterprises’ internal and external operations. With this looming threat, 2019 will be the year when CSPs leverage AI and advanced algorithms to better predict network abnormalities and apply necessary network rerouting that will safeguard optimization. This also includes leveraging AI and data analytics to prevent fraud or cyber attacks.
Additionally, and with AI becoming more accessible to businesses, CSPs are better positioned to leverage big data and roll out new capabilities to better deliver on increased customer demands. This means that CSPs and enterprises can provide more personalized services and communication offerings to improve their customers’ experiences. For example, CSPs are deploying chat bots to help customer support agents as they service users by leveraging the bots they are accurately and efficiently tailor support based on customers’ existing behaviors and preferences.
Investing in AI both for security and service needs helps to ensure network optimization that will mitigate the company’s financial losses and avoid garnering a negative reputation.
2. Ongoing Consolidation of Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS)
This year the XaaS model will create true disruption of the telecom industry. Companies are increasingly making solutions and products available “as-a-service” to remain competitive and meet consumers evolving demands. The XaaS model is cost efficient and improves synergies for most, if not all parties involved because of its flexibility with design and usage.
For enterprise communications specifically, we will see a continued consolidation of CSPs, with top players joining forces as a way to increase their ability to evolve offerings faster, including IT, software, and IoT capabilities. Given this, and as landline usage continues to decline and internet access becomes more competitive and commoditized, the consolidation of CSPs will follow as a response to consumers’ shifting needs.
Further, we predict CSPs will embrace partnerships with carrier-grade IP-based solutions that are designed specifically with the CSP market in mind. This strategy will help to secure and deliver customizable offerings to enterprise customers, ultimately providing end users with immersive experiences.
Lastly, because CSPs who adopt XaaS offerings will still need to work with and rely on carriers to get access to the PSTN, we may also see competition between CSPs advance, resulting in better service and improved offerings for end-users.
3. The User-friendly API
As enterprises continue to embrace digitalization, integrating voice and messaging capabilities into existing applications will become more streamlined, requiring less developer expertise. This accessibility and flexibility will enable organizations to acquire and implement APIs in a plug-and-play manner, which decreases time to market and reduces the demand on internal development teams, allowing the organization to allocate resources for other operations and organizational priorities.
More enterprises will integrate voice and messaging offering into existing applications through telecom APIs. The evolution of APIs into this plug-and-play model will allow companies to have more control of IT departments, while also innovating offerings, being more responsive to customer needs, and providing desired functionality quickly with lower development costs.