Disruptive Technology: How Businesses Are Adapting to AI, Blockchain, and IoT
In today's digital world, communicating effectively has never been more important for the enterprise. The rapid advancement of Smartphones and the global rollout of 5G services have turned smartphones into effective business communication tools, allowing teams to communicate wherever they go.
Since the pandemic, this mobile communication has skyrocketed. Hybrid and flexible working has become the new norm across the enterprise landscape, and being able to digitally collaborate is now critical to the success of any business.
As demand heightens, the need for simple, unified communication software has exploded. The global unified communications market size is expected to reach $417.86 billion by 2023, with an estimated CAGR of 17.4 per cent from 2023 to 2030, as per a report by Grand View Research.
But what could this massive market growth bring to the world of unified communications? From AI personal assistants to personalised customer interactions, in this list, we’ve compiled our top 10 predictions for unified communications in 2023.
Mobile-first communication apps thrive
Smartphone usage hit an all-time high in 2023. 46 per cent of people say they have increased their smartphone usage since the start of the pandemic. With more and more people ditching personal computers for mobile devices, smartphone apps have exploded in popularity, especially in the business world. Enterprises are already building their infrastructure around mobile devices, allowing workers such as engineers to remotely submit data, inspections and reports to save time and money.
As apps take over, mobile phones will soon no longer be simply for calls and messaging, as this is especially true for businesses. Business phones can be loaded with apps to facilitate project management, scheduling, and finance management, allowing many jobs to be done remotely without the need for anything more than a smartphone.
Remote working continues
Remote working is nothing new. Since the pandemic, businesses worldwide have slowly adjusted to the new way of working by offering remote, flexible and hybrid working options.
Recent legislation by the proposed UK government, which makes remote work a legal right, however, could see more teams than ever before working entirely remotely. If this happens, teams could become entirely digital working remotely from anywhere in the world in different languages and time zones.
Digital Communication tools will need to adapt to provide for these new teams, integrating features like translation, calendar management and call scheduling into their tools to cater for the fully-remote, international workforce.
Cybersecurity becomes an integral part of UC platforms
Unified communication platforms allow employees to collaborate using a wide variety of tools, devices, and systems across ever-growing networks. Although this affords workers great flexibility, it also presents more opportunities for threat actors. Remote working has opened new gateways for hackers wishing to infiltrate a company’s digital infrastructure and steal sensitive information. There will be more ransomware, more vulnerability exploitation and more attacks on encrypted communications.
UC platforms and UCaaS vendors will need to greatly improve their security procedures in the coming years to respond to the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. The more protections in place, the less sensitive information will be leaked through their systems, and the more popular their tools will be for organisations
CEBP takes off
Communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) describes a variety of methods for embedding automated communications into business processes to deliver services such as outbound phone calls, SMS messages or interactive voice responses. It has gained notable traction in recent years as it removes latency between workflows, resulting in faster completions, higher effectiveness and lower cost.
A number of businesses have already begun implementing CEBP-integrated tools to improve operations, and it is likely that many more will start making the most of the principle and the technology that already exists to support it in 2023 and beyond.
Virtualised UC tools
Virtualisation is the practice of turning computer storage, servers and other network hardware virtual, making them easier to manage, maintain and deploy across a network of devices. In unified communications, virtualisation allows IT teams to build networks from selected components needed for completing company goals on the cloud, including teleconferencing, file sharing, storage and instant messaging.
This can save money, make digital collaboration greener, and improve uptime and disaster recovery within teams, allowing them to collaborate more effectively while also having positive knock-on effects on other aspects of their business model.
UCaaS AND CCaS bring personalised customer interactions
An increasing number of companies have been utilising UC tools have been to build and enhance relationships between enterprises and their customers in recent years. One of these tools is Contact Centres as a Service (CCaS), which is a specific application of unified communication that provides a platform for communication with customers through AI bots, live chats, social media, text messaging and mobile apps.
It allows companies to be easily and securely accessible to solve customers' issues and answer inquiries while establishing consistent customer experiences across multiple channels.
CCaS incorporates data from internal and external systems such as CRM tools, to produce business intelligence about sales KPIs, customer behaviour and more. The data taken from CCaS interaction will allow companies to understand the exchange of information between their employees and customers.
The rise of video collaboration
Today’s video technology has come far enough to cultivate, nurture and sustain relationships at a similar level of intimacy as experienced in the physical world. During the pandemic, video provided the world with to stay connected in a time when human interaction was extremely limited. Patients connected to doctors. Proctors monitored test takers. Businesses from all sectors collaborated in new ways that became permanently engrained into business operations.
But as video becomes an integral part of the enterprise, it will move from a form of communication into a collaborative tool. New advancements in AI and augmented realities will allow companies to create collaborative environments for their employees that not only simulate office-level collaboration but improve upon it.
Cloud-based UC tools become the new norm
While some organisations are farther along with their migration to the cloud than others, cloud-based services and solutions have seen exponential growth in almost all areas of the enterprise. Communication is no exception. One of the most efficient ways models for UC uses cloud computing, which is fast becoming the IT delivery mechanism of choice for businesses today.
These advanced applications offer unified communication as a service (UCaaS), combining the familiar voice and unified messaging features with new functions that increase employee productivity regardless of location. They’re also scaleable and more secure than on-site communication programmes, making them an ideal choice for any enterprise on its digital transformation journey.
SD-WAN re-defines UCaaS solutions
With cloud-based UCaaS platforms exploding in popularity, it is likely that software-defined area- networking (SD-WAN) is set to define the new era of UC solutions. UCaaS and SD-WAN pair together to securely accommodate increased cloud traffic to mitigate delayed or distorted images and sounds, dropped calls and other issues deriving from a weak connection or overloaded bandwidth. An SD-WAN scans cloud traffic and fix problems related to bandwidth, allowing for digital communication that is both more reliable and more secure.
SD-WAN-integrated UCaaS solutions are likely to explode in popularity in the near future, creating a new standard for cloud-based UCaaS solutions that makes them more accessible to businesses big and small.
AI sparks a new era of communication
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having an increasingly noticeable impact on unified communications. It allows companies to automate collaborative processes, such as responding to common customer requests or monitoring system performance. The sudden rise of OpenAI’s generative AI chatbot ChatGPT has only accelerated the development and implementation of AI technologies in a variety of digital tools and services. AI-wired virtual assistants are also being integrated into a variety of UC applications, retrieving files to make employee collaboration a breeze. It is also affecting UCaaS products, allowing for speech-to-text transcription, meeting recordings and translation of video conferences.
These AI-wired features are not only beneficial from a business standpoint but also keep records of online meetings and events without the need for human input. This ultimately frees up employees’ time to collaborate on other projects, coordinating teams to work towards a single, common objective
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