Communication is the base of business. One of the most fundamental elements encompassing customers, partners, employees – both on site and remote, and any number of others that a business muct stay stay in touch with – 24/7. add to that the way the modern world works. Not just communicating with their clients or customers base, being able to support efficient remote team collaboration will enable businesses to increase scale of operations, open up functional new branches, tap into new client demographics, and expand their sphere of activity globally.
A few years ago, the introduction of IP telephony was seen as a huge leap in the field of business communications. Today, technologies have moved so far ahead that people located hundreds of thousands of kilometers from each other can feel like they are sitting in the same room. There has been a massive growth in software as a service (SaaS) including SD-WAN, Unified Communications, etc, and it seems like a growing tide. While the past was about picking up a phone to make and receive calls, the current technology even behind that has changed enormously. In the case of business communications, as in any other field, there has been enormous transformation as more and more organizations have become heavily reliant on their internet connections to talk to customers, suppliers, partners, and employees.
Keeping up with current industry trends has always been important in order to stay relevant. As technology evolves at an exponential rate, businesses and professionals need to prepare in order to maintain their competitive edge. It appears, year after year, as if newer and better technologies are being introduced continuously. Each new technology promises more efficient communication than ever before.
So, what corporate and business communication trends are likely to be useful for brands and employees who wish to remain relevant in an evolving global market and workspace? What are the technologies and trends that will ensure that communicators are able to reach new audiences, can improve their customer service levels and efficiently engage with the next generation of employees and colleagues?
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR): Companies may use AR experiences to give higher caliber candidates a real taste of what it’s like to work in the organisation. Or they can use VR to transport customers to new destinations to discover new facets of a company’s product or operations. Now, and in the future, these two technologies are sure to grow in significance. They are not merely limited to creating games or novelty experiences. AR and VR can be used as invaluable tools in many business applications. For example, one could organize a virtual 3D tour for potential customers of an under construction or to-be-constructed facility, or a facility located far away. One could walk them through every step of a manufacturing and quality assurance process. And these are far from the only possible options for AR and VR, the imagination is the king, the sky is the limit.
Live Video Streaming: Consumers crave connection and brand authenticity. They need to see, feel, believe, in order to be brand loyal these days. The rise of live video streaming technology already allows companies to give people a taste of what they want. Studies show that Facebook Live videos are viewed more often, and for much longer than other content. Moving on to and enhancing live streaming and 360° videos will only cause a growth in this customer connectivity.
WebRTC: Web-based communication in real time (WebRTC) is a breakthrough concept allowing one to run a two way conversation or a video conference and collaborate from within the internet browser without having to install any other program, special plugins, modules or accompanying programs. This gives users an incredibly simple and non fuss tool to support all the needed types of remote communication: chat, screen sharing, content sharing, audio and video communication.
Social Intranets: while these are not a total novelty, innovation and advanced functionality are making them the trends of the moment. For example, intranets are increasingly providing support for video communication, allowing the merging of several chat rooms, and providing advanced opportunities for content exchange – all without compromising the basic quality of communication.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI based assistants, like Siri, function based on the voice requests of the users. They operate on the chatbot principle, and searche through browsers and implement various kinds of processes within the functionality of a mobile device. Increasingly, software solutions based on AI are achieving qualitatively new levels and becoming capable of performing quite complex tasks. In 2017 the number of successful mobile applications which are based on machine learning and virtual neural networks have gone up significantly. In the future, apps such as these will increasingly be used for business purposes including remote communication. It is likely that users will be able to acquire full-fledged virtual assistants, who will take over some part of the duties of the real employees of today.
Increased Adoption of Hosted VoIP: There are currently almost one billion VoIP users around the world. The landline connections of the past are disappearing rapidly. VoIP in today’s business world introduces many advantages including greater flexibility, enhanced control, and higher scalability. Digitizing telecommunications enables companies to host and maintain infrastructure in the cloud. The number of VoIP users is poised to increase exponentially. This is especially true of businesses leveraging Hosted VoIP which becomes an effective way to manage cost, improve flexibility, and gain far better control of communication systems. Offering cost savings and reduced maintenance needs hosted VoIP is set to become a popular trend of the future.
Increasing Shift Towards Mobility: Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever. More and more employees are demanding flexible working conditions. From a business’s perspective, workforce mobility is a major enabler of productivity. It allows companies to seek out talent without geographical limitations. Some studies seem to suggest that mobile or remote employees will make up as much as 75% of the US workforce by 2020. it is no surprise, then, that mobile VoIP is becoming entrenched in the modern digital culture. Smartphones and mobile and personal computing devices are set to play a very important role in the transition from an “office based” to a “web based” model of business. The need for tools that ensure productivity – no matter the location – demands that businesses make sure their employees are able to work using any personal device from any location.
Need for Seamless Communication and Collaboration Tools: The rise of cloud computing has become one of the key trends and drivers in modern communication. With web-based applications being the new norm in enterprise computing, employees are better able to collaborate — working well together on the same projects, no matter where they may be located. Apart from platforms streamlining communication in the workplace, there is a need to support better collaboration within the office as well as remotely. To ensure this, more and more businesses are turning to newer web-based applications offering seamless communication. This is the reason why VoIP and related tools are increasingly coming to be integrated with key business processes. Office 365 for Business, for example, now provides complete integration with Skype.
Promotion of BYOD Strategy: The implementation of the IP telephony process had one significant drawbackit did not allow employees or other people receiving communication to take the communication devices with them. To fix this in an increasinly mobile world, leading vendors of network equipment offer the integration of IP phones with the already owned mobile devices of users. It allows the phonebook to be transferred, automatically, to the user’s smartphone, and to redirect calls and corporate email as well. This kind of integration is convenient and necessary for business organizations who have branches that operate in different time zones, for example. Networks based on this Bring Your Own Device technology allow companies to rent fewer offices and support personal user devices, instead, enabling employees to work remotely.
Integrating and Simplifying Cmmunication Tools: Seamless integration between business applications streamline the business’s coordination and collaborative needs. This can irange from merging cloud-based functionality into computers, to installing apps that enable talk, chat, text, conferencing on mobile devices. Advancements in technology allow users to simplify mobile tools and streamline multiple communication platforms. In future, digital workspaces are only going to become more sophisticated, with greater focus on workplace flexibility as well as remote work options. Acombination of cloud-based tools, along with unified communications, combined with web-based collaboration apps to integrate data and facilitate communication are all coming together. This will ensure productivity in the future, and encourage better teamwork.
Greater Adoption of Visual Communication: People learn and retain better when they can “see” the facts. Business leaders are realizing that visual communication must become one of the tools for business success in the future. Whether it is closing a deal, negating geographic boundaries and cultural differences, or holding conferences with far flung team members, businesses need to shift to a more visual mode. This can enable conferences to occur without the need for extended travel times and eliminate high travel and lodging expenses. This also allows for a faster and more retainable intake of impressions and facts – whether it is a client, a customer, or an employee.
Enhanced VoIP Security and Cyber-Security Spending: 2017 saw a lot of headline-grabbing news of cyber-attacks. Companies and individuals had their private information stolen, and destroyed, or held for ransom. Business owners must realise that it isn’t just enterprise companies being targeted. More than 20% of cyber attack victims spent at least $50,000, and took longer than six months to recover from the attack, according to Nationwide’s third annual survey of business owners. Gartner (NYSE: IT) projects that Cyber-Security spending is likely to increase to $93 Billion dollars in 2018 and increase steadily for the next 5 years. Security will continue to be a major issue, in the age of digital data where data is the most sought-after commodity globally. The increasing shift toward VoIP also presents unique security challenges. After all, internet-based communications are easier to breach than traditional landline conversations. Organizations will need to ensure additional security measures, including data encryption and 24/7 monitoring, by hosted VoIP vendors.
However, what do these Business Communication Trends mean for You as an employee, a future employee, a job seeker or a decision maker? It means you need to be aware and competent with the technologies behind these trends. Explore how a cloud-based tool can simplify communications for your prospective organization, if one is not already in use. Make sure you are abe to work efficiently from any device. Consider how available tools can be used optimally for more than one job – bring that to the interview table. Make sure – as a decision maker – that your office is equipped with dedicated spaces for in-person and virtual meetings, and brush up on the technology and the etiquette of being in one – as an employee. Learn how to use WebRTC and bring it to your organization – if not already present – so that employees can communicate more easily in real time. Make sure you learn how to find interoperable communications technologies and learn to connect endpoints to other devices and services. Consider how these business communication trends will affect your employability, retainability, and productivity, and plan how you will adjust and adapt.