How has communication tech evolved in 2019? What telecommunication software, hardware, and services should you expect in 2020?
Voice now forms part of standard offerings that customers expect, as it’s now a mainstream application. The biggest thing that excites us is the consolidation of the different applications, or how voice has merged with data and is not considered just a stand-alone product. The merging of technologies is where everything will start becoming real in 2020.
Unified communication on cloud
Organisations have experienced the benefits of VOIP and will demand more. Not just more VOIP but more services attached to voice call services. In essence they’ll want all communication services to be available on a single Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform.
This UCaaS will come with services like voice, video, text, fax, conferencing, and team collaboration features. Instead of having all these features on different services, users will now have them on a single product. The UCaaS is designed to be on the cloud, which will make its services available to workers outside of the office.
One of the key advantages of UCaaS is that workers can access services remotely using a mobile device. Although providers built mobile apps (available in Android and Apple app stores) they could not provide information on how they were being used. In 2020, it’s expected that service providers will enable their apps to track conversations with customers on mobile with features like call recording and CRM integrations.
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AI built into the UCaaS will also come into play in 2020. Coupling VOIP with AI will bring call handling efficiencies to any organisation, particularly call centres in the following ways;
- They could be in the form of AI assistants that help the flow of work by automating appointment scheduling and adding tasks to the to-do list.
- Using voice recognition, an AI will be able to handle basic queries from customers and forward them to the appropriate department.
- An AI could also determine the mood of the customer in real time and prepare a call agent for a customer that may be angry, sad, or happy.
- AI could analyse meetings and provide insights on when productivity and engagement levels are high. The insights could help organisations optimise their interactions between team members.
The impact of 5G won’t be felt that much in 2020 as South Africa provider only just started installing the infrastructure and the edge devices will only be available to the end of this year and early next year.
What will most likely happen is that organisations will focus on streamlining and improving the efficiencies of their current technologies in anticipation of 5G becoming available.
Security and compliance concerns
Communication is now largely digital. This has resulted in huge productivity gains for users, but it has brought new vulnerabilities too. The software, networks, and hardware used for digital communication are all at risk of cyber attacks. Phishing, denial of service attacks, network intrusions, and ransomware are some of the threats that users could face if they don’t make sure that they’re secure.
Furthermore, privacy and data are now heavily regulated which affects all businesses that have a digital footprint. 2020 may also be the year that the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) may come into effect. Regulatory compliance will force businesses of all types and sizes to manage data records more closely.
Microsoft in 2020
Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and SQL 2008 will reach their End of Life in January 2020 which will force many organisations to rethink their communication tech. That’s why communications providers should be launching a complete new range of on-premise products and solutions to add to their existing portfolio as well as expanding on their capabilities with Microsoft connect solutions.
Microsoft Teams is being positioned to be one of the software giant's premier products. It has become a leader in the unified communication space with standard features including voice, video, instant messaging, conferencing, and team collaboration solution. One of Microsoft's key advantages has been its app integration, which enables users to use Office tools and its open accessibility to third party apps.
Microsoft envisions a future where every tool and app is accessible within Teams. To put it another way, users will be able to carry out any task in Teams, making the platform a kind of operating software.
Microsoft Teams is part of Office 365, so users may access it at no extra cost.
Unify in 2020
As a cloud collaboration and endpoint solution, Unify’s new technology products does not require an organisation to rip out their legacy systems, despite the fact that It's one of Unify's key advantages: users can access the latest tech while getting the most from their existing investments. Unify's Circuit can provide telephony connectors to link existing on-premise PABX using their cloud solution.
The advantage is taken even further because Circuit has the connectors to Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex. It also integrates with Office 365 and G-Suite. Circuit's contact centre solution can be integrated with Google's API to provide real time recording, transcription, and search functions of agents' calls. The Google API also comes with a real time translation function which will enable the workforce to work in multiple languages.
Technology will always move forward, as seen by the discontinuation of some services, so organisations will have to relook at their digital communication strategy more frequently. 2020 will see the communications industry becoming more intelligent using AI and machine learning to make work easier. The industry will also integrate multiple technologies to provide a single platform with frictionless communication. Its hardware will become more geared towards cloud and remote work with the ability to process data at the edge. And, as organisations digitise their communication, compliance will become a critical business process.
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