With the growing presence of AI, cyber threats and 5G connections, communication trends are changing rapidly, and appear unlikely to slow down.
To be sure, many emerging telecommunications industry trends aren’t new, per se. We’ve already gone over how remote work is here to stay, and how physical PBXs have long gone the way of the dodo, among many others.
But however old points like these become, the fact is that value in the communications sector is increasing dramatically, with little sign of stopping. If we want to perform meaningful telecommunications industry analysis, we have to examine what’s actually driving that increase in value, and why.
Here, we talk with industry experts all about those latest telecom innovations and, just as importantly, what they mean for the future of telecommunications as an industry.
1: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Among telecommunications industry trends, few are generating as much discussion (literally) as AI. In particular, conversation is growing around so-called “generative” AI: artificial intelligence that produces visual, audio or written content from just a text input.
As far as communications are concerned, the most immediately useful AI applications are for assistants or chatbots. While bots have long been one of the biggest communication trends, AI now seems poised to revolutionize customer service interactions. Many envision the technology as fully replacing customer service agents with bots, or at least those operating web chats.
But in reality, users should be wary of latching onto AI as the definite “future of telecommunications,” or at least as the definite future of customer interactions. For all the enthusiasm behind AI and similar telecom trends, the actual technology currently isn’t up to those levels.
“Call agents will still be predominant for one simple reason: nobody loves bots,” points out Dimitri Osler, Wildix CTO. “And because even ChatGPT sometimes provides incorrect information, there must always be that grain of salt that only an agent can add. It’s only with an actual human online that the right information for the customer will be provided at that moment.”
Rather than embracing the communication trend of AI as a replacement for live agents, organizations are better off using AI to augment their staff’s work. Within telecom industry trends specifically, AI is currently at its best when it comes to productivity and accessibility functions within meetings or on calls.
“As the customer speaks, relevant information automatically appears to the agent, like suggestions on what to say and data that will assist them,” Dimitri explains. “For example, the customer can ask about their current balance and why there was an issue with their last invoices, and, boom, on the right appears the links to the last invoices, or the current balance, or other products to recommend.”
As much as AI is one of the most prominent communication trends, its application in the field must still be paired with human actors. Realistically, the best way to capitalize on these trends in communication is to utilize AI as an assistant on other end of customer interactions.
2: Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC)
In line with the full, “from anywhere” connectivity 5G promises, vendors are increasingly offering a “bring your own carrier” (BYOC) approach to their setups. This methodology allows devices to connect to a digital communications configuration even when on a previous carrier.
But in reality, despite its recent hype, these developments aren’t exactly “new trends” in communication, because it’s long been available in Wildix systems.
“From the very beginning, we always had this capability,” Dimitri says. “With Wildix, you could always bring your trunk to your Cloud deployment. What’s more, with CLASSOUND, we offer full porting via Instant Virtual Porting, which doesn’t create any downtime for the user.
“We also offer outgoing calls only — a hybrid mode where they can run outgoing calls using CLASSOUND and receiving coming calls using the old operator.”
Since BYOC currently stands as a notable telecommunications trend, it’s worth remembering that it isn’t exactly one of the most recent telecom innovations. Still, the increased focus on BYOC still emphasizes how much enterprises are willing to invest in flexible solutions.
3: More Heads in the Cloud
We’ve already talked extensively about increased cloud adoption, and even now, very little indicates this foremost of telecom trends will change. Gartner predicts that by 2025, half of all enterprise IT spending will be on the cloud; according to McKinsey, by 2030 the cloud will deliver $3 trillion USD in value worldwide. Clearly, any “future of telecommunications” predictions would have to look away from physical systems.
Underscoring these developments is the broader situation: the simple fact that, due to the greater telecom industry trends driving cloud adoption, VoIP communications are simply more commonly used than traditional phones.
“We are definitely moving into a world where there will be less telephony and more meetings,” says Dimitri, “but the challenging point here is that, while telephony offers a standard communications protocol for all countries and all platforms, there’s no such thing on the meeting side. So we will see a lot of hybrid situations where the meeting and the calling experience will merge into one.”
Unsurprisingly, this flexibility is a major driver behind the telecom trends seen in the cloud, as we’ve discovered in action.
“This is what is happening already on x-bees, where you can move to a bridge when having a call with a customer and switch to a meeting or to a chat,” Dimitri continues. “For us this is the future: Communications start with a call, because that’s the only way to reach somebody from one country to the other without using the internet. From that simple mobile phone you can rapidly switch to a meeting where you can start screen sharing, send texts and so on.”
4: Business Continuity
What most clearly cements the cloud as the future of telecommunications is how dramatically it reduces enterprise risk. By design, the cloud platform removes all risk of investing in too few or too many software licenses or pieces of telecom hardware, as adding or removing user accounts is as simple as making changes to an admin panel.
Given the greater market uncertainty most businesses now face, this financial flexibility and rapid response will only become more appealing. The communication trends emerging as digital transformation are well into the process of becoming complete cloud adoption, and approaching anxieties over the market are all but certain to accelerate this growth.
As much as the cloud assists with this issue, continuity also becomes among the top communication trends thanks to AI, specifically in its ability to assist in business processes, including employee onboarding.
According to Vasiliy Ganchev, Wildix product manager: “It used to be that during onboarding or coaching, a manager would listen to a call and then give advice and so on, which is super expensive. You need to have a skilled guide to train another. This can be simplified by AI, and I believe this is where we will arrive very soon.”
Even when it isn’t feasible to onboard multiple employees, organizations can look at AI to fill in certain gaps within customer communications.
Dimitri adds, “Many insurance organizations, for example, don’t have enough people to handle their peak call levels. In those cases, claims collections over the phone can be automated, where claims are recorded in the morning and processed by AI in the evening. Then, the cases which are not clear to the AI can go through a human again.”
With so much of the market uncertain about what staffing it can afford, telecommunications industry trends are likely to focus on these continuity-focused developments.
5: The Rise of “True” 5G
When talking about current trends in telecommunications and networks, there’s no way to avoid this one for long.
5G refers to the “fifth generation” of mobile telephone networks, replacing the previous “fourth generation” from 4G. According to most telecommunications industry analysis, this more prevalent, far faster connection will be a primary means of communicating moving forward.
Of course, just having faster speeds and wider access don’t make for an especially important telecommunications trend. The real points to watch out for from 5G come instead from the “true” rollout of the network, made possible by 5G-specific cell towers and, just as importantly, devices built for 5G connections, such as those supporting eSIM.
“The big development is 5G plus eSIM,” Dimitri says. “That means mobile connectivity brought to basically any device.”
eSIM — one of the lesser-known trends in communication — is an upgrade for the SIM card, which specifies a device’s phone number and carrier and connects it to a mobile network. While SIM cards are separate chips that must be inserted into or removed from devices, an eSIM chip is directly soldered into the device and can be externally programmed (or even reprogrammed) with a specific number and carrier.
Because this standard means devices can connect to 5G without a separate chip, eSIM dramatically opens up what can be used as a standalone telephony device.
“We envision a future where there will be eSIM connectivity in even standalone headsets, and those will be connected directly to your network,” Dimitri says. “They will be connected independently, and will have full roaming over any area. It will be easy to provision them to add connectivity, voice connectivity, data connectivity, and communicate with the rest of the world via the Internet of Things.”
“The beautiful side of it is that, now, you can build a SIM card in much smaller devices,” adds Vasiliy. “Before, you were limited by the space needed to put in this part. Now, you can take headsets or any other device, and as soon as it has a decent battery for its size, you can be connected to a network right from this device.”
Combined with how 5G promises fast network speeds accessible from most anywhere, this development suggests a future of telecom that achieves its promise of connections from anywhere, on any device. Prepare for it to be one of the most important trends in communication, especially in combination with eSIM.
The Future: Flexibility and Responsiveness
Tying together all these telecommunications industry trends are two main factors: a need to adjust to sudden changes as quickly as possible, and an emphasis on being readily in contact with other people.
While we’re still far from bots reliably serving as human interaction, the purposes AI currently can serve speak to growing customer expectations around their business experience. A chatbot still can’t satisfy a client seeking specific answers, but bots are fully able to help a call agent improve that client’s experience. Similarly, the real benefit of 5G, the cloud, carrier flexibility and similar telecom trends is how these technologies put us just a click away from colleagues or customers.
By now, digital communications have cemented themselves as essential to business operations. More and more, the future of telecom will be in different ways to access those communications and get ahold of human speakers.
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