Communications was once a person-to-person mechanism allowing individuals to collaborate or share information with others. The move from traditional phone networks to VoIP, from wired to wireless, from voice to chat all involved two or more people at the ends of conversations.
The next wave however will represent the largest shift in our lifetimes - the most important communications innovations in the next decade will transcend people. This software-defined future will uproot corporations, contact centers, developers and service providers.
Those who understand this wave will be able to harness it. Those who don’t, risk drowning as their competitors leapfrog them.
Digital Transformation allows you to run your business more effectively with less people according to Mitel CEO Rich McBee. He mentioned that quite often, collaboration solutions play a big role in this evolution. Admittedly, this is abroad term and it’s not complete without consideration of the following technologies shaking things up as well.
Siri, Google and Alexa have trained the public to speak with machines instead of humans. Likewise, IVR systems with speech recognition have allowed people to receive self-service support from companies using the phone. Every customer-facing corporation will have to adapt. New business models are being invented which leverage this technology and finally, soon, bot to bot communications will be commonplace.
AI/Machine learning gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. It’s employed in a range of computing tasks where designing and programming explicit algorithms is infeasible. Example applications include spam filtering, detection of network intruders or malicious insiders working towards a data breach, search engines and computer vision.
Predictive Analytics in corporate communications allow organizations to predict human interactions and take action as needed... Companies and carriers can use it to get information on hold times, the most common words being mentioned on calls and call volume between departments. According to 8x8 CEO Vik Verma, "Communications data with raw context is coming together.” He added emphatically, “Whoever controls this platform for communications, wins." The transformative power for companies to continually mine their verbal streams for problems and opportunities will create immense opportunities.
5G technology will be exponentially faster than 4G and works as devices travel 310 MPH! in addition, it will provide a tremendous decrease in latency, allowing autonomous cars traveling at 60 MPH to receive important messages relating to surrounding obstacles in centimeters, not feet (like 4G). Finally, it will allow a minimum level of service to one-million devices in a 2.6 square mile area, making it IoT’s best friend. Bottom line – instant communications will allow industrial IoT to flourish and create many billions of dollars of opportunity via cost savings and new business models.
A HetNet is a network with complex interoperation between macrocell, small cell, and in some cases WiFi network elements used together to provide enhanced coverage, with handoff capability between network elements. The increased need for data access by myriad devices make this technology a must for the connected enterprise – and an absolute necessity for carriers to provide.
Network function virtualization allows traditional fixed-function hardware to be replaced by software running on typical servers and computers found in data centers. The idea is software is more efficient than hardware. Carriers are using it to transform their operations and corporations are using it to purchase services from carriers as opposed to buying ever-more boxes to solve problems.
SD-WAN allows packets to be transported over various networks depending on preset specifications while adding redundancy. Using this technology, voice and video traffic could be tagged to travel over a faster data path. Software makes the WAN more flexible, allowing for a more dynamic and proactive organization.
WebRTC brought the power and simplicity of web development to communications – allowing voice, video and data communications to be transmitted via a simple web browser on any device. For the first time, new business models have been enabled – allowing more simple communications without the need for complex plugins or proprietary software.
No software-defined future could be complete without application programming interfaces or APIs – allowing programs and applications to communicate so data can be more easily shared. APIs are the roadways needed for effective digital transformation – they allow traffic to travel seamlessly between systems, allowing instant reaction to important information.
In conclusion, these technologies will come together and provide the following themes:
- Ubiquitous connectivity where 5G, Wi-Fi and LoRA connect everything and NFV, SD-WAN and SDN make it so everything communicates on the same session level.
- Contextual Processing where APIs, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics combine together the information and maximize the performance of interactions at the Edge and in the Cloud.
- Intelligible Interfaces where Augmented / Virtual Reality, Chat Bots with Natural Language Processing and Real Time Communications enable humans to interact with each other and everything else.
Communications 20/20 will be held July 18-20, 2017 at Caesars Palace,
Las Vegas, Nevada and will focus on the next wave of technology and innovation that will transcend the importance of person to person contact, disrupting the future of the entire communications industry. Communications 20/20 will provide vital knowledge and insight through unique programming, hands on training, live demos, keynotes, exhibits and networking events.
This unique conference will allow for individuals and companies entrenched in the traditional communications ecosystem that want to understand how to adapt and profit from the new software-defined communications trends that will permeate through all industries and enterprises.