Communication is one of the fundamental elements of the business. Customers, partners, remote employees are exactly the people you should be able to stay in touch with in 24/7 mode. The means to support remote collaboration enable the scale of the existing enterprises to be increased, in particular, open new branches, find new clients, expand its sphere of activity (both within the country and abroad).
A few years ago, the functionality provided by the introduction of IP telephony was considered the top opportunity in the field of business communications. Today high technologies have moved so far that the interlocutors located in hundreds of thousands of kilometers can feel the true effect of presence. They can feel like sitting in the same room. In this article, you will find out which communication trends are leading for 2017-2018.
10 Main Communication Trends
So, what are the current trends in business communication? Let’s take a closer look at them.
1. Internet of Things. The concept of IoT, which was applied primarily in the industrial and logistics industries before, gradually began to enter the sphere of business communications. So, using different types of wireless connection (WIFI, GPRS, WiMAX, Bluetooth, etc.), mobile device users can keep in touch anywhere in the world where GSM networks are available. In addition, IoT allows business owners to provide full awareness of how your business processes are implemented. In particular, the M2M technology, which is accompanying IoT concept, provides the ability to collect critical business data on an ongoing basis. It maintains a constant relationship between all electronic active devices within your organization. As for the examples, it is impossible to leave Windows 10 IoT Core and Windows IoT Remote Client aside. Together they enable using low-demand devices with a network connection for business purposes.
2. 5G Mobile Internet. 5G is the 5th generation of mobile communication, which is capable of providing a data transfer rate of up to 100 Mbit/s in cities. The practical advantages of this technology are quite obvious: mobile device users will be able to interact seamlessly with each other through video communication while choosing the maximum resolution possible. Moreover, the 5G standard will help to integrate all kinds of video communication applications supporting simultaneous content exchange into everyday life. Usually this type of software carries high loads on the network bandwidth, which can significantly slow down the performance in case of a multi-user access. Unfortunately, this standard has not yet gained the mass use. Its commercialization is planned for about 2020, and the cost of deployment is more than 50 billion US dollars.
3. Cloud services. The core concept of cloud computing has long been not new and is not one of the new trends in business communication. However, 2017 provided a significant impetus to the development of this Internet services area. This can be explained, first of all, by a huge number of constantly improving methods of cyber-attacks, which literally stirred the public during this year. Cloud storage is safer compared to standard data centers and is more fault-tolerant. On the other hand, retrieving and transferring data from the cloud online is less problematic than it might be with physical storage. In this case, you will use a minimum of network resources and processor power of your own network device. This is extremely important when transferring capacitive traffic (for example, with media content) or when implementing large-scale VoIP networks. In our opinion, one of the most well-known and wise solutions of such services is Microsoft SharePoint Online, which provides a cloud storage capacity of at least 1Tb per user in addition to the main functionality.
4. Visible Light Communication. One of the most significant modern trends in wireless communication is a Visible Light Communication technology. The emergence of LiFi in the next few years can replace its well-known analog, WIFI. LiFi uses LEDs that operate under high-frequency voltage and create bidirectional channels for data transmission as access points. The light emitted by these LEDs is not visible to the human eye and does not penetrate walls, so their radius of action is rather small. Nevertheless, due to the use of light rays instead of radio waves, this communication technology, unlike WIFI, can be used in airplanes, medical centers and even at shallow depths underwater. In addition, the fact that LEDs consume much less energy compared to conventional incandescent lamps classifies LiFi as a “green” innovation.
5. 4K Image Format. A few years ago, the 4K video calls was only available in extremely expensive video conferencing systems (for example, Cisco). As for the current year, this resolution, which is one of the current trends in digital communication and providing an image of at least 8 million pixels, is becoming widely available and ideal for introducing video conferencing systems for businesses. For example, such world-renowned manufacturers of electronic equipment like LG and Dell have produced quite budgetary models as for devices with similar technical characteristics in the range of 350-700 USD. This tech feature can become one of the most important components of self-completed telepresence systems in the nearest future, providing a qualitatively new level of distance talks.
6. Augmented and Virtual Reality. If you want to expand your horizons of the client base, these two technologies will surely be useful for you. Do not think that they can be used exclusively when creating games. As practice shows, AR and VR are used in many business applications. For example, such software can organize a virtual 3D tour for potential customers of the facility in which the construction is only being carried out. And this is far from the only option for using AR and VR: all one needs is to apply imagination. For example, such a popular application like Anatomyou allows you to make a real 3D tour of the human body. This software can be successfully used even in school curricula.
7. The promotion of BYOD strategy. The implementation of IP telephony has one significant drawback: the inability to take communication devices with them. Nevertheless, today many leading vendors of network equipment offer a remarkable compromise, namely, the integration of IP phones with mobile devices of users. The phonebook is automatically transferred to the user’s smartphone, calls and corporate email are redirected, too. This is very convenient for business organizations, which branches operate in different time zones. One of the first companies to implement the concept of BYOD is Cisco. Networks based on their equipment allow you to rent fewer offices due to the ability to support personal user devices. Thus, many employees of some large organizations get the opportunity to work remotely.
8. WebRTC. Web-based communication in real time (WebRTC) is a truly breakthrough concept that allows to run a video conference and to collaborate with people in the internet browser without installing any other program, special plugins, modules or accompanying programs. Thus, users acquire an incredibly simple tool to support all types of remote communication: chat, screen sharing, content sharing, audio and video communication. To try out the advantage of this technology, you can start using the iOS messaging application called WebRTC, which provides both means for two-way communication and tools for holding full-fledged conferences.
9. Social Intranets. Such solutions are not a novelty. What can bring an innovation to them is the advanced functionality. For example, the support for video communication, merging of several chat rooms, as well as advanced opportunities for content exchange without compromising the quality of communication (such as using the Quality of Service policies). A good example of an Intranet is a Jostle People Engagement, a mobile application for iOS, which allows you to enhance communication between employees of the corporation with tools such as ACTIVITY view, NEWS view, PEOPLE view, DISCUSSIONS view, LIBRARY view, PROFILE view and Storage Optimization.
10. Artificial Intelligence (AI). Probably, each of us is familiar with the assistant based on the AI concept, specially created for the iPhone: Siri. This software based on the voice requests of the user operates on the chatbot principle, searches the browser and implements all kinds of processes in the mobile device’s functionality. Now such software solutions have stepped on a qualitatively new level and are quite capable of performing quite complex teams. In particular, in 2017 the IT sector has been supplemented with a number of quite successful mobile applications based on machine learning and virtual neural networks. These apps can be used for business purposes including remote communication processes. Thus, users of such software acquire full-fledged virtual assistants, who can take over part of the duties of real employees. A bright representative of such a business solution is the Chanty application. It is a messenger with an unlimited history of messages and an advanced search system based on the concept of Artificial Intelligence. Chanty allows you to increase the productivity of your team by 30%. Also it has an extremely low entry threshold, which is especially important when some of your employees are not confident users of PCs and similar mobile devices.
Business Communication Trends: Summary
As you can see, the year 2017 brought us many significant developments for business communications in the field of IT. And, one way or another, all of the above emerging trends in communication are a great opportunity for software developers to create new software solutions.
The most promising of them, in our opinion, are VR, AR and 5G, which are potentially able to maximally reduce the cost of deploying a business with dispersed human resources. As for the AI, applications based on this concept are becoming more and more advanced every year, so very soon we will be able to expect the release of software solutions for businesses that can completely replace a number of real employees for your organization.
Also published on Medium.