Business Telephony Trends for 2013
As business models are changing in the blink of an eye, mostly due to parabolic advances in different kinds of business IT, lots of professionals are reading the tea leaves and trying to figure out how businesses will communicate with customers and everyone else in a brand-new world based on emergent technologies like the Internet and wireless networks.
Skip the Landline
One of the big ways that businesses are changing is in dropping old analog technologies for new ‘digital’ or ‘virtual’ ones. This is perhaps most evident in the idea that many are expecting old landline telephone services to get jettisoned by big telecom providers, so that these companies don’t end up going the way of the U.S. Postal Service. For example, a story from late last year in The Verge analyzes AT&T’s Velocity IP project from the standpoint of measuring the company’s existing service to landline-bound rural areas against its new plans to swiftly develop wireless networks to the tune of $8 billion in the next two years. All of this will have a big effect on businesses which are already switching in droves from traditional landline service to new private branch exchange and IP telecom solutions. More and more enterprises are trading in their desk phones for newer ‘soft phones,’ and trading in workstation or office telephony for smartphones and mobile devices that allow them to communicate from anywhere, and that’s one of the biggest trends to watch this year.
Another big item that people are still watching involves cloud technologies. While the emergence of hosted cloud services have already begun to catch on in a big way, these kinds of technologies are expected to continue snowballing through 2013 and beyond – one way to look at it is that the major realization of cloud benefits has already happened to a large extent, but that it is taking a while to actually implement these services across various markets and industries.
One of 2013’s biggest but more obscure trends is labeled with the portmanteau SoLoMo, which to the uninitiated stands for ‘social, local, mobile.’ This trifold concept includes the rise of the smartphone, but also relates to the many businesses jumping on the social media bandwagon and using new social media platforms to interact with customers. It also gives the nod to ‘local commerce’ movements including local food, which is booming, and domestic business support versus international imports.
New Players in Office Technology
This next trend is one that’s uniquely interesting based on a study of how specific tech companies have locked in major parts of business telecommunication and office resource markets. Some are suggesting that the decades-long dynasty of Microsoft Office may be eroding, and that new services, namely Google Apps, will be competing for what’s on the virtual desktops of many enterprises. Some reporting seems to suggest that, Microsoft loyalty notwithstanding, the “cloud strength” of Google Apps may win over a lot of new customers, even though Microsoft has begun to offer its own Office 365 product including some hosted services like email, blended with office suite licensing.
Look for all of these issues to heat up in a big way as the business world continues its inexorable slide toward unmooring from physical locations and physical hardware setups to a “virtual” universe.
Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer covering technology and business solutions at Techopedia, Business Finance Store and Ringio, focusing on emerging trends in IT services.
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