Starting off, a lot has changed in the telecom industry and let alone the world over the last 1 and a half years. This list might have looked quite different if it weren’t for the pandemic changing how businesses operate right down to the core. It has challenged many companies to put their thinking cap on and swiftly adapt to produce new offerings as well as implement changes to current ones. All to continue on smoothly through these tough times. It is to be believed that this has also affected pretty much every industry thus far, whether it be detrimental or just a little road bump.
So, this year’s trends in the telecom industry are bound to be guided and reflected by the challenges and demands that have occurred because of the ongoing situation. But to be fair, the only constant in most industries is change, whether it be in the industry itself or the environment in which it resides. This year, the environment took the first place in line and has pushed the industry to be at its innovation peak. This can among others be seen in how many have adapted business models to, due to lockdowns, cater to the need of a remote work force. In Sweden, most of us already operate as mobile workers, but to see this being pushed to the maximum can only be attributed to the pandemic and the related challenges.
1. Remote work and collaboration features
We’ve already seen a boom in this department in the telecom industry, but we can expect to see even more innovative features and assets that remote workers may use to ensure productivity and connectivity. Connectivity was of course very much a big trend before the pandemic, but more companies can be expected to take their businesses as well as colleagues to the cloud. Not only does this ensure that the current working situation can proceed, but it also prepares business for these kinds of issues in the future. Related to this, we can also expect to see even more holistic platforms take place that gathers all necessary components such as apps, systems, etc. – under one roof.
2. Business lines on cell phones
In Sweden, it’s already common that employers provide employees with business cell phones and our motto is mobile first. However, as this isn’t the case for many other countries, we can expect to see an increase in cell phones provided to employees. This is primarily due to 2 reasons; the first being that it allows true remote work whereas employees can take their work with them, whether it be in a virtual office or on the go. Secondly being that remote work is bound to stick around for longer than expected and has even been welcomed to stay permanent in some companies.
3. Enhanced AI customer experience
While we saw plenty of chatbots pop up in 2020, we can expect vast improvement as well as a more adapted business approach in 2021. While virtual assistants, chatbots and conversational AI platforms can truly help business with their customer relationships – we have also found crucial loopholes that business need to consider. While it may work for some to exclusively use AI customer interaction, It’s not a one fits all solution. Some businesses will have rethink their approach and newcomers will have to find ways to draw a balance between their workforce and their AI workforce. Chatbots and such will still be welcomed in 2021, but we will likely also see business more carefully implementing AI in identified problem areas instead of of allowing human contact to become completely obsolete.
4. Cloud telephony in education
Cloud-based telephony is already a prevalent player in most industries but has been relatively unexplored in the education industry. This year, due to the pandemic, education has been managed mostly online. We can therefore expect exponential growth in the cloud-based education VoIP market in the coming years as online learning will be the new norm to some. While this may have been seen as a major road bump, it has also proved quite the opportunity for those that don’t have the means to attend classes as normally would. Teachers can reach peers that have less access to Wi-Fi, and students are able to attend colleges countries away without having to go through with an elaborate move. In a way, it therefore helps bridge the education gap and we’re glad to see that telecom can play a part in this.
5. Digital security in the telecom industry
With more companies moving to cloud based open technology, a big focus this year will be data integrity and security. The pandemic proved to be the looking glass for security issues in many businesses as they went online and remote. As a result of this, more telecom providers will be heavily investing in cybersecurity measures in 2021.
6. Go Big Data or go home
As more companies move to the cloud – to facilitate seamless communication through a variety of connected devices, data use will greatly increase. In 2021, big data will therefore play a major role in helping the telecom industry find solutions that support networks carrying big amounts of data. For Telecom players, the development and methods to monitor this data, move it from devices, and securely support it – will become a crucial activity in 2021.