Remote working is here to stay, so what innovations will we see in the telecoms industry over the coming years?

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Technology has come a long way in the past decade, and the telecoms industry is no exception. Since 2010, this sector has seen incredible advancements and the worldwide revenue of telecoms services is estimated to be £1,026 billion. This year, we have seen an overwhelming move towards mobile and flexible working — a trend that was already gaining momentum before the COVID-19 lockdown made it a necessity for many businesses. Thanks to the telecoms industry and the innovations we are predicting to see over the coming years, working remotely is set to be more efficient than ever before.

The advancements of telecoms

It was during the 2010s that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) really began to build traction and offer a high-tech solution for the telecoms industry around the world. Along with the growing availability of VoIP, the past decade has seen an incredible improvement in internet services. High-quality internet has become available to the masses, with many users benefitting from 100Mbps and upwards connections — at reasonable prices. As more and more businesses move their processes towards cloud services, reliable internet has become an absolute necessity for any organisation.

Since then, cloud services have made flexible and remote working possible — something that has come in extremely useful in the recent months. Remote working has also benefitted from fibre broadband, which has become far more accessible for everyone in recent years — an estimated 96% of the UK now have access to internet speeds of at least 24Mbps.

The telecoms industry has undoubtedly been an area of great innovation in recent years, but what does the future hold? The 2020s are set to bring some extraordinary telecoms advances and trends — here are the top four to look out for.

Hosted telephony

Businesses everywhere will continue to switch to using cloud-based technology, at an ever-accelerating rate, and largely switch to a cloud-first approach and business plan. Hosted voice services will also become the norm — necessitating an improved telecommunications infrastructure.

Most businesses are set to move away from the need for physical equipment wherever possible, switching from traditional PBX systems and towards a softphone-only environment. As well as offering a smarter way to operate, this switch will also bring many other benefits, including:

  • Disaster recovery capabilities — traditionally, this was only afforded to organisations with a lot of money to spend

  • Flexibility — giving staff the ability to work from any location while still being part of the corporate system

  • Preparing for the ISDN switch-off

  • Cost-savings — which can easily be achieved through consolidation, reduced call spend, and typically, a low capital expenditure when implementing a new system

The ISDN switch-off

Openreach has already announced that analogue and ISDN services will be coming to an end in 2025, which means all businesses will have to move away from these traditional systems and embrace the future of telecoms technology. It is essential that these upgrades are made before it is too late, and that businesses are not left without their voice services because of reacting too slowly. From now on, any new buildings or upgrades are set to be developed around super-fast fibre FTTP instead of the FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) technology that we have seen previously. This mass upgrade is set to provide speeds of up to 1Gbps.

Providers are upping their game

Many providers are taking communications to the next level and utilising mobile convergence options that will allow your phone system the functionality of a softphone without the need for one. Mobile convergence technology will be yet another factor that facilitates remote, flexible working. We are already well on our way to full convergence (smart phones, for example, already combine the functionality of a telephone, a camera, a music player, etc.), but we are likely to see this tech become more integrated within our business practices over the coming years.

5G will give us endless mobile possibilities

Both customers and businesses are set to benefit from the mass-introduction of 5G. Mobile voice services will be greatly improved by the installation of 5G, meaning that a mobile workforce will be able to use voice services even when they are away from a WiFi connection. These exciting possibilities will also be furthered by innovations such as AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) — both of which will contribute to the easy formation of an interconnected mobile workforce. Recent news however, suggests that the UK’s potential decision to stop using Huawei equipment might limit our access to 5G until 2025. It will certainly be interesting to see how the world of 5G unfolds in the next few years.

The future is more inter-connected than ever, while also looking to be extremely mobile. Make sure your business stays up to date with the trends and try to remain one step ahead so you can always ensure you are benefitting from an efficient and well-connected workforce. If you feel it’s time to make some upgrades or improvements in your telecoms systems right now, utilise external IT support and some expert advice to really up your game.

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Natasha Bougourd is a Lead Applications Writer at TSG, offering managed IT support in the UK, with expertise across a range of areas including Office 365, Dynamics 365, document management and business intelligence.

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