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Emerging Corporate and Business Communication Trends in 2018-2019
Communication is the basis of business. One of the most fundamental aspects of a business involves customers, partners, employees – both on-site and remote, and any number of others that need to be connected – 24/7. Add to that how the modern world works. Not just communicating with their clients or customer base, but the ability to support efficient remote team collaboration enables businesses to scale up operations, open dynamic new branches, tap into new client demographics, and expand their sphere of activity globally.
A few years ago, the introduction of IP telephony saw a huge leap in the field of business communication. Today, technologies have advanced so much that people hundreds of thousands of kilometers away from each other can feel as if they are sitting in the same room. There has been huge growth in Software as a Service (SaaS) including SD-WAN, Unified Communications, etc. and it seems like a rising tide. While it used to be about picking up the phone to make and receive calls, the current technology behind that has changed enormously. In the context of business communications, as in any field, there has been an enormous transformation as more and more organizations rely more on their Internet connections to communicate with customers, suppliers, partners and employees.
Keeping up with current industry trends is always important to stay relevant. As technology evolves at an exponential rate, businesses and professionals need to prepare to maintain their competitive edge. It appears year after year that new and better technologies are constantly being introduced. Every new technology promises more effective communication than ever before.
So, what corporate and business communication trends might be useful for brands and employees looking to stay relevant in an evolving global marketplace and workplace? What are the technologies and trends that will ensure communicators are able to reach new audiences, improve their customer service levels and effectively engage with the next generation of employees and colleagues?
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): Companies can use AR experiences to give high caliber candidates a real taste of working in an organization. Or they can use VR to transport customers to new locations to explore new aspects of a company’s product or operations. Now, and in the future, these two technologies are sure to grow in importance. They are not just limited to creating games or novelty experiences. AR and VR can be used as valuable tools in many business applications. For example, one can organize a virtual 3D tour for potential customers of a facility under construction or to be built, or for a facility far away. One can conduct them at every step of the manufacturing and quality assurance process. And these are far from the only possible options for AR and VR, imagination is king, the sky is the limit.
Live Video Streaming: Consumers want connection and brand authenticity. To be brand loyal these days they need to see, feel, believe. The rise of live video streaming technology already allows companies to give people the taste they want. Studies show that Facebook Live videos are watched more often and longer than other content. Moving to and enhancing live streaming and 360° videos will only lead to growth in this consumer engagement.
WebRTC: Web-based communication in real-time (WebRTC) is a brilliant concept that allows two-way conversation or video conferencing and collaboration right from the Internet browser without installing any other program, special plugins, modules or accompanying programs. It offers users an incredibly simple and fuss-free tool to support all types of remote communication needed: chat, screen sharing, content sharing, audio and video communication.
Social Networks: Although these are not a complete novelty, the innovation and improved functionality are making them the trend of the moment. For example, intranets are increasingly supporting video communication, allowing the merging of multiple chat rooms, and providing improved opportunities for content exchange – all without compromising the basic quality of communication.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-based assistants like Siri act based on user’s voice requests. They work on the chatbot principle and search through browsers and execute different types of processes within the functionality of the mobile device. Increasingly, AI-based software solutions are achieving qualitatively new levels and are capable of performing quite complex tasks. The number of successful mobile applications based on machine learning and virtual neural networks increased significantly in 2017. In future, such applications will be increasingly used for business purposes including remote communication. Users will be able to acquire full-fledged virtual assistants who will take over some of the duties of today’s actual employees.
Increased adoption of hosted VoIP: Currently there are about one billion VoIP users worldwide. The landline connections of the past are disappearing fast. In today’s business world VoIP introduces many benefits including greater flexibility, enhanced control and greater scalability. Digitizing telecommunications enables companies to host and manage infrastructure in the cloud. The number of VoIP users is set to increase exponentially. This is especially true for businesses leveraging hosted VoIP as an effective way to manage costs, improve flexibility, and gain better control of communications systems. Cost savings and reduced maintenance requirements are set to make hosted VoIP a popular trend in the future.
An increasing shift towards mobility: Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever before. More and more employees are demanding flexible working conditions. From a business perspective, workforce mobility is a key enabler of productivity. This allows companies to find talent without geographical limitations. Some studies suggest that 75% of the US workforce will be mobile or remote workers by 2020. It’s no surprise, then, that mobile VoIP is becoming entrenched in modern digital culture. Smartphones and mobile and personal computing devices are set to play a very important role in the transition from an “office-based” to a “web-based” business model. With the need for tools that ensure productivity – no matter the location – businesses need to ensure that their employees are able to work from any location using any personal device.
The need for seamless communication and collaboration tools: The rise of cloud computing is one of the major trends and drivers in modern communication. As web-based applications become the new norm in enterprise computing, employees are better able to collaborate — working together on the same projects no matter where they are. Apart from platforms that streamline communication in the workplace, there is a need to support better collaboration both in the office and remotely. To ensure this, more and more businesses are turning to new web-based applications that provide seamless communication. This is the reason why VoIP and related tools are increasingly integrated with core business processes. Office 365 for Business, for example, now offers full integration with Skype.
Promotion of BYOD Strategy: The implementation of the IP telephony process had a significant drawback in that it did not allow employees or other people receiving communications to take communication devices with them. To remedy this in an increasingly mobile world, leading vendors of network equipment offer integration of IP phones with mobile devices already owned by users. It allows the phonebook to be automatically transferred to the user’s smartphone and redirect calls and corporate emails. This type of integration is convenient and necessary for business organizations that have branches operating in different time zones, for example. Networks based on bring-your-own-device technology allow companies to rent fewer offices and support personal user devices, instead, allowing employees to work remotely.
Integrating and simplifying communication tools: Seamless integration between business applications facilitates business coordination and collaboration needs. It can control everything from merging cloud-based functionality on computers to installing applications that enable discussion, chat, text, conferencing on mobile devices. Advances in technology allow users to simplify mobile tools and facilitate multiple communication platforms. In the future, digital workplaces will become more sophisticated, with greater focus on workplace flexibility and remote work options. A combination of cloud-based tools, along with unified communications, combined with web-based collaborative applications to integrate data and facilitate communication. This ensures productivity in the future and encourages better teamwork.
Greater use of visual communication: People learn and retain facts best when they “see” them. Business leaders are realizing that visual communication must be one of the tools for business success in the future. Whether it’s closing a deal, defying geographic boundaries and cultural differences, or holding conferences with remote team members, businesses need to shift to a more visual mode. This enables conferences to occur without the need for extended travel time and eliminates high travel and accommodation costs. It also allows for faster and more retention of impressions and facts – whether it’s a client, customer or employee.
Enhanced VoIP security and cyber-security spending: 2017 saw a lot of news about cyber-attacks. Companies and individuals have had their private information stolen and destroyed or held for ransom. Business owners should realize that this is not just aimed at enterprise companies. More than 20% of cyber attack victims spent at least $50,000 and took more than six months to recover from the attack, according to Nationwide’s third annual survey of business owners. Gartner (NYSE: IT ) projects that cyber-security spending is likely to increase to $93 billion dollars in 2018 and will increase steadily over the next 5 years. Security continues to be a key issue in the age of digital data where data is a highly sought after commodity globally. The increasing shift towards VoIP also presents unique security challenges. After all, Internet-based communications are easier to breach than traditional landline conversations. Organizations need to ensure additional security measures, including data encryption and 24/7 monitoring from hosted VoIP vendors.
However, what do these business communication trends mean to you as an employee, prospective employee, job seeker or decision maker? This means you need to be aware of and competent in the technologies behind these trends. Discover how a cloud-based tool can simplify communications for your prospective organization if it isn’t already in use. Make sure you are able to work effectively from any device. Consider how the available tools can best be used for more than one job – bring that to the interview table. Make sure your office has designated spaces for in-person and virtual meetings – as an employee – brush up on technology and etiquette. Learn how to use WebRTC and bring it into your organization so that — if not already — employees can communicate more easily in real time. Make sure you learn how to find interoperable communication technologies and learn how to connect endpoints to other devices and services. Consider how these business communication trends affect your hiring, retention, and productivity, and plan how you can adjust and adapt.
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