Businesses have had two years of uncertainty and rapid change.
As we (hopefully) come out of this into a more stable, certain 2022, organisations are seeking communication technologies to support our new ways of working.
Combining our learnings from the pandemic years with emerging technologies, 2022 looks to be a year of opportunities and strengthened collaboration capabilities.
These are six of the trends we expect to see over the coming year which your business could take advantage of.
1. Increasing move to VoIP
The PSTN switch off, which will remove all ISDN or analogue phone lines, is spurring many businesses to move to VoIP. This trend will continue in the coming year.
There are plenty of other advantages to VoIP which are luring organisations away from traditional telephony.
VoIP is the perfect solution for our new working patterns. You can take and make internal and external calls from your desk or phone anywhere you like, so long as you have an internet connection.
For most businesses a VoIP solution will reduce their telephony costs:
- No line rental charge is applied, since your phones will be using your existing internet connection.
- VoIP subscription and call charges are almost always cheaper than traditional phone systems.
In addition, phone hardware costs are reduced. Your people can use headsets and/or their existing mobiles instead of purchasing desk phones.
VoIP solutions are highly scalable, growing with your business, without the cost and disruption of infrastructure upgrades.
2. 5G powering the move to VoIP
By the end of the year most of the UK should have 5G coverage.
This is great news for existing VoIP users and we anticipate it will encourage many more organisations to switch to VoIP phones, particularly those with remote workers.
The introduction of 5G should provide better network availability across the country. And the quality of your calls should become even better – 4G can take 10 milliseconds to connect, whereas 5G should take less than 1 millisecond.
3. Unifying communications for employees and customers
Building on the move to VoIP, we expect Unified Communications to be the buzzword of 2022.
Unified Communications (UC) centralises all your communication and collaboration needs into one platform. Plus, because it’s cloud based, your teams can access it from anywhere.
This reduces the cost of subscribing to multiple applications and increases productivity through a single, intuitive interface (no more toggling between apps).
And UC isn’t just beneficial for your internal communications. It enables you to provide simple and effective omnichannel support for your customers.
We have seen many single service providers jumping on the UC bandwagon in the last year or so, for example Zoom creating Zoom Phone and recently purchasing Five9, a cloud contact centre software provider.
4. Businesses upgrading their tech to support hybrid meetings
In recent times we have all become adept users of video call technology.
As we move through 2022, we’ll see more people return to the office, though probably not every day. Organisations are looking for opportunities to blend time working remotely and in the office, to maximise productivity and employee wellbeing.
To support this move, we expect an increasing focus on improving collaboration between people in the office and those working from home.
Enhancing meeting room environments is a key part of ensuring that everyone can participate fully, regardless of whether they are in the room or joining remotely.
This will require many organisations to improve the quality of their video and audio infrastructure. Beyond this, it’s an opportunity to take advantage of some of the latest meeting technology, For example:
- Shared digital whiteboards to enable everyone to be equally involved (see the video below for an example of this with Microsoft Teams).
- Voice recognition and speaker tracking to focus attention.
- Intelligent cameras which will stream individual video of each person in the room, alongside those joining remotely, so everyone has the same experience of the meeting.
- Meeting transcriptions, including voice recognition to identify who said what.
5. VoIP artificial intelligence becoming more accessible
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being applied to VoIP technology in increasingly sophisticated ways. This is a trend which is here to stay.
Behind the scenes AI can help to manage issues such as call latency, low-bandwith and incorrect network configurations. The speed at which AI can spot, assess, and deal with problems makes it the perfect partner for VoIP.
As well as improving the overall VoIP experience for your business, AI will increasingly help you in a more tangible way. AI is a powerful tool in improving call management processes, with machine learning ensuring that it is constantly adapting to your callers’ needs. This will improve productivity (particularly for call centres) and give your customers a better experience.
You can also expect AI to become a feature of anti-fraud activities. Systems are being developed to detect inauthenticity in voices, enabling them to alert the business to a potential fraud threat. Something which large insurers, for example, are particularly interested in.
As AI rolls out across the business landscape, we expect it to become cheaper and much more accessible to smaller businesses.
6. Increased focus on call security
As cloud-based communication technology accelerates, so do the cyber threats.
Over the coming year, as more businesses turn to VoIP and UC, they will also need to turn their attention to communications security.
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) will be a critical part of this, ensuring that calls are encrypted and “unhackable”. For example, Microsoft Teams are implementing this later this year for one-to-one calls. [note this will link to a new article about E2EE, not yet ready]
For organisations moving to VoIP who have an enhanced need for security (for example in financial or health sectors) an on-premises installation may be the better option. This will minimise the risk of cyberattacks.
Get the best for your business in 2022
This article only scratches the surface of the communication opportunities which could benefit your organisation in 2022.
We specialise in designing communication systems to support businesses’ needs and aspirations. Call us on 0800 316 2970 to find out more.