The first week of January; the ideal time to look forward to the coming year. A new year, with new opportunities. But of course, these opportunities need to be discovered. Xelion has done already a good reflection on the trends of Hosted Voice for 2017 and likes to share it.
Trend 1: Security
It is nothing new that people are concerned about the privacy of their data, we expect security to become a major part of the conversation for buyers of Hosted Voice for the foreseeable future. The Society for Information Management (SIM) conducted a survey in 2016, the results show that 36% of IT leaders consider security as a top priority for the coming year. The increase in focus around security is driven by the amount of data that is now being stored off site within the cloud with 3rd parties. The security focus will certainly have impact on who companies choose as a supplier of Hosted Voice technology, customers will want to know which country there data is stored in and how secure and resilient is the infrastructure it is stored on. Customers will also want to understand how they can access this data and potentially move it in the future.
Trend 2: Integration
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) has traditionally been complex, involved multiple parties, was expensive and the exclusive of the larger corporate market. With the continued growth of Hosted Voice and on premise PBX’s becoming obsolete CTI is becoming more accessible and common place and we expect a high percentage of businesses to have a form of CTI in 2017. Whether it is a CRM package, Email platform or some bespoke software, we expect at least 30% of Xelion customers to have deployed a form of CTI in this coming year, for the first time businesses will be able to view, track and report on all forms of communications from one central platform.
Trend 3: Organised Communication
The term Unified Communications (UC) has been around for many years now but you could challenge the market by asking what have the vendors unified? In many cases the only components of a UC service that are unified are billing and automated call forwarding to mobiles. We are already seeing demand for a more intelligent platform that actually does unify all forms of communication and Organised Communications is a step forward from the 1st generation of UC services on the market. OC will allow customers to view a contact and see every communication from Voice, SMS, Email and more in one simple to view system on the device of there choice.
Trend 4: Mobile first
35% of businesses employees view their mobile as a primary device compared to 30% seeing the laptop as most important. With this in mind buyers of Hosted Voice will be looking for mobile apps that enable all the features and functions of a traditional PBX with the advantages of Organised Communications. Research company Forrester claims that organisations that promote the use of mobile working and mobile applications grow faster than organisations where staff are tied to one location of work. With the challenges that come with mobile data coverage, customers realise that mobile apps need to work well on minimal data connections as well as 4G and Wifi networks. Processing calls via the GSM network is still as important as ever for reliability and efficiency.
Trend 5: The Internet of Things
The internet of Things has fully entrenched within the home environment, TV’s, On demand media players, Heating Systems, Washing Machines and much more now connect to the internet out of the box. The smart office is not far behind, by the end of 2017 we expect to see more automation and integration within the office environment. IOT will take us beyond gadgets such as automated coffee machines to enhanced digital meeting rooms, automated reception desks and much more!
What to do in 2017?
Looking at the above mentioned trends, it is clear that devices and applications of course have to serve a purpose but equally they need to be secure and simple to use across all mediums. The user experience is key, once deployed customers do not want to have think about how an applications works.
For us Hosted Voice has been a major trend in itself for a number of years and we expect the rapid transition from legacy digital PBX systems to integrated Hosted Voice platforms to continue and that Organised Communications will become a key part of our services and one that our customers will view as most important.