Cloud communication technologies continue to advance and improve all the time. As more companies shift to cloud services and away from traditional communication technologies, several key trends are emerging. As we move into 2018, watch for these cloud communication trends to move to the forefront.
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1. Security Is Becoming a Priority
While connecting communications to the private cloud creates greater efficiencies, it also creates greater risk. The idea of a hacker eavesdropping on company communications via the internet is not entirely far-fetched, making the security of cloud-based communications a bigger priority. That’s not even considering the potential security issues created by lost or stolen devices, misdirected messages, or malware. Cloud-based communication providers are going to be increasingly called upon in the coming year to better secure communications technologies, as companies put more scrutiny on their enterprise service providers to keep their data safe. Expect the providers that perform best in this area to offer advanced security features, to move ahead of the competition.
2. UCaaS Will Grow
Unified Communications as a Service, or UCaaS, is growing exponentially and is expected to account for more than 60 percent of corporate phone systems by 2020. At the risk of oversimplification, UCaaS is the term for putting all of a business’s communication tools, including voice calling, web and video conferencing, messaging (both voice and text), and chat, into the cloud under the same umbrella. With such a service, people can access any tool at any time via any compatible device. Given that so many teams work remotely, and that the concept of “business hours” is becoming more fluid, UCaaS is an ideal solution that increases flexibility while reducing costs. Not only can companies save money on business travel costs and system maintenance costs, but they can also offer employees more flexibility in their working arrangements. In fact, UCaaS services like Cisco communications have already been shown to increase productivity by 60 percent, while also decreasing maintenance costs by 51 percent.
3. Artificial Intelligence Will Influence Cloud Communication
Artificial intelligence has already taken hold in the consumer market – how many times have you asked Siri to give you some information? However, expect artificial intelligence to become an increasingly integral part of company communications, as voice recognition technology and intelligent machine learning algorithms become more commonplace. This will be especially important in the call center and customer service industries, as chatbots and AI-powered search and service functions become more common, increasing self-service options and improving humans’ ability to provide excellent service.
4. Reduced Costs for Cloud-Based Communications
Over the last few years, the cost of cloud computing has decreased significantly, thanks in large part to the development of consumer services. As consumers embraced the technology outside of work, they began to expect it at work as well, and this contributed to the rise of BYOD.
One of the major benefits of BYOD, of course, has been reduced computing and communications costs, since businesses no longer need to maintain dedicated telephone lines for all communications. The increase in demand and development of the technology has contributed to decreased costs and today, the price of cloud communication services continues to drop. Watch for this trend to continue as more businesses adopt these technologies.
5. Technology for Collaboration Will Become a Higher Priority
For the last few decades, email has been a cornerstone of collaboration. But anyone who has ever had to scroll through an endless email thread just to find one specific piece of information can attest, it’s not always the most efficient tool. As cloud communication platforms develop, expect to see more tools and solutions for improving collaboration to evolve as well, all but eliminating the need for email in team-based environments. For instance, imagine creating a dedicated space where team members can share ideas, exchange information, ask questions and assign tasks – and update those tasks – at any time, from any device. It’s possible with a cloud communication platform and is becoming more in demand as teams become more spread out.
These are just a few of the big trends taking hold within the enterprise cloud communications industry. Suffice to say, though, that as the technology becomes more advanced and less expensive, and improves the productivity and efficiency of businesses of all sizes, it’s only going to continue to dominate the business communications landscape.