As mentioned in a previous blog post, the telecommunications industry is one of the only industries to experience growth during the recession. According to a report by Searchtelecom: “In the midst of widespread economic turmoil, global telecommunications revenue is projected to increase from roughly $1.7 trillion in 2008 to more than $2.7 trillion in 2013.”
Unified communications typically work in tandem with telecommunications in order to diversify technological capabilities and allow for real-time communication beyond the telephone. Businesses typically rely on a combination of both telco and unified communications for business interactions. It makes sense then that both industries would show significant growth in the years ahead. Whether we pick up a telephone, use the Internet, send a text or instant message, or even turn on the television, we are utilizing communication technology in some very critical way on a daily basis.
There are several very interesting, important trends occurring in both the telco and UC space. Both technologies are continually evolving, and while it may be somewhat difficult to keep pace with every technical development that springs up, there are several overarching trends that are indicative of the direction communications tech is going.
As a kick-off to communications week, it is important to highlight the top trends in both unified communications and telecommunications.
1) The cloud: Everyone who comes into contact with technology, from seasoned professionals to those dabbling in tech on their off time, have heard about the ubiquitous cloud for the last several years. Debates over the cloud’s security, functionality and evolution have been hotly debated topics on many parts of the Internet, and cloud computing along with a multiple server interface will continue to dominate both technology and conversations for the foreseeable future.
While there are a multitude of reasons why the cloud’s popularity has caught on so rapidly, some of the easiest explanations continue to be cost convenience and space. Consumers moving their data to the cloud can access their information at anytime, anywhere. Instead of having to lug around burdensome hard drives and other data storage items, they can hop onto any computer with Internet access, anywhere in the world with the proper security information and have instantaneous access to their data.
Because customers don’t have to worry about setting up a communications infrastructure onsite, they can save money using cloud programs. Someone need not be available 24/7 to maintain a physical system; anyone can simply access their data on the Internet without knowledge of servers, hardware or infrastructure.
2) SAAS: In tandem with the cloud, software-as-a-service (SaaS) is changing the way software is both used and stored. Instead of having to purchase and tediously upload software from a CD-ROM onto a driver, users can simply purchase a program from a website and download it, and the associated data will be stored in the cloud. SaaS has become the preferred delivery method for software, and the industry is rapidly growing with sales being projected by Gartner to reach $10.7 billion dollars in 2011.
3) Mobile application integration: From non-crucial applications to business critical programs the new trend in tech development is offering program accessibility through mobile applications. In recent years, smartphone usage has increased exponentially. In order to cater to this broad demographic, software engineers and programmers are developing applications for any and every product that can be accessed by webOS, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile. This is a quickly developing industry and will inevitably be an integral part of the telco and UC process for years to come.
4) Multimodal tools and convergence. All the aforementioned tools offer users distinct vehicles through which to consume technology, but unified communications allows for multimodal integration. Now and increasingly in the future, users will be able to use software, applications and programs via their mobile phones, land lines, SMS, computers, netbooks, laptops, iPads, Nooks and any other device that allows for any type of communication. It is vital that companies working in the development sphere make their programs accessible to multiple devices in a myriad of ways. Multimodal software will dominate the future of tech, and unified communication and telecommunications is no exception.
 Keith Kessinger, “Telecom Revenue Will Grow despite Recession, Study Says,” Telecom Information, News and Tips – SearchTelecom.com, section goes here, accessed July 19, 2011, http://searchtelecom.techtarget.com/news/