Time has always been a fascinating concept for humans. We can’t control it, it never stops, and it affects everything. Perhaps that is why people have often tried to predict what the future would look like.
Some predictions were a bit far-fetched, to the say the least. Take, for example, the popular movie series, Back to the Future. Even though it’s from the 1980s, it envisioned a future with flying cars and hoverboards. But as we know, 2015 wasn’t up to the movie’s expectations.
We also had stupefying predictions like a Smithsonian curator’s claim in 1900 that the letters C, X and Q would be removed from alphabets because they’re “unnecessary”. Or when a surgeon in the year 1911 predicted that humans would soon only have one toe instead of ten.
While it’s mystifying how such ideas came into existence, there were also a few predictions that weren’t so far off (we do have self-driving cars and flying cars in the testing stages).
Technology has, in fact, taken over the world. Everything that was once analogue is becoming digital and shifting to the cloud. The Internet has gained exponential traction over the years, and therefore, became a giant in the field of telecommunications as well.
Did anyone imagine in the year 1920 that a hundred years later, all communications would take place through a small box that could fit into our pockets? Or that the prominent mode of conversing would be by transmitting data packets over the web instead of using telephone lines?
What seemed like the distant future at one time is the reality now. Every sector, every type of business is increasingly adopting cloud services to optimise their communications, internal as well as external.
So what exactly is cloud communication?
What’s the first idea that comes to your mind when you hear the words cloud and communication together?
You’re right, it’s simply communications held over the Internet.
Using Web-based services, you can connect with people across the seven seas, from anywhere and at any time. Under the umbrella of cloud solutions, there are services covering every possible business need.
You can avail the benefits of virtual numbers for efficient communication between businesses and clients, IVR and AI for intelligent customer care, and many other features to optimise your staff’s workday. Record and track calls, receive analytics and reports, hold efficient remote meetings and share important documents on a single cloud platform.
Check out this informative piece on cloud phone systems to get a better understanding of their capabilities!
Additionally, integrated solutions like UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) and CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) allow you to improve collaboration and better coordinate team efforts to achieve business goals.
Take UCaaS, for example. This solution combines voice, video and message services into one tool. With this service in your firm, your communication flow becomes butter-smooth, so you can simply focus on increasing profits.
This is the Cloud as we know it today. But what next? What rising trends can we catch a glimpse of already? What lies in store for this technology? It’s important to anticipate and prepare for the scope of cloud communication to be able to make the best use of it.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Let’s look at 5 major trends in this sector and what you can expect:
- Statistics for the growth of cloud communications
Numbers don’t lie. Considering the scale and popularity of cloud services, a lot of research has gone into determining their potential. And the figures are illuminating.
A 2019 survey by Statista projected that the cloud telephony market would grow by almost 9% globally in 2020. They further expect the growth rate to increase to 17.8 per cent by 2021. These figures show a massive scope for cloud dominance ahead.
Similarly, reports by the IDC (International Data Corporation) predict that from 2017 to 2022, firms across sectors will spend more than USD 6 trillion globally in digital transformation investments.
The company has also stated that businesses which heavily invested in DX in the last couple of years have already started reaping benefits — they have faster revenue growth and stronger net profits as compared to the firms that didn’t invest.
Additionally, according to a report by Grand View Research, the global unified communications market is expected to be worth USD 167.1 billion by the year 2025. To give you some more context, that’s almost a 17% growth rate in the period.
All these statistics tell us just how integral the cloud is becoming to daily business operations. While gaining popularity in the present, this technology is set to dominate the future as well. It’s high time you ride the wave and adapt these services, or risk being left behind. To put it bluntly — you snooze, you lose.
2. The rise and rule of integrations
Why settle for one when you can have it all? Ask Mark Zuckerberg. The immense popularity of Facebook wasn’t enough; he also acquired Whatsapp and Instagram.
This is a good ideology to absorb. Your cloud phone system is more than capable on its own. But integrating it with other powerful tools is what really drives it home. Take your communications to another level by combining different apps for satisfying varying utilities.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools like Hubspot and Zoho are most commonly integrated with cloud systems. They essentially allow you to update and access all customer data and call details on a unified portal. Without the hassle of switching between multiple screens or logging into different channels, you can oversee all communications at one glance. Managers can also better track agent performance and project progress on a real-time dashboard.
Besides CRMs, you also have sales app integrations, like with Salesforce, to optimise sales tasks. Calendar and Google suite syncing allows the best possible team collaboration, even if you’re miles apart.
Look at it like this: If you find one weakness or missing element in an app, you can cover for it and create a holistically enhanced solution by integrating it with another. There’s really nothing to lose!
3. Being face-to-face in a contactless world
Even as the world has become more connected, our generations are becoming increasingly disconnected. We prefer to work flexibly, enjoy quiet nights in where we binge-watch shows on Netflix, and use apps or texts for communicating instead of speaking in-person.
Not to forget, with all the traffic and safety concerns these days, it’s not easy to visit people at the drop of a hat.
But that’s not an issue anymore. Video calls are reaching new levels of popularity, for personal as well as professional needs.
It’s 3 am and you can’t fall asleep? Just face-time your friend.
Your client couldn’t come to the office for an important meeting? Just hold a video conference and even have it recorded for reference and training.
Considering the huge impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our lives, we can safely predict that its influences are not going away any time soon. This means that the remote work model will continue for quite a while. In fact, many companies have expressed their desire to permanently shift to a work-from-home model. It saves cost and allows flexibility.
In this remote set-up, video conferences become even more important for better team collaboration. You can easily create a digital workstation with cloud capabilities. Hold diligent meetings, share presentations, and send files — all in one unified platform facilitated by cloud services.
4. Look out for hybrid cloud
When you think of hybrid, you probably imagine hybrid plant or animal varieties from biology lessons. Or you think of a hybrid car that combines an electric motor and gasoline engine to operate.
That’s precisely what hybrid means in the context of cloud communications as well. The hybrid cloud arises out of a combination of a public cloud server and private cloud services, often joined by an on-premise computing infrastructure as well.
Why are firms increasingly shifting to hybrid modes? Because you can get the best of both worlds with this system. The scalability, reliability and lower cost of a public cloud is accentuated by security, flexibility and control of a private service.
Not everything needs to be public. But at the same time, sometimes we require collaboration between different servers or types of setups (modern versus traditional). With a hybrid cloud, you don’t need to forsake one for the other.
This system will continue its meteoric rise in the coming years, so you should also consider adopting this trend for your firm.
5. The epitome of Internet popularity: 5G
Not too long ago, the world still used wired ethernet cables to access the World Wide Web. Then Wi-Fi entered and optic fibres revolutionised the technology, but lest we forget, through this all — mobile data became a necessity of the day.
The ‘E’ on the top of our phones switched to 3G and then 4G. Considering how big of a difference in speed we can feel between 3G and 4G, it’s only natural that the arrival of 5G would be a mammoth change.
In fact, 5G is here already. And it is soon going to become readily available for all, and when that happens, no one will want to be left behind.
This new generation mobile network is expected to have extreme functionality; it can virtually connect everything — humans, devices and objects. Users will be able to enjoy enhanced speed, greater network capacity and availability, and in general, a more uniform and reliable experience.
With this in mind, the scope of Internet-based operations, especially cloud communications, increases exponentially. A majority of businesses will undergo digital transformation, which will be in tune with customer expectations as well.
Let’s sum it up
Our flying Ubers may not be ready yet, but it’s still amazing that every need of ours is covered by smartphones that fit into our jeans pockets (or at least, for men; women really need bigger pockets). Constantly evolving is the mantra to continued success.
In this ever-changing technological world, your customers have their own sets of preferences. Whatever device they happen to be using, wherever they’re located, and at whatever time they find you — you need to be readily available.
Traditional telephony cannot keep up at all, and therefore businesses that make the switch to cloud immediately uncover endless possibilities to rise and shine. Cloud communications are the way to go; they’re already dominating the present, but they have so much more potential to build your future.