With the start of the New Year fresh in my mind, I decided to take a look at past and present trends in business telephony to make a handful of predictions for the coming months. Take a look to see what your business communications may look like in 2016 and beyond!
- The continuation of the contradiction. This includes both the death of the consumer landline and the increase in business-to-consumer voice communications. Consumers are embracing chat, Email, SMS, social, and other communication modalities, but there’s still nothing like a VOICE call when you need it. This means that multi-modal communications with an escalation pathway to VOICE channel for businesses are key in 2016. Integrations and escalation pathways that allow for seamless “modality escalation” might start to see real commercial use.
- WebRTC breaks into mainstream. This is the year of the web-enabled communication platform, which both Microsoft and Apple will be embracing. The reality is delivering ubiquitous voice in apps, not in a discrete fashion.
- The tipping point of Hosted vs Premise PBX shipments. It was no guarantee a few years ago that a hosted model for business telephony would be the predominant model going forward, but 2016 will be the year that hosted seats finally outpace traditional IP PBX shipments. Still have a digital or analog PBX? It’s not a prediction to say that ship has definitely sailed.
- Apps & Integrations. More than just delivering the requisite dialtone, 2016 will be about meeting your users – both customers and employees – where they are and in their line of business apps. Integrations into support systems, CRMs, and just about every other line of business app will become more than just a “checkbox on an RFP.”
- Big data for voice. The combination of voice into multi-platform analytics capabilities to make more sense out of voice in combination with the rest of customer behavior. Well beyond traditional reporting, this will start to integrate customer data and behavior to provide an integrative and unified experience across the board.
- The beginning of the end. Say goodbye to the concept of the “phone system” and hello to voice as a ubiquitous app embedded into the real business processes that people use.
- The new norm. We are going to see an end to the distinction between the call center and the phone system. Universal, multi-modal analytics will be the new norm.