“Watson come here, I want to see you!” were Alexander Graham Bell’s first words on the commercially viable telephone in 1876. The telephone has gone through multiple transitions since then. From a big black box with a rotary dial to a swanky mobile handset paired with the office extension, telephony continues to go through a transitionary phase. This also provides the opportunity for the service provider and enterprises to embrace new technologies, while boosting profitability and efficiency in the process.
Here are a few trends which are rapidly developing:
- IP Telephony- Conventional PSTN technology is getting phased out with SIP. The transition is fueled by rapidly decreasing cost of IP enabled devices, reduced TCO, ever increasing number of skilled resources to manage the technology and the flexibility it extends to both service provider and the enterprise. SIP improves flexibility for call routing, mobility integration, scalability and disaster recovery besides cost savings without the burden of change of numbers. The other factor which is enabling this is replacement of proprietary hardware with commodity hardware and proprietary software with standard based software. Equipment manufactures like Siemens, Avaya and Cisco and open source providers like Asterisk, Free SWITCH and FreePBX have huge backing for the technology adoption.
- UCC- Unified communication in the simplest terms means integration of multiple real -time communication applications into a single, integrated suite. This enables users to collaborate in real-time through instant messaging, video conferencing and file sharing. A large percentage of organisations are going through multiple phases of UCC implementation starting with the integration of IM with telephone as the first step.
- Video Conferencing- VC is fast emerging as a tool to cut travel time and as a means to enable a distributed work force to meet face-to-face. With the reduced cost of video equipment, better overall quality, reduced price of bandwidth and greater availability of stable connectivity, VC adoption is increasing. The desktop integration of video has become standard in almost all UCC applications. Equipment manufacturers like Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom have an impressive range of products and are allowing integration of desktop video applications with VC Rooms or immersive telepresence systems.
- Mobility – With a forecasted number of 6Bn Mobile users and 4.7Bn Internet users by 2020, the Mobile is going to be the de-facto device for internet access. Extending office telephone and UC capability on mobiles is top on the wish list for the enterprise. This will result into cutting down of office infrastructure costs along with providing the advantage of a single number for employees. This has huge benefits for field staff as well and is the enabler for “Work from Home” policies at most organisations. However the pit falls include the regulatory environment in countries like India, and poor quality of outdoor connectivity.