No single device has revolutionized the way we work, play, and live than the smartphone. It’s hard to believe that they were invented decades ago, yet almost everyone has one now.

Smartphones themselves wouldn’t be nearly as functional without the offerings of telecommunication companies, who connect us together around the world and provide a foundation for modern society.

Fast communication, immense flexibility, and the creation of new opportunities are all thanks to the telecom industry. So, let’s look into the future for telecom and the trends that we can expect in 2021.

1. The Continued Dominance of UCaaS

All it took was a global pandemic to teach companies the importance of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). With the sudden shift to remote work, the majority of companies needed to adopt and implement UCaaS overnight. 

The large number of employees working from home this year drives most of the demand for UCaaS in the coming months and in 2021. The UCaaS market will grow to over $28 billion according to market analytics by 2021. Industries like telehealthcare specifically are expected to rise as well, growing by an estimated $100 billion by 2023.

But what makes UCaaS so important today? The rise of popular apps and platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cloud Softphone, Slack, and others are leading the way, providing companies with powerful functionality where they need it most. Modern UCaaS solutions make it easy for teams to talk, text, share files, project updates, and leadership visibility.

2. The Complete Rollout of 5G

You’ve probably heard of 5G, you know, the upcoming successor to 4G LTE? That same technology we said would become the new global standard. The same technology all businesses should be ready to embrace

While we expected 5G to be further along by now, it’s still a transformative technology in many ways.

Just how big will 5G get in 2021? Omdia, a London-based independent analyst firm, has recently released a report detailing that 5G devices will increase in number by 8 times in 2020. This figure is expected to continue growing in 2021.

But what makes it so special? 5G promises unheard of speeds, low latency, and unparalleled connectivity for mobile devices. This technology has the potential to accelerate widespread adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, improve call quality across the board, and provide businesses with a reliable network in this new remote work world.

Simply put — businesses will experience better Internet connectivity, voice and video calling, faster file sharing, and so much more — highlighting just how important mobility solutions are. 

3. Applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is essentially the use of digital imagery overlaid on real images and camera footage. Basic video games like the ever-popular Pokemon Go are examples of AR, as well as the facial filters on Snapchat and Instagram where users can apply virtual dog masks on their posts.

AR is for more than just social use though. For work, many B2B applications exist that can assist repairmen in finding where exactly to start troubleshooting. A camera and an algorithm can quickly scan and analyze a mess of cables to detect a problem. Future advances in AR technology leading into 2021 will likely come in the form of smartphone camera apps.

Virtual reality (VR) has been a hot topic for many months, especially in the video game and entertainment industries. 

But VR tech is coming to communications too. It won’t be long before companies use popular VR headsets like the Oculus Rift to make conference calls more engaging. Combine that with remote work, and it’s clear why this technology will be in demand.

4. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Research and development teams working for telecom businesses have extensively studied machine learning and artificial intelligence. These technologies can help optimize back-end processes. They power chatbots and speech recognition software useful for customer service interactions.

One example of machine learning in modern industry is AT&T and its ability to reduce costs and optimize networks using AI. AT&T also identifies common breakpoints through automation to help diagnose issues more efficiently. As detailed in the company’s annual report, AT&T will continue its use of machine learning well into 2021.

Chatbots are widely accepted today as an accessible and useful tool that improve the customer experience. Your customers can ask questions, join a live chat with your customer service teams, and qualify and capture leads.

5. “Smart” Customer Support

Telecommunication companies host call centers to provide customer service. This solution is notoriously slow and difficult for both parties involved, so there are attempts to find digital methods for improving it.

Automated systems designed to track analytics can predict the future problems of most customers. This way, the telecom company can deliver self-service tools to clients and reduce the number of support calls.

For example, a basic help desk powered by machine learning can resolve the majority of incoming support tickets. After that, a real-time interaction with an AI chatbot might cover some additional cases, leaving only a few left for a human representative to cover. The result is better customer satisfaction and lower costs for the company.

Big Changes Are Coming to the Communications Industry

And there you have it — 2021’s telecom trends. While some trends —like 5G or UCaaS — may seem similar, it’s clear that the future of telecom will involve seamless experiences that support the shift to remote work.

We expect to see communications solutions continue to improve the customer experience at all levels, whether that’s through improved service or high level functionality. Transformative technologies like AI and machine learning are already leading the way, optimizing critical processes in virtually all industries. Add to that key infrastructure improvements in the way of 5G and UCaaS implementation, and we should see the rise of a new communications standard — one where anything but perfect isn’t enough.

Do you have questions about our predictions? Or are you interested in learning more about Cloud Softphone and our UCaaS solutions? Get in touch with one of our UCaaS specialists today to learn more.

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