A decade of telecoms: what has pushed the envelope and what is next?

The past 10 years in telecoms has seen the industry advance far more than in previous decades. Technology as a whole has allowed the unified communication business to solve bigger, more complex problems for organisations.

We are now in a position where technology, and specifically telecoms, has adapted to the shift in working culture and flexible employment.

Long gone are the days of a standard 9-5 role where it was essential personnel were office bound. It’s not just the field sales person who needs to work from anywhere; whether that’s home, a hotel or service station on the side of a busy motorway.

To celebrate World Telecoms Day, we have put together the major advancements over the last 10 years or so, as well as what we think the future holds for our industry.

The key developments over the last 10 years.

VoIP

Convergence is nothing new in telecoms. We could write a dedicated thesis on telecom convergence. However, one of the key advancements in the industry has been the convergence between telecoms and the internet. Voice over IP (VoIP) has enabled endless possibilities in unified communication, and not just in the workplace.

From seamlessly clear international conference calls to Skyping from either side of the globe are all down to VoIP.  For businesses, it’s the cost savings, reliability, and flexibility that VoIP offers that makes it an attractive option.

4G

Much like VoIP, this allows us to communicate quicker, more clearly, and with less hassle. Mobile phones aren’t just portable computers; they are essential to us performing our daily tasks and can define processes and services within an organisation.

Smartphones

Again, this warrants a feature on its own, but with the development of the smartphone, the working world has not only adapted, but our personal habits have become shaped by the handheld device. We are better connected than ever before, and many of us can perform tasks that on our smartphones to the same degree as if we were in the office. This has allowed flexible working to flourish to such a degree whereby full-time employment, remote from an office environment, is commonplace.

The next decade – what’s on offer?

Smartwatches

Apple’s iWatch is something that has become popular over the last 18 months, but people are still unsure to its long-term viability. A cosmetic extension that confuses more than it solves, is currently where the technology finds itself.

5G

The next big stride forward on from 4G will be 5G. The next step in the connection evolution is expected to support the growing IoT,more on that below. It isn’t yet clear what 5G will look like in detail, but the next decade is certain to see us take a step forward with the fifth generation of mobile telecommunications.

Not only will it impact consumers’ interaction with the world, but it will enable cities to have a greater ability to communicate and develop real tech hubs. With optimum connectivity, the tech sector is set to dominate and enablers will be able to help organisations become more efficient and better at what they do.

IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been covered extensively in the last 12 months, but it will really become apparent how it influences, and mainly dictates, our system of working. The development of IoT will enable us to have the internet engrained in everything we do, and from a telecoms perspective; it will bring us closer to clients like never before.

Our lives, and way of working, will be more efficient. It will allow us to dismiss clutter and time-sapping administration tasks that will alter the manner in which we operate.

These are a few of the ideas we have on how the telecoms industry have evolved over the past decade, and what is in store for us as we look ahead to the next 10 years.

Written by Gareth James, an engineer at TWL Voice and Data.