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telecoms trends 2021

Telecoms trends you’ll see in 2021

As we move towards potential normality again, businesses will have to stay ahead of the curve to be competitive in a precarious market. Here are a few telecoms trends on the horizon that will be a driving force for change in the coming years.

26 February 2021

Whilst the past year has been a sedentary one for many, it has also sparked a wave of growth, innovation and disruption across various sectors. At the centre of this wave, and on the front line of the pandemic response, has been telecoms. This undervalued industry has enabled the remote work, learning, and socialising that has kept the UK afloat in unprecedented circumstances.

Now the telecoms sector stands on the precipice of momentous change, driven by the dramatic shift in customer behaviour. Extended periods of confinement have led to a rise in digitalisation as well as a growing expectation for constant connection. This has given way to an upsurge of other communication platforms which pose a unique challenge to the telecoms industry. On the other hand, it has also propelled the development and adoption of 5G, AI and IoT which could revolutionise telecoms.

As we move towards potential normality again, businesses will have to stay ahead of the curve to be competitive in a precarious market. Here are a few telecoms trends on the horizon that will be a driving force for change in the coming years.

5G will take centre stage

The increase in demand for connectivity has accelerated the need for 5G, which promises much more than increased speed. Compared to 4G, 5G offers lower connectivity cost, significantly lower latency (or lag) and around 100 times greater capacity.

The wider deployment of 5G will help fuel further innovation. Not only will it give rise to increased digitalisation, but greater bandwidth and increased speed will enable the incorporation of AI and IoT in telecoms services.

5G could also be a more sustainable option. Studies have shown that 5G transmits more data using less energy. In fact, the number of data bits transmitted per kilowatt of energy exceeds that of any previous kind of wireless technology. In the UK’s transition to a net zero economy, this will be a significant feature.

IoT will drive progress

The Internet of Things (IoT) has received a lot of attention over the past year, and for good reason. Like 5G, its implementation across various sectors promises greater connectivity, productivity and efficiency.

This will mean big things for the telecoms industry. The deployment of 5G will help usher in the next generation of IoT development. Enabling greater simultaneous connectivity between devices and the internet.

The rise of AI/ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will allow for better and faster analysis of data for many sectors. For telecoms, this will help drive the kind of personalisation businesses and consumers have come to expect.

AI-driven solutions are already being implemented in telecoms, but faster networks, better connection, and reduced lag will see it grow exponentially in 2021.

AI and ML help telcos to better manage and take care of the vast amounts of data they gather. This provides a more comprehensive view of a customer and their patterns, preferences and needs. While this has its privacy issues, it enables a smarter, holistic approach to client services and management.

Developments like this will help keep telecoms, and the businesses they support, afloat in the future. Not only will better data analytics and management mitigate future risks, it will also help drive future innovation and optimisation.

ISDN will be phased out

ISDN originally replaced and updated old fashioned landlines with digital lines. It was revolutionary for its time, and dramatically changed telecoms by transmitting both data and voice over a single digital link.

Since its inception in 1986, it has had significant upgrades, but not enough to keep up and compete with evolving technology and faster broadband internet connection. Then there are the physical challenges such as the cost to install, maintain or remove as well as the space it occupied on business premises.

So, despite regular updates and support from suppliers, alternate technologies like DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) and VoIP (Voiceover Internet Protocol) have long-since surpassed ISDN in several key categories.

As a result, BT Openreach announced in 2015 that it would begin phasing out ISDN this year. Plans include ceasing purchasing in 2023 and conducting a system-wide shut down at the end of 2025.

The switch to VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls are simply audio or video calls made over the internet. They have become increasingly popular over recent years. And shot up especially quickly when businesses were suddenly forced to work and conduct meetings remotely due to Covid-19.

There are two reasons driving the shift to VoIP, apart from the phase out of ISDN: lower cost and increased functionality.

This doesn’t mean that VoIP is the ‘cheap option’ – it is of higher quality than soon-to-be outdated systems such as ISDN. But because it requires no onsite hardware, is easier to fix, and can piggyback off your existing internet connection, it is also cheaper.

VoIP is also more scalable, flexible, efficient and will only improve with the deployment of 5G and faster broadband internet connection.

Customer-centricity is key

A rise in empathy is the trend permeating every sector of the economy this year. And it is especially true for telecoms: the industry responsible for maintaining much needed human contact.

This will be helped by the personalisation enabled by data-driven services. Not to mention faster, more efficient and cost effective telecoms services.

Customer-centricity has always been key to sustainable growth. But after this difficult year, people need kindness and understanding more than ever. Especially when it comes to complex admin such as managing telecoms for your business.

How Smith Bellerby is helping clients stay ahead of the curve

At Smith Bellerby we recognise that these upcoming changes will introduce unique challenges for businesses from SMEs through to large multisite organisations. Our goal is to provide simple solutions and help turn these potential disruptions into opportunities. 

We supply a comprehensive range of telecommunications to businesses across all major industries, in both the public and private sectors. We work together with our clients to minimise their network costs and connect with customers more effectively.

Our specialists are experienced in providing:

  • telecoms procurement
  • telephony and call centre strategy and management
  • cost reduction and recovery
  • bespoke business mobile solutions

With the rise of working from home, we can ensure stress-free handling of your telecoms so your business is ahead of the curve with future-ready communications. Get in touch now and see how we can future-proof your business.

Evelyn Chapman
Evelyn Chapman
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