The future of business telephony. What will 2023 bring?
More than 140 years ago, Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call in human history to his assistant, Thomas Watson. Telephony has evolved ever since. It is now indispensable to our day-to-day communications.
As telephony continues to improve and innovate, these are the nine trends we predict to have the most profound impact on business telecommunications in 2023 and beyond:
- Phones will continue to be at the core of telecommunications
- Text messages will see a rise, but phone calls will dominate customer calls
- Analogue telephone systems will meet their end
- We’ll see a rise in mobile unified communications
- Business telephony will become all-present
- We will witness an increased focus on telephony security
- AI will make telephony more intelligent
- Smaller businesses will rush to adopt VoIP
- Unified Communications as a Service will see an increase
1. Phones will continue to be at the core of telecommunications
Phones are here to stay. Most businesses prefer the personal touch of a phone call. While traditional phone hardware may be obsolete, the phone call itself is still reigning over other means of communication.
With technological advancements, we are now looking at softphones to help us make business phone calls. Part of a cloud solution, a softphone is a software application installed on an internet-connected device through which we can make phone calls.
The good news is the new means of making phone calls are more secure and provide a clearer connection. Phone usage will not only continue to reign, but we expect to see an increase.
2. Text messages will see a rise, but phone calls will dominate customer calls
Text messages for business communications are here to stay. We predict they will see a rise in usage.
Even if phone calls remain the main means of business communications, especially for customers’ calls, many will prefer text messages for internal communications and even external communications when they cannot reach a customer.
Digital channels have grown in popularity lately and many businesses use them for internal messaging. Let us not forget times are changing and the new generation of employees has grown up in the digital world, already using text messages to communicate with each other as a default means of communication.
3. Analogue telephone systems will meet their end
The number of people and businesses still using traditional landline phones is very small and continues to decrease. There is a very good reason for this, of course. Because technology has evolved so much, traditional landlines cannot keep pace anymore.
For this reason, all ISDN lines will be switched off in 2025 as telecommunications will fully move on to more modern solutions.
Businesses must secure their telecommunications and stay ahead of the game so they don’t find themselves struggling to provide high-quality customer communications.
For this purpose, advanced smartphone and complex cloud telephony platforms supporting phone calls, video calls, text messages and more have been developed. Businesses should make the switch to these modern solutions before the ISDN switch-off deadline.
4. We’ll see a rise in mobile unified communications
Today’s phones have gone beyond their basic functions of calling and texting. Mobile devices nowadays are like mini-computers.
From a business perspective, the rise of mobile communications opens new opportunities to optimise efficiency and productivity. It helps teams get in touch faster and easier. It helps to stay in touch with key customers even when travelling to the other side of the globe.
Mobile communications in conjunction with cloud solutions bring a flexibility to doing business that can give you the edge you need. We predict mobile solutions with the use of the cloud will only see a further rise in 2023 and beyond.
5. Business telephony will become all-present
Our fifth prediction is closely related to number four. With the rise of mobile communications and the advancements in cloud hosted systems, even more businesses will lean in to new technology and adopt the ‘one number across devices’ approach.
If your work takes you out of the office often, your mobile phone becomes your business phone – a standard practice in businesses that have already adopted cloud technology. Businesses can enable staff to make phone calls from a mobile appearing as if they are calling from the office number, giving a local presence.
Laptops and desktops can also become part of your business phone system. With CRM integration, for those working in Salesforce, for example, Salesforce can easily become part of their business phone system, with a ‘click-to-dial’ functionality from a customer record. Wherever you are, your business phone will be there too. We predict a huge uplift in smarter working in business, through cloud platforms.
6. We will witness an increased focus on telephony security
The future of telephony is clearly internet-based and this raises serious concerns about how secure business phone systems are. It is understandable – internet-based telephony is vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks that can have a major impact on businesses. The most common risks to cloud technology include phishing, call tempering, malware and viruses, DDoS attacks and spam over IP telephony.
It is only natural to expect hosted providers to focus more resources on securing their solutions and the networks on which businesses rely upon. Business telephony should be able to function securely, without issue and businesses relying on it should be able to protect and serve their customers.
7. AI will make telephony more intelligent
Artificial intelligence is making its way across all industries, advancing efficiency and ensuring smooth operations. In customer communications, AI has already been implemented and will only continue to rise. Think of the chatbots that greet you on many websites, including your competitors.
AI has already been introduced in the call centre industry. It helps customers solve certain issues faster with the self-help options and it helps call centre agents to focus on and respond better to more urgent issues.
Because of existing experience, the use of AI in telephony looks promising. It can already lead to call analysis where you can better understand your customers’ feelings from the tone of their voice or the significance of what they say. It may also help you understand the effect of your advertising better and operationally improve your business.
8. Smaller businesses will rush to adopt cloud technology
As the ISDN switch-off approaches and cloud systems become more popular, we’ll see increased adoption of cloud among small businesses. Cloud hosted phone systems are an easily scalable solution that can accommodate business growth without negatively impacting budget. Which makes it ideal for businesses of all sizes.
There are some undeniable benefits to hosted telephony for small businesses, like saving up to 90% on international calls. Cloud systems can provide start-ups with an efficient and professional communication tool to enable remote working and much fewer lines.
Cloud-based systems and AI will allow businesses to capture the data associated with phone calls. This can give small businesses a chance to easily improve their operations and make more profits while spending less.
9. Unified Communications as a Service will see an increase
Cloud technology can be considered the cornerstone of UCaas (Unified Communications as a Service). Cloud-based services have grown in popularity, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
It is clear remote working is the future. The usefulness and wide range applications of cloud-based systems can no longer be denied.
UCaaS includes critical communication tools, all hosted in the cloud. You can now get all useful features like voice calls, video calling, instant chat, file sharing and email integration in one tool.
We expect UCaaS to grow in 2023. UCaas companies that offer reliable communication tools will become more competitive in the future.
Communication is vital to any organisation. Business telephony has evolved and will continue to evolve a lot. Businesses need to keep up with new technologies to keep an edge. To sum up, these are our recommendations:
- Make the transition to the cloud way ahead of the ISDN switch-off in 2025
- Secure your business phone systems to stay ahead of the game, as the market will become more competitive
- Small businesses should adopt cloud telephony to experience reduced costs and greater productivity
- Identify relevant customer behaviour by integrating call data with other customer data
- Leverage analytics and data reports to make informed business decisions
- Embrace artificial intelligence
- Keep in mind that the hosted voice market is growing steadily year after year.
The landscape of business telephony is changing and the future looks promising. Our predictions are based on the trends we’ve noticed in time as market leaders and experts in business phone systems.
We can’t implement these trends ourselves, but we can help you expand your business communication to reach more customers and stay connected.