The trends transforming the telecoms industry in 2021

There’s no slowing down the telecommunications industry, and it’s even harder to keep up with it all when there’s so many options out there in the world of business phone systems.

2020 saw a wave of disruption come about for the telecommunications industry, as the COVID-19 pandemic steered businesses in different directions, connecting them in new ways and adapting to a new kind of normal.

So what’s on the cards for 2021? For business telephone providers, the focus is no doubt on innovative features that support remote working, collaboration and learning. Let’s take a look at some of the telecommunication trends emerging or continuing to evolve into the new year.

5G networks on the move

Mobile operators have been forging ahead with 5G deployments as the demand for high-speed connectivity and improved bandwidth continues to accelerate. In the case of Telstra, their 5G capabilities now cover 50% of the Australian population, with plans to expand up to 75% by the end of this financial year.

Main rivals Optus, continue to invest heavily in 5G. It currently has more than 900 5G sites accessible to more than 426,000 households sprawled across the nation. With approval from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), they’re also testing 5G mmWave technology, which is expected to enable even higher speeds and lower latency.

Making the move to cloud

This year we’ll see even more companies embrace open source and cloud-based technologies to ensure business continuity. The shift from legacy, onsite physical hardware to cloud communication technologies, provides flexibility and a more agile way of working to better serve customers.

The surge in the IoT (Internet of Things)

The IoT exploded in 2020 unlike anyone could have predicted with businesses looking at creative ways to stay afloat and remain relevant. IoT refers to the connection of devices, endpoints and assets that have never before been able to communicate with a network.

The impacts of COVID-19 saw businesses who previously had no online presence, start to drive their everyday online and open up new business opportunities such as pop-up healthcare clinics, online ordering and contactless delivery.

This year, we can expect the demand for new IoT applications and solutions to continue, in particular the healthcare sector and see it applied to smart offices, remote asset monitoring and location based services.

Artificial intelligence

None of this is new for the telecoms industry, it’s one of the fastest growing sectors to take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning across various business functions. And it’s all in the name of improving the customer experience (for example virtual assistants and chatbots), which in turn enables businesses to focus on other aspects of their daily operations.

This year we can expect AI to have an even stronger presence in the areas of network optimisation and predictive maintenance.

Intelligent automation – now a business imperative

Now more than ever, businesses are looking at ways to simplify how they handle operational tasks to enhance the digital customer experience. Forrester reports the Robotics Process Automation (RPA) market is set to reach $2.9 billion this year, as more industries are looking to embed digital-first solutions. And with more of us working remotely, 20% of enterprises are expected to expand their intelligent document extraction platforms (IDEPs).

Connecting securely

With more businesses switching to cloud technologies and working remotely, the focus on data integrity and cybersecurity has never been more critical. These changes make it necessary businesses to upgrade its wide area network (WAN) infrastructure.

SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) and SASE are both technologies for implementing WAN, that securelys connect remote users to applications in both private and public clouds. According to Gartner, SASE is the future of WAN technology.

The year ahead presents many challenges for businesses, but with the right telecommunications in place it can only spell opportunities. If you’re looking for a new business phone system, or thinking about making the switch to a cloud based platform, speak to the phone system specialists at Nexgen today.