When planning your budget for communication technologies this year, there are two separate categories of trends to watch: business and tech. They sometimes overlap, but how they interact is what drives real innovation. This year, remote workforces, informed customers, and always-on workplaces have driven business communication developments. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Unified Communications
If you haven’t invested in a unified communications platform for your business yet, you’re already behind: in 2016, a survey of IT managers reported that 68 percent of businesses were already using UC, and that number has only grown. With a UC platform, you can connect, integrate, and expand new and existing communication technologies to bring your employees and customers closer together, making communication efficient and effortless.
2. Cloud-Based Applications
Chances are, your business is no stranger to cloud-based applications, but to what extent are they included in your communication technology strategy? Moving communication technologies to the cloud makes them more accessible for the aforementioned league of remote workers that have dominated workplace trends in hiring, as well as more agile for a changing landscape.
3. Social Intranets
Even as applications are being migrated to the cloud in droves, there’s always space for keeping things internal. Social intranets are being developed to help employees be more effective and productive via collaborative spaces, communication channels, and informative pages. The “social” aspect puts the attention on interaction, drawing workplaces closer together even if people are, physically, farther apart.
4. Chat Platforms
Some businesses are bidding their email inboxes a drawn out and bittersweet farewell in favor of instant messaging and chat applications. For those of us who check our inboxes obsessively, the idea of switching to a messaging system seems impossible, but applications like HipChat, Skype for Business, and Slack have been making waves for the past few years. Chat platforms can make online workplace conversations seem more natural, and presence indicators can help employees find the right people with the right answers faster, removing barriers to productivity. Now, top tier technology vendors like Mitel competing in the market as well, with solutions like MiCollab Online.
5. AR and VR
No list of up-and-coming technologies is complete without a mention of the tech world’s next big thing: augmented and virtual realities. AR and VR are sounding less like a futuristic fantasy and more like the next step every day, and they have just as much of a place in the realm of communication technologies as mobile and console gaming. For businesses that like to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, 2018 may be the year to invest in AR and VR. For others, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
Business communication technologies are improving in exciting and interesting ways, and it’s important to stay on top of the latest goings-on in the field. Are you thinking of making an investment in business communications this year? Check out our eBook on communications in the business world below.
6. 4K Video Capability
A few years ago, 4K video was flashy, new, and expensive. Its cost prohibited large-scale commercial adoption, and it was reserved for movie sets, dazzling corporate displays, and techies with expendable income. This is no longer the case, and 4K is becoming more and more affordable. Stunning marketing videos and crisp video conferencing are no longer far-off improbabilities but real possibilities for businesses of all sizes.