A bit like Christmas, Comms Vision happens but once a year and is a ‘by invitation only’ gathering of communications industry leaders and luminaries for a 3-day summit at The Gleneagles Hotel at Perth and Kinross in Scotland.
Entitled ‘Digital Britain 2.0 – accelerating the transformation’ and taking place between then 6th and 8th of November this year, David represented Evoke Telecom’s interests at this event.
The event opened with an open forum session with many of the leading lights in UK digital infrastructure delivery including: – Alex Tempest at BT, Elsa Chan of Cityfibre, Daryl Pile at Gamma, Gary Steen from TalkTalk and Justin Fielder from Zen.
Two big areas quickly emerged as key industry focus for the coming 12 months if Digital Transformation is to be accelerated: –
- Full Fibre and 5G superfast access across the UK
- The attachment of Unified Communications and Collaboration tools for businesses.
The panel reiterated the importance for agility, integrated solutions, and more importantly the removal of complexity. UK enterprises need to be educated and introduced to the values that extended communication tools can offer to their employees, their customers and their businesses in general.
Bigger industry trends were expanded upon including clear evidence in an uplift in UK ‘on-shoring’ or the return of contact centres back to the UK from overseas. The increase in the use of IoT (the internet of things) or machine to machine connectivity. The rise of AI (artificial intelligence) it is believed will see as much as 20% of today’s work becoming automated, however not to fear as Alex Tempest at BT also projected that 60% of jobs in the future have not even been created or even envisioned yet.
Strategies need to focus on customers site, creating a more collaborative working environment and wrapping everything up in to a single service … hey another new acronym EaaS or ‘everything as a service’.
Following the opening session Comms Vision then delivered a series of specialist speakers and a variety of break out workshops, from which we picked up the following key messages that we are happy to share:
Gerry McQuade – CCO at BT Enterprise, felt that 5G mobile access will ‘change everything’. He felt it would deliver internet access speeds and flexibilities and enable multiple sites to connect via SDWAN (Software Defined Wide Area Networks) at affordable costs. His vision was one of converged fixed mobile and WIFI networks delivering a ubiquitous high-speed business connection.
Guy Miller – Director of Fibre for Everyone at TalkTalk, extolled the virtues of full fibre access and what Talk Talk through their ‘FibreNation’ project are doing to this end. He shared how 900Mb fibre is being rolled out cities such as York, with an impact of +40 NPS customer service scores and a customer loss of less than 4% once this superfast product was experienced. He felt that it was not unreasonable to expect speeds of 200Mb both on upload and download (synchronous) in the future.
Elsa Chan – COO at CityFibre explained just how ‘Victorian’ UK digital infrastructure access currently is. She felt that just a roll out of 20% (the UK is currently estimated to be at circa 8%) could add +1GDP for the UK economy and £43bn to the economy over 5 years. Eye watering stuff.
Andrew Taylor – CEO at Gamma, felt that with the impending ISDN switch off in the UK and the rise in fibre services and impending 5G availability will see an increase in the adoption of IP access services. IP services will enable access to the Cloud which will in turn promote the adoption of Unified Communications as a Service for businesses large and small across the UK.
Most noteworthy was a piece by Technology Visionary and Evangelist Theo Priestly. Theo took us 10 years into the future and visioned a world where you would be health assessed by an AI Bot. You will be autonomously transported to and from the hospital and your surgery will be performed by a Robot. He offered that call centre agents will be a thing of the past with AI managing your enquiry via intelligent algorithms and everything connected access. But do not make the mistake of thinking it will be a walk in the park and that ‘man’ will take AI and Robotic control lying down. Theo shared an interesting story as to how man is already wrestling back control. Apparently, John Deere developed tractors with IoT internet connections that managed information regarding when a tractor needed upgrade or service works and invalidated support contracts if completed by other than John Deere. US farmers have employed Eastern European ‘hackers’ and bypassed John Deere systems, enabling them to service their own tractors are significantly lower costs. A sign of the future?
All in all, Comms Vision was fact filled and provided an industry expert view as to what the future of Digital Britain might look like. It also explored Evoke Telecom’s roles and responsibility in delivering Digital Transformation for our customers and prospective customers. We get it and are ready with the available tools and solutions to help not only in the transition from ISDN to full IP voice but also to support with the move into unified technologies.