One of the biggest trends we expect to see in 2018 is customers upgrading and moving to faster broadband services.
Many businesses have hobbled along on very low speed ADSL broadband services, in many cases getting less than 1Mb upload speeds. This has restricted their ability to take advantage of many of the cloud based services that are now available, which in return has hampered productivity. Slow broadband speeds have also stopped businesses from evaluating VoIP and IP telephony options, restricting savings options, remote working and important divert options when disaster recovery or business continuity options are required.
Superfast broadband is now becoming more readily available with speeds of up to 80Mb down and 20Mb up. These speeds are quite simply transforming the way companies do business and opening a wealth of business efficiency and communications options. Top speed FTTC services are now available in most areas of the UK, costing little more than slower legacy products and can be installed within weeks. Some products also include a ‘performance assurance’ which means VoIP telephone lines can be added without the fear of call performance being affected by user congestion.
Software Defined Networks
For companies that require high speed exclusive lines, there have always been private fibre circuits available. These are delivered directly to your IT comms room and are shared with no other users, unlike the contended services referred to above.
A big change in 2018 is the addition of an SDN service to these lines. This means that a customer can order a line where they are only able currently to commit to a small portion of the bandwidth available on that line. For example, they might take 10mb on a 100Mb line that is connected exclusively to their premises. Where the magic of SDN happens is that this line can be dialled up and dialled down in bandwidth instantly by Evoke should your needs increase and then decrease, pricing flexing up and down also depending on how much bandwidth you need at any given period.
We see SDN as a big win for data hungry yet cost conscious clients in 2018.
Move from traditional lines to VoIP
In 2020, you will no longer be able to order any new analogue or additional digital telephone lines in the UK. In 2025 all existing PSTN and digital lines in the UK will be turned off. The objective of this change is to drive the move of telephony and associated technologies onto the core IP network infrastructure around the UK.
This will have impact on every UK business that currently uses analogue, ISDN2 and ISDN30 telephone lines. The majority off businesses will have to start to make the technology move away from these legacy technologies soon.
The option is VoIP (voice over internet protocol) which will transport voice calls over your internet bearer / broadband services.
We would advise businesses to start thinking about migrating sooner rather than later. Now that ISDN is essentially viewed as a legacy platform, investment in it is likely to fall. This could mean that the standard of the existing network, and support infrastructure, could begin to suffer the effects of being retired well before the 2025 switch off date.
Adoption of more telephone system features
2017 saw a massive uplift in businesses exploring what more a modern telephone system could do for them.
Customers are starting to have voicemails delivered as recording into their outlook email inboxes.
We are increasingly seeing customers adding mobile telephone apps to their systems, enabling them to make massive savings in calling costs and meaning they can be easily contactable even when out of the office.
Alongside new telephone systems 2017 saw customers taking desktop enabling software that helped them to ‘click on a number on their screen’ which in turn dialled the number for them on their desk phones. This was particularly popular with people making lots of outgoing calls (e.g. the sales desk) and areas like accounts teams where its easier to click on an email signature than finger dial the number.
Headsets for telephone handsets or PCs
We also expect to see an increase in the uptake of business headsets this year. Working with a headset, be it connected to your phone handset or your PC, allows you to continue to use your laptop with both hands whilst on the call. No more cradling the receiver between your chin and shoulder.
To support this, we also expect to see an increase in click to dial apps, where by highlighting a number on your PC your handset dials the call automatically for you on the click of a mouse.