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Pushing the Limits on Enterprise Communications
Miguel Lopes, VP, Product Line Management, Dialogic
These improvements in data transmission and connectivity contributed to a new voice standard, namely a move from the PSTN to IP. Voice communication was no longer dependent on the telecoms exclusive pipes but leveraged the internet, which is open to all. The doors were now wide open for a new breed of service providers, which later became known as Over the Top (OTT) providers. The OTTs, which were initially underestimated by traditional telecom players, later became their worst nightmare and leapfrogged enterprise voice communications. Some of the notable OTT offerings are still widely known and used today.
The evolution in data and voice communication has been shaking things up in the enterprise space, but the last category—the platform—is by far the most disruptive, especially with the introduction of the “cloud” concept. Not only has it challenged the long-established norm, but also leveled the competitive landscape across all enterprises, regardless of their size. Cloud computing brought a lot more than just cost reductions; it moved the platform from the enterprise premises where growth was limited and came at great effort, to a place where scalability is directly tied to profitability and resources are effortlessly available in seconds instead of days, weeks, or months. Enterprises can now pivot their entire business plan and adapt to new challenges quickly without the need to touch their existing physical infrastructure.
Looking back 5 to 10 years, the non-traditional players, i.e. the OTTs, were introducing a new way to communicate that completely changed the paradigm and advanced that evolution curve for both the enterprises and the communications service providers (CSPs).
UCaaS changed the very fabric of how enterprises interact internally and externally, generating new workflows and enhancing productivity level
So, what is the next significant milestone in enterprise communications? The answer seems to lie in new frontiers such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Data, voice and platforms (now the cloud) are continually evolving and together made these new technologies available for everyone. Data connectivity is now offering fiber speeds via wireless (look at 5G), reducing latencies and increasing capacity, allowing for real-time decision-making algorithms to reply in milliseconds. Voice has evolved to a point where speech can be easily understood and converted to text and vice versa. The cloud now offers a tremendous amount of computing power where even the most complex operations can be completed instantly. AI allows enterprises to use bots to interact with their customers and advise on their strategy and help predict future events. ML looks at past data and offers better decision-making insights and knows when specific circumstances deviate from normal operation thresholds. IoT will be the primary data feeder for both AI and ML engines while keeping everything connected. Enterprises will see many of their workflows be automatized, translating into new levels of efficiently and undoubtedly new business ideas and models.
These are exciting times. While it has taken a while to reach this stage, in the past few years communication technologies have reached unexpected heights. The credit should go to the vendors, both startups and traditional, as they have shifted the enterprise communications paradigm and disrupted the conventional telecom ways. At the rate enterprise communication technologies are currently evolving, if I were to write this article again next year, what I am now calling the next significant milestone would then be the typical and commoditized communication channel for all enterprises.