Communication trends to watch out for in 2018

Communication trends to watch out for in 2018

Customer experience has been quoted as one of the primary reasons for shifting loyalties. It is also one of the reasons for sticking to businesses they like. In an age where choices are plenty and customer loyalty is unheard of, a good customer experience goes a long way in building brand loyalty. Communication plays an important role in creating a smooth customer experience.

Because every business has varying communication needs, we are already seeing more enterprises customising and building using APIs, rather than buying off the rack. With a customised and integrated system that caters exactly to the organisation's needs, it is possible to create a single source of truth. With employees not having to switch between multiple systems or spend time on manually interpreting data, this offers a big productivity boost as well. With communication playing such an important role in the growth of a business - both in terms of brand and sales, here are a few trends that are expected to surprise and surpass expectations in the coming year:

n Convergence of communication will move beyond UCaaS
Unified communication has been the mantra for enterprise communication. Bringing all of your communication under one umbrella boosts efficiency and improves data-driven decision-making. So, what comes after UCaas?

Can we facilitate an environment where voice, SMS and video can seamlessly converge? In large organisations, meetings and catch-ups which were hitherto voice-enabled are now moving to video-calling. While this offers for a much better experience, with India's Internet infrastructure, this is not the most reliable solution. What if someone can join a Google hangout via a phone call in the case of poor Internet? In the current scenario, this is only possible via an on-premise solution. But it comes with a lot of baggage like high capex, real estate occupancy, heavy equipment, etc. Cloud communication is the only solution to ensure that companies of all sizes can afford this. For large organisations, this is the best way to scale.

n Early adoption of 5G is going to make telecom technology flourish

India is readying itself to adopt 5G along with the developed markets, unlike the other generations, where we followed the rest of the world. The Government of India has set up a committee called 5G India 2020 Forum, the principle objective of which is to ensure early deployment of 5G in India. This leverages advantage and innovation with regard to SIM card manufacturing, routers, etc. and building this infrastructure will commence from the coming year.

n There will be no 'centre' in call centre

A simple phone call is still the most preferred way for customers to reach out to a business in India. The call centre as a concept worked when businesses were conventional and customer communication was even more so. Now, communication happens outside the four walls of the office primarily. Cloud communication is overhauling this scene by making every single conversation trackable. Call centre as a product will disappear. It will be decentralised and conversations will happen from anywhere.

n We will have more tech IPOs listing in India

India is home to close to 19,000 startups, yet tech companies going public is a rarity. With more businesses working towards being profitable, this is something we will see happening in 2018. This will also improve the mood of the ecosystem.

n The mouse and the keyboard will rest in peace

The two time-tested input devices mouse and keyboard will die a slow death, as 5G and voice recognition take command. Digital personal assistants like Alexa and Google Now have created convenience like no other. It is only a matter of time before users will choose voice over traditional input methods. Voice will become the preferred medium for content input. Content consumption will primarily happen via videos.

n Cost of communication will tend towards zero

With enablers like Jio offering more benefits around data usage, cost of communication will tend to be zero. Voice calls are free, and the data cost is reasonable enough to make it affordable by the rural population too. We will see innovation ideas around monetisation from communication enablers around advertising and commerce enablement. By 2025, India will rise to be a leading player in the virtual world - having 700 million Internet users. The Internet economy is expected to contribute around 5% to India's GDP by 2018. With favourable regulations and 5G services making a foray into the market, the Indian communication space is going to witness a tremendously fast growth in the coming years.

(The author is CEO of Exotel - a service-provider
in the cloud telephony sector)

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