Business Tech Trends of 2017

 

As we enter 2017 it’s clear that digital technology will continue to flood businesses across the UK, transforming the way enterprises work. Here are some of the latest tech developments due to take off.

1. Migration to the Cloud

“Cloud-first strategies” have been building momentum throughout recent years, and are
due to propel during 2017 across more and more business enterprises,
according to Forbes. The strategy recommends that businesses of all sizes fully migrate their systems to the cloud in order to take full advantage of enhanced capacity and streamlined operations. Cloud based systems are hosted online and therefore free up your voipoffice infrastructure. With communications being the cornerstone to business, these systems are a good place to start by converging a data connection with voice lines through a VoIP or SIP Trunk solution. The CEO of Broadsuite Inc. adds “I believe cloud-first is key to keeping your company agile”. 

2. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is lesser known tech which overlaps virtual graphics with real-world scenery. 2017 could see more businesses utilising AR to enhance corporate presentations by bringing the content to life thereby captivating the audience. More recently, virtual reality (VR) headsets for Smartphone gaming apps have become extremely popular amongst consumers with more sophisticated and advanced models currently in production. This could lead to a transformation of internal training, with roll vrplays becoming immersive, as well as the rise of virtual meetings between suppliers and their clients. Many VR headsets can now be purchased alongside Smartphone mobile devices – could this be the future of your business?

3. Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) involves teaching a machine to learn so it can interpret incoming stimuli, then complete actions/make changes. A prime example is Siri for iOS (iPhone) – it understands your words well enough, through speech recognition, to make an intelligent decision about whether to load a related image, webpage or app. Thoughtworks state this year “we will see businesses use machine intelligent insights to deliver more engaging experiences to customers, and provide better service.” Service improving AI is already out there in the form of intelligent apps. The revolutionary Inkwrx platform lets customers complete business forms on a tablet with a stylus pen. The app tabletuses handwriting recognition to autofill the form with computer text, before the company employee sends the form back to the office within 10 minutes, rather than the average 3 day processing time, allowing their request to be completed immediately for dramatically improved customer service.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain is a virtual ledger which records data in sequential blocks along a data chain. They’ve been used previously for online currency exchanges, called Bitcoins, as the blockchain creates an extremely secure transaction history which cannot be tampered bitcoinwith by coders. This future could see this technology being used to protect data of all kinds, such as medical records, identity management or retail transactions. Although, Gartner adds that this is in Beta stage of production and won’t be fully ready until nearer 2020.

5. Internet of Things

Of late, there has been a huge trend towards interconnected devices which can communicate between themselves through an internet connection. Fitness watches, digital cars and smart thermostats are all IoT products which continue to be on the rise. In terms of business, Gartner experts believe that in future years, “every organisation will have some mix of five digital technology platforms: information systems, customer experience, analytics and intelligence, the Internet of Things and business ecosystems”. Companies are already improving processes and productivity with apps such as Box whichiot allows staff to co-edit files in real-time with their customers as a collaborative method of creating the client’s perfect end product. Because it’s built for business, Box takes secure cloud storage to the next level and really demonstrates how the IOT can enhance any business.

Much of these trends will see a huge increase this year, but some will completely saturate the business market by 2020. Researching your digital business options now will allow you to get ahead of the competition, so that the more efficient processes are deeply ingrained into your business strategy way before other organisations have even began to consider the idea.

For guidance on how you can digitise your business, speak to Welcomm’s Digital Expert, Corran, on 0800 064 64 64.

Or visit www.welcomm.co.uk.

Ref: http://www.forbes.com, http://www.techradar.com, http://www.gartner.co.uk.
Welcomm Communications can offer flexible working digital platforms

Could You Function Without An Office For The Day?

Most businesses would struggle to function if their employees were banned from their desk and PCs for the day. Picture it – a sales team trying to photograph contracts to send from their personal phones; customer care teams jotting notes onto hundreds of post-its every time a call comes in; the accounts department trying to draw up invoices by hand and fax them to clients. Potential chaos. 

With this in mind, O2 launched the country’s biggest flexible working pilot where 2,500 people worked away from their Slough head office for the day, using only portable devices to communicate with their team and the outside world. The cloud-based platform, Office365, allowed them to access all their office files and collaborate securely.  The exercise gave O2 employees a chance to experience and realise the benefits of flexible working for themselves, rather than just speaking about them.

The savings that were recognised were incredible. From this flexible working trial, O2 have since reduced their permanent desks and now save up to £3.8 million a year. A further £160,000 has also been saved from closing their overflow car park, reducing an estimated 30 tonnes of CO2 emissions per month and avoiding over 100,000 miles of commuting.

In terms of how the employees felt, the outcome was extremely positive with around 64% of O2 employees now feeling more productive when operating under flexible working conditions and 85% feeling confident in continuing to do so.

This entire project was only possible thanks to O2’s newly strengthened networks and upgraded technology. Nowadays, if you need to work online or communicate with another employee who is half way across the world, you are able to do so.

 “Line managers are used to managing people they can see. Managing them remotely is a completely different thing. Our Pilot on 8th February didn’t solve all of those problems, but it is a good start. We can do a lot more to support line managers in charge of remote teams, but we know it’s not going to happen overnight. We’re educating people about the whole future of work here and there’s still work to be done, but we’re pleased to say this is a fantastic start.” – Ben Dowd, Business Director for O2

Did you know that 75% of companies have a flexible working policy?

Digital services, such as the aforementioned Office365, can improve the way employees collaborate and mobilise their potential to work anywhere, whilst still tightening security and management systems. Due to technology advancing at such a rapid rate, we as businesses and employees need to adapt to these changes and take advantage of the new capabilities that digital, cloud-based products can offer us.

At Welcomm, we offer a wide range of digital enablers which help businesses to work smarter and offer flexible/remote working options to their staff team. Employees can still access company files and communicate across the organisation, thereby staying productive and connected at all times.

These products range from Office 365 which allows documents to be shared across the cloud whilst connecting your office files, calendars and contacts, Box which allows large files to be tracked when they are opened or downloaded and again accessed anywhere on any device; Microsoft Intune which lets your IT team manage all of your business devices from the office to ensure company data is protected and secure.

If you would like to find out how your business could work smarter, call 0800 0646464 for a free business consultation today.

Written By Katie Ford

Keeping your Head in the Cloud: Business Hosted Telephony

 

The age of the traditional business landline is over and set to be cut off in 2025. Technology is advancing rapidly, leaving behind outdated multi-line telephone systems.

Corporate phone lines have long been inconvenient and chaotic; with wires trailing desks and floors, PBX hardware cluttering space and the idea of adding lines or moving premises seeming impossible. Not to mention the costly outlay for equipment, maintenance costs and high monthly call charges.

multiline

Unsightly multi-line traditional system.

Despite all of this, until recently these digital systems were a more advanced way of running several phone numbers through a business with relative speed. But the huge improvements offered by newer Hosted Solutions are rendering the traditional lines redundant.

A Hosted telephone system is web-based so all calls are made through high-speed broadband. Employees will still use desk phones when at the office, and have a designated number for customers to call in on. However, the system sits within a data network centre, the Cloud, so calls no longer need to go through expensive, bulky kit that is based at a company site. The Cloud also offers staff the opportunity to become more mobile within the business as calls can also be taken from anywhere outside of the office, simply by connecting to Wi-Fi. Company managers also have more control as individuals can be given logins for a web-based portal enabling them to access real-time call records, reporting, recording and handling features – without having to task the IT team with the burden. Security is also vastly improved as web-based services benefit from having direct links to the most secure systems on the market and the ability to upgrade these easily with ever-improving technology.

hosted voip

Traditional multi-line telephony set up compared with modern Hosted VoIP solutions. 

It’s crucial to note that this telephony switch won’t always be a choice. Due to the rise in the popularity and clear benefits of Hosted technology, traditional ISDN phone lines will be switched off by 2025. This will result in many businesses having to upgrade their systems to newer and better alternatives such as Voice over IP Hosted systems.

In light of these developments, Welcomm Communications are offering free places to a Hosted Services seminar taking place during the morning on Thursday 26th May at the National Space Centre. The event will explain in more detail why cloud-based services are at the forefront of innovation, as well as considering how they can offer value to businesses of all sizes. Additionally, there will be talks on digital products which can help a business to work smarter when collaborating between employees and partners, as well as free demonstrations and support on using the products. Also included will be a free tour of the Space Centre and prize draw to win Leicester Tigers hospitality box tickets!

Organisations can sign up for free via the banner below.

Linked In Hosted Event Banner

Written by Keegan Stanton.