5 opportunities with real-time communications
Communications and collaboration are undergoing a major 'uber-transformation'. To a large extent, this is being driven by a new generation of customers, workers and partners who have grown up mobile first, cloud first and constantly connected. Enterprises that aren’t adapting fast enough are crumbling.
At GENBAND, we’re fortunate to be working with large banks, universities, hospitals, healthcare systems and the most demanding government agencies. We are finding ourselves in the middle of some of the most creative and challenging real-time communications projects I’ve ever witnessed – and I’ve been in this business for a long time.
Here are 5 opportunities we’ve been helping enterprises pursue. Opportunities from which any large business, organization or government can benefit, when they approach communications as the service it truly is, are able to break free from legacy equipment and systems, and transform not only their networks, but their IT cultures foremost.
1. Consider hyper-connected everything a promise, not a threat
All successful companies and organizations in the future will be digital and connected. Gartner indicates that the 1.1 billion connected 'things' used by smart cities in 2015 will rise to 9.7 billion by 2020. McKinsey projects there will be 1 trillion connected devices in less than a decade. Over transformed, software defined networks, the connection of people and things can be supported, as everything truly performs 'as a service' on IP networks.
The creativity around connecting factories, offices, products and the people who use and support those products has taken off. While this can feel overwhelming, in fact there are more platforms and tools available to support development of these services than ever before.
2. Replicate success in cloud computation with cloud communications
When industrial and tech giants and conglomerates like GE announce they are moving everything to the cloud, the world reads that as 'computation' and it makes sense. The cloud has been fully embraced for processing Zettabytes of data, supporting even the most mission-critical business applications and turning out to be more secure and far less expensive than private data centers.
If your organization has experienced the benefits of moving to the public cloud (Amazon Web Services, Azure and others) or leveraging hybrid cloud environments (some applications remaining on your private servers) and are gaining the economic benefits (including lower or zero capex and pay-as-you-go models), your organization is more than ready for cloud communications. Voice, messaging, video and collaboration applications are all data now. And with the advances in VoIP performance and security after nearly two decades of practice, it’s time to move to not just cloud first – but cloud native services.
3. Embed cloud communications into your most important productivity applications
'Double down' on ensuring your teams are getting more done with less - each and every day. It’s no longer necessary to 'switch' to a telephone to talk to a colleague, as more and more voice, messaging and video applications are happening inside ERP, CRM, HRIS, financial and accounting systems, trading systems and more. Many of the enterprises and organizations we serve leverage our Kandy platform to use 'wrappers'. They make it easy and affordable to add click-to-call, click-to-chat and click-to-screen-share capabilities inside the app. For example, field service applications like one we contributed to at SAP.
This is about more than just adding 'chat' to your website. This is about serious, industrial strength 'digital conversations' where asking and answering questions now take seconds. Live productivity, versus waiting for e-mail responses. Live productivity, versus leaving voice messages, that so often go unreturned. Live productivity, in and out of the office. Embedded makes this natural and intuitive. And employees, customers and partners love it.
4. Software defined, virtualization friendly
Take advantage of the massive investments your Communications Service Providers have made in making real-time communications as logical as using Virtual Machines (VMs). We work with most of the Tier One operators in the world, providing our network virtualized functions to their increasingly software-built, managed and expanded architectures. As more and more of our large carrier customers transform their massive, global networks, delivering cloud communications becomes not only a better offering, but the preferred future. That’s why these CSPs are including our Kandy cloud communications solutions in their mix, bringing them to customers whose IT teams are now, by extension, transforming to Software Defined Networking.
With the rapid growth of SD-WANS, for example, there is so much more IT teams can do to support their organizations and manage networks more productively. This includes network automation and provisioning – made easy – over web-based consoles. Setting up secure communications for employees and teams now takes only minutes. Not weeks or even days. Authenticated to the network and applications, and managed with policy, employees voice, messaging, video, collaboration, file sharing and more are made available on desktops and mobile devices. This drives down operational costs while improving security and availability, and with business continuity built-in.
5. Think 10 steps ahead
Recognize the value of the data that can be leveraged and collected on cloud-native communications platforms. Take contact centers for example: voice calls can be immediately transcribed with cloud-based solutions and reviewed by an AI service, like IBM Watson. Intelligent, application-fluent networks, which are application and user aware, can be managed more actively than ever with dynamic adaption for Quality of Experience (hearing the human voice more clearly to facilitate its recognition by a transcription service, so words can be analyzed and bots can assist with the conversation).
Suddenly your entire organization becomes smarter, more transparent and new technologies are more rapidly adapted into your 'hyper-connected', digitally evolved future. The best news of all may be that, because of this massive virtualization wave, adopting communications as-a-service in the future means no more heavy CAPEX.
For IT professionals, turning the complex task of provisioning, optimizing and monitoring real-time communications – well beyond phone systems, IP-PBX, e-mail and more – to software provides unlimited benefits. It gives IT teams programmable and customizable interfaces for controlling and orchestrating connectivity in a much more agile and cost-efficient manner.
The first step? Transforming their IP networks to network function virtualization (NFV). And transforming applications – voice, messaging, video, contact center, collaboration, internal communications, web, mobile apps and more – to an all-software, cloud-native world.
Our passion at GENBAND, including our award-winning Kandy communications platform-as-a-service, is driven by not only the obvious benefits. But by the inevitability of simply better ways to serve our customers and get work done.