Disruptive technologies key to enterprise communications
The transition to a new era of communication technology is not always plain sailing, and most organizations currently find themselves trapped somewhere between the legacy world of on-premises and some cloud-based services – siloed and not truly connected.
A rise in environmental complexity
New Wainhouse research shows the majority of businesses use multiple vendors for telephony with some 75% using two or more vendors, and 21% with three or more. Alongside this, 33% have two or more Unified Communications (UC) vendors, with some using as many as five to deliver additional services. With so many moving parts it’s no wonder that it’s difficult to deliver a consistent and unified enterprise-wide communication experience to the end user.
With flexible working and teams operating remotely, a fixed point of collaboration isn’t enough to satisfy the communication needs of businesses. We need mobile enabled collaboration tools. So, the challenge today... is to unify on-premises PBX telephony with the benefits of providing universally accessible Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C).
Enter hybrid solutions
The answer lies in hybrid communication solutions that have been developed to give IT departments the option to integrate cloud-based UC&C – offering key services such as presence, messaging, web conference, video, files and application sharing – with the existing PBX hardware. This allows businesses to protect and optimize previous investments. This also allows for a gradual approach to cloud adoption, so as business requirements shift, more services can be moved to the cloud.
The deskphone – it just won’t go away
This integration is important, because for the time-being, the deskphone is here to stay. According to the Wainhouse Research survey, it remains the most common communication device used today with almost 85% using one for business communications. But – and it’s a big but – most users do not use just a single device. The research showed upwards of 70% of end users leverage a combination of a deskphone, PC and mobile device, and with new end user technologies such as VR, wearables and personal assistants coming to market, the number of us leveraging multiple devices is only likely to increase.
Managing a multi-device mash-up – it’s hybrid again
Business technology procurement needs to recognize this, but business operations tend to evolve gradually and don’t just jump from one technology to the next. A platform that provides equal support to “traditional” and next-generation communications is the ideal solution. If a business was to jump and solely use the latest technology, it risks alienating users and disrupting business in addition to losing value from its existing investments. Here again it is hybrid cloud deployments which are removing these risks by augmenting the existing with the new. It also has the benefits of being easier to deploy, support and maintain – removing the burden of complex software or hardware management.
“Good enough” not good enough – vendors need to open up
End users no longer accept “good enough” quality from collaboration solutions. Wainhouse Research found quality to be the top end user requirement with 90 % rating it as highly important. However, a true quality platform should also encompass the other four top requirements identified in the survey – workflow integration (70%), borderless communications (63%), mobility (54%) and global access (39%).
Open architecture platforms make it easier to integrate collaboration tools into business processes and systems. A connected communications platform can do this, bringing together HD voice, video and workflow integration delivered across devices via the cloud, allowing users to work together and collaborate seamlessly – regardless of location or device. To get the quality users want, unsupported tools are out and enterprise-grade is in.
Businesses without borders –
Teams in businesses aren’t just operating within the business borders. Not only are they often located across multiple countries, but can encompass internal employees, external team members, partners and contractors, or customers. The idea of the borderless enterprise is gaining momentum within the business world, but the tools and services need to be in place to support this. Location, device type or domain can’t get in the way.
Rethinking the PBX
The research found that on average, 40% of enterprise voice traffic ends up in a group conference call, and this percentage increases for larger organizations. Conferencing and group collaboration is becoming the de facto way work gets done for many, and this requires a rethink on how a business views its PBX.
Communications platforms that provide multiple functions such as voice, video and document sharing can become an extension of the PBX to support peer-to-peer and group collaboration. This then equally blends both individual and group collaboration features seamlessly, without the need to immediately replace existing hardware.
The Bell Curve reigns supreme – meeting user wants and needs
The majority of users aren’t early adopters of technology. When asked how far along the technology curve their personal communications environments are, 34% of participants replied early adopters, 44% middle of the curve, and 22% comfortably content to wait until they absolutely have to change it.
As organizations embrace new technologies and provide more connected workflows, they need to weigh up the advantages of new disruptive trends and technologies with the benefits of maintaining existing communications platforms. IT teams that engage their user community at every stage of the development lifecycle will find they reduce support costs and increase user adoption. Knowing end user preferences is key to delivering the right mix of services, and a platform that retains support for legacy users will ensure a smooth transition without leaving behind slow adopters.
The communication continuum
In today’s business world, nothing is static. A flexible communications platform that can extend its capabilities is essential to meet continually changing business requirements. A number of communication vendors provide open API access to communications features like voice, SMS and video, supporting the integration of collaboration tools for a growing mix of external team members, contractors, and partners. They provide a set of cloud-based services, implemented as an overlay solution with essential collaborative capabilities. These are simple for companies to deploy and users to adopt, regardless of their existing communications systems.
For enterprise communications to stay ahead, using disruptive technology without the business disruption will be key.
Moussa Zaghdoud, Senior Director and Head of Cloud Business Unit, ALE
Thales Group to Provide Tech for Low Earth Orbit Satellites
The Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer, Thales Alenia, which specialises in the space industry is set to supply the world’s only network of satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) with its industry-leading technology. More specifically, the Optical Inter-Satellite Links ─ which is hailed as the ‘best technology for the next generation of the Galileo Navigation System’, by the European Space Agency. Through the implementation of Thales Alenia’s optical systems, the satellite network will be able to provide global, fine-scale coverage, overland, oceans, and both poles, without compromising the security of data communications.
Telesat, a Canadian satellite services company, is currently developing the network and has commissioned Thales Alenia Space to build its broadband constellation. The network, which will be named Lightspeed, will apparently comprise 298 individual satellites, each weighing roughly 700 kilograms. These satellites will be capable of delivering multiple terabits per second worldwide for secure broadband professional services with low latency and high levels of performance. Ergo, it’ll be incredibly fast.
‘The Optical Inter Satellite Links technology is based on Thales Alenia Space’s product line Space Optical Communications, i.e., OPTEL-C. The more compact OPTEL-µ is another optical communications product from this line. This is particularly good for downloading data from small LEO satellites’, according to Innovation Origins.
Thales Alenia Space Background
Thales Alenia Space is the largest satellite manufacturer in Europe ─ the Swiss branch, which has been commissioned in this particular announcement, opened up five years ago in Zurich, where the company primarily specialises in the development and manufacture of instruments for scientific satellites, but also on optical communication terminals for space applications.
The Swiss Space Sector
When it comes to the European and international space industry, the Swiss sector is becoming increasingly important. Approximately 100 Swiss companies already produce incredibly sophisticated pieces of kit and technologies for space missions, and Switzerland also plays host to the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre, which was established back in 2016 in an effort to help entrepreneurs ‘realise their innovative ideas and transfer technologies from space to Earth and from Earth to space.’