In 1876, when presented with Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, then president Rutherford B. Hayes declared, “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?”
Similarly, the iPhone was met with criticism and laughter prior to its release in 2007.
It seems like every revolutionary invention is met with criticism, But despite their cool reception by the leaders of the time, the visionaries persisted and affected the way humans communicate and collaborate in significant ways. Now, moving into 2020, we are seeing Unified Communications lead the way in communications for the next decade.
The Value of a Decade
As we end the decade of 2010, social media is filled with comparisons to 1920 and the significant changes the world saw. Known as the “Roarin’ Twenties” and “Jazz Age,” the 1920s were known for the prosperity and carefree life many led. Americans in this decade owned cars, telephones, and radios for the first time. The 1920s were a decade of change and growth, learning and exploration, and was pivotal in defining who America would become. The decade began in prosperity, and ended with a stock market crash, thrusting the nation into the Great Depression.
A lot can happen in 10 years, and nothing changes faster than technology.
Key Regulations of the Last Decade
Advances in the technology itself have continued with rapid growth in security features, reliability, and collaboration tools. But certain regulations from the last decade, as a result of the increasing popularity of VoIP as a viable business communications tool, stand out. As a result of these advances and regulations, a new way to communicate has been developed: Unified Communications.
Net Neutrality – First introduced in 2003, the controversial regulation began to make waves in 2010 when the Obama-era FCC worked to introduce regulations that would prevent providers from throttling specific sites and services. The proposal failed in 2014 when the courts ruled the FCC did not have the ability to regulate broadband under Title II as those providers were not traditional telephony providers. In 2015, the FCC re-classified non-traditional telephony providers as title II and the courts sided with the FCC. But in 2017, the pendulum swung again, this time resulting in the repeal of the 2015 ruling and requiring broadband providers to simply declare their internet management strategies and penalize providers who blatantly blocked competitors’ sites.
Kari’s Law – After the tragic death of the law’s namesake, Kari, in 2013, her father went on a crusade to change telephony requirements for multi-line telephony solutions. When Kari’s daughter was unable to reach 911 as a result of the prefix digit 9 being required to reach an outside line from a hotel room phone, Kari’s law requires the removal of the prefix and removing the confusion and complexity of dialing 911 from hotels, corporations, or other multi-level telephony systems.
Ray BAUM’s Law – Ray BAUM’s law is similar to Kari’s Law in that it addresses e911 requirements. Ray BAUM’s law, specifically section 506, requires “dispatchable location” information to be passed along to first responders in the event of a 911 call being made, specifically for multi-line telephone systems, fixed telephone services, interconnected VoIP services, telecommunications relay services, and mobile texting services. Information such as the street address, floor level, and room number of the caller will be required to enable first responders to find the exact location of the individual needing help quickly.
PSTN Retirement – After almost 150 years of service, telecom providers are actively lobbying for the retirement of the copper lines that have serviced American telephones since its inception in 1877. The aging infrastructure, along with the rapid migration to VoIP, has created a tidal wave of change and ushering in a new way of providing reliable voice communications to American homes and businesses.
The Robocall is finally dead – One of the biggest irritants facing users of voice communications is the frequency and consistency of robocalls. These unwanted calls ring our phones at all hours of the day, interrupting meals, family time, and work with their unasked for call. In response, the FCC issued a new rule, enabling telephony companies to block these calls before they reach your phone.
A Decade of Telephony Changes Led A New Way to Communicate with Unified Communications
Not only have there been significant changes in the regulations surrounding the delivery and method of transport for voice communications, but the way we communicate is changing rapidly. In just the last 5 years, Americans have moved from communicating with their voice over the phone to text, whether it be SMS, WhatsApp, FB Messenger, etc. And the impending takeover of the workforce by millennials, who expect to have business tools, such as Unified Communications applications, work as easily as their personal tools do, is helping drive the change. With 75% of the workforce expected to be millennials by 2025, it is clear that as a business owner, we can’t hinder our ability to recruit this newest generation of workers. As we see it, there are 3 essential elements to providing effective communications in a way that will attract millennial workers.
Video – With the rapid growth of remote and mobile workers, video has become essential to helping workers collaborate. All one needs to do is look at these statistics to know one simple fact; Video communications is where it is at.
- 98% – the amount of survey respondents reported to Lifesize that video conferencing helps with relationship-building, both inside and outside the company.
- 90% – the number of people who believe video makes it easier to get their point across.
- 89% – believe that video conferencing reduces time to complete projects or tasks.
- 94% – of businesses surveyed believe video conferencing increases productivity.
- 76% – the number of individuals who use video collaboration to work remotely. Of this 75%, the same percentage of workers reported increased productivity and an enhanced work=life balance.
One cannot deny the power of video in enhancing your internal (and external) communications and enhancing productivity.
Voice – Even with the significant migration of users to text based collaboration platforms, we can’t simply write voice communications off as a no go. The fact is there are still a lot of benefits to voice communications that can not, no matter how hard you try, be replicated through text communications. Tone of voice, inflection, and emotions are all devoid in text communications, leaving voice communications as the preferred method of conversation.
Text – Text communications, as we stated above, has risen rapidly as the preferred way to communicate. With over 85% of employees reporting they use more than one device to communicate around work regardless of what technology is used, the trend is clear. Users want to communicate where, when, and HOW they can to communicate the most effectively.
Technology Advances Usher in a New Way to Communicate: Unified Communications
Bryan Koontz, the CEO and Founder of Guidefitter, answered the question posed by the Future of Everything, this way:
“Technology has made communicating easier than ever before and employees have parlayed this into workplace freedom, working from remote locations without sacrificing collaboration.”
And so it has. And has enabled this future of work that is mobile, seamless and reliable, helping businesses do more with less. Are you ready to start the new year off with a big win? Start here and find new ways to communicate with Unified Communications.