If you think 2015 was distinguished by some major telecom shifts, 2016 promises to bring even more change, faster and on a much larger scale. Why? Because the mobile user, for both B2C and B2B, has officially set the standard for user experience and that means the way we do everything needs to catch up and fast.
#1: THE CLOUD APIS AND CARRIERS ARE HEADED FOR A SHOWDOWN.
Because the mobile phone customer’s appetite for more and better features at lower cost is growing by the day, the battle between traditional carriers and software-based service providers is rapidly coming to a head. Fast-rising Silicon Valley-based API companies continue to challenge established carriers like Telefonica, AT&T and Deutsche Telekom in the voice & SMS market. So the race is on: will the big carriers and network operators be able to adapt to a new culture in which expensive, long-term commitments, complicated integrations, little transparency and gaps in service are no longer tolerated? We’ve seen them starting to try (Cisco’s acquisition of Tropo, AT&T’s API offering, etc.). Or will the cost advantage of the Cloud API companies being embraced by the new wave of disruptive service companies enable them to run away with the voice & SMS market and use that to deliver a new hybrid offering that combines nimble development and billing models with reliable carrier services? You can guess where I come out on this. But regardless, it will make for some fascinating watching in the year to come.
#2: VOICE CALL ANALYTICS LIKE WE’VE NEVER SEEN THEM.
Prepare for sales and customer service call tracking and analytics to get a whole lot more powerful. New abilities such as dual-channel(stereo) recording in the Cloud enable call analytics services to isolate the disparate voices in a two-way conversation. This allows for the most accurate data capture that empowers businesses to analyze, evaluate and score customer calls quickly to optimize performance and make adjustments on the fly. What was once considered an offline behavior will receive the same analytical scrutiny that is put into online engagements, leading to more strategic and effective marketing, higher quality customer support and a more level playing field for businesses of all sizes, not just enterprises, to amass and react to critical data.
#3: CALL CENTERS FINALLY MOVE FULLY INTO THE CLOUD.
While technology advancements have made a gradual impact on the efficiency and results of the traditional call center, cloud software has the potential to truly re-invent call center best practices and enable just about any business to customize, manage and monitor their own call center operation. Businesses that have thrived in 2015, such as restaurant delivery or car-sharing services, tend to require immediate, real-time interaction with customers. As we move into 2016 and beyond, those businesses will no longer need costly on-premise hardware and infrastructure to build a sophisticated call center.
Each passing year provides a clearer picture of how our mobile world will evolve and which technologies will be deemed too expensive or cumbersome to survive in the long-term. In 2016, the Application Economy will continue to create businesses based almost completely around customer demand and those businesses will demand access to secure, global, real-time communications at a price that is sensible. Only time will tell if the traditional providers can pivot appropriately or if the newer cloud-based services are up to the task.