The Internet has dubbed October 21st “Back to the Future Day.” It marks the date that Doc and Marty travel to in “Back to the Future Part II.” Released in 1989, the film got a lot right about how we live today. You might not recall if you haven’t seen it for a while but, it predicted video conferencing, tablet computers, wall mounted big-screen TVs, and even something that looks a lot like Google Glass. They did blow it on a few things like flying cars and getting fired via fax, but I’d say they did pretty well.
We thought it would be interesting to take this moment to ponder a bit about what the future holds for telecommunications. We asked ourselves, what will telecommunications be like in 10 years? Here are our predictions.
Landlines Become a Memory
Homes and businesses have already begun the migration away from traditional landlines to mobile devices and internet based calling. Already 2/3 of millennials live in a household without a landline, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fully 58% of businesses now report leveraging SIP trunking for voice. These trends are accelerating and irreversible.
Desk Phones Aren’t Far Behind
As we’ve already seen with the bring your own device trend, modern workers want a seamless way to communicate regardless of where they happen to be. The remote work trend continues to grow as there are fewer and fewer obstacles to hiring the best, not the closest. Why be tethered to a desk when you can make and take business calls on the devices that you use to be productive?
The Internet of Things Changes the Meaning of Telecommunications
It won’t be long before my pantry places an Amazon order when I’m running low on peanut butter. If I can’t remember whether I turned off the oven, I’ll just log in and ask it. These device-to-device and human-to-device interactions will change what it means to talk about telecommunications. Our infrastructure will need to expand and get smarter to keep up.
Business Video Becomes Ubiquitous (Really this time.)
Business communications companies have been trying to make video happen for a long time. The technology’s been there since the 70’s, but demand hasn’t been enough to drive down the cost. The internet has largely solved the cost problem, but still user adoption has been lackluster. It’s ironic, but it seems a consumer app, FaceTime, has changed that. Now that people are more comfortable with video chatting business use of video is starting to increase. This is partly generational. To Millennials and Gen Zers, being on screen is just not a big deal.
If anyone has a magic DeLorean, please send it my way so that I can pop into the future to see if these predictions come true. If not, we’ll just have to wait and see. What about you? What do you see for the future of telecommunications?