The communications (r)evolution part 1: Drivers and trends shaping the future

The expression “The only constant in life is change” has never been more true. Across modern society, we are reinventing how we work and how we play – with technology forming the foundation of our lives. Spurred on largely by Millenials, the world is heading in the direction of a mobile, hyper-connected culture where proximity and access are no longer relevant.

Eduard Du Plessis, Director of EOH-NS, points out that the digital economy seems to have more in common with science fiction than reality – with video calls being used to diagnose and treat health issues – with doctors and patients sitting on different continents – and the use of smart sensors in objects to enable automated reporting in what is being referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) or Internet of Everything (IoE).

“This is the tip of the iceberg, and the modern communications landscape will continue to change as new ways of working and new technologies enhance our ability to connect with each other. From the rotary phone to broadband and the IoE, the evolution of communications has accelerated at an exponential rate, and will continue to do so,” he says.

He points out that innovation and new technology are at the centre of the changing future of work. “Gone are the days where productivity was measured by hours in the office and where the office was a single physical location. Today’s work is about teams and projects; it’s about outcomes and deliverables. Today’s office is wherever the employee is. Our reality today is not the futuristic idea of robots and flying cars we dreamed of in the 80’s, but instead the multi-purpose device we carry in our pockets – the smartphone. Mobility and connectivity are changing the world into a collaborative, social, always-on environment.”

In light of this, corporate communications is having to evolve alongside society. With today’s workforce spanning generations and geographies, employees are not only demanding constant access to company systems, they require flexibility in order to perform.

“For Millenials, the concept of being office-bound and having to endure restrictions to applications is foreign and nothing short of unpleasant. Life without mobile access to the tools they need, when they need them, is unimaginable. This attitude has crossed all the generations that are today’s workforce, and as people change their work styles to become more adaptable and mobile, companies are having to adapt to meet employees’ demands,” Du Plessis explains.

The result is that company networks need to be re-evaluated and, in some cases, completely redesigned. “Cloud has enabled the change in the way we work, but the end result is that companies need more bandwidth – and this need is just going to continue growing. As businesses continue to unify communications, using technologies such as instant messaging and web conferencing in the daily course of business, and as real-time communication and collaboration become more prevalent, bandwidth demands are just going to continue accelerating. In addition, security will become increasingly important as everything – and everyone – becomes constantly connected.”