Welcome to the future of communications

Innovation and communication are two of the traits that have allowed humanity to evolve into the society we are today. Add technology to the mix, and we can be sure that we will continue changing the world around us in new and exciting ways.

In fact, innovation, technology and communication are currently at the centre of a massive societal shift that is allowing the way we work and live to become more fulfilling, collaborative and connected. Morse code, telegrams, rotary phones, fax machines, the Internet and mobile phones built on each other’s benefits to create a world where we are now always switched-on, always connected, and able to get in touch with or connect with other people in a number of different ways – whenever we need to.

Once upon a time, people would have to wait for the person they wanted to connect with to be behind their desk or at home so as to phone them. Today, it’s as easy as sending an instant message via a plethora of platforms. Once upon a time, we had to drive to offices to connect with colleagues in order to do work. Today, work is wherever we happen to be at the time.

“Technology has created endless possibilities – from sending man to the moon, to allowing us to have a video call with family on the other side of the world. Communications, more than any other area, is going to continue to be improved on by technology as we seek to grow our work and social communities,” says Eduard Du Plessis, Managing Director of EOH-NS.

He adds that over the next decade, place, time, and even language will have no bearing on the ways we collaborate, connect, and communicate. In a hyper-connected world, context and collaboration will become the cornerstones of everything we do.

“We’re increasingly working across generations and geographies, and we need more context, ease of use, and ease of access to make this process even easier. Technologies like Unified Communications may have evolved over the past few years, but I believe they are in their infancy. Ten years from now, in a world where everything will be media, merging video and voice will be the tip of the iceberg, with tools, interfaces, and technologies allowing for virtual reality experiences.”

Du Plessis says the Millenials, the first generation to come of age in a digital world, are playing a large role in the future of communications. By 2020, these hyper-connected individuals will make up more than 50% of the world’s workforce according to PWC, and their expectations of instant communication and mobility are merely two demands that companies need to contend with – and make provision for.

“Millenials live in a wireless, connected, mobile world, where their personal and work lives have equal weight. Social media is as much a work tool as ‘outdated’ tools like e-mail, and their devices are their connection to both personal and collegial relationships. Companies thinking that this generation will be happy to accept access control in the name of preserving bandwidth and managing applications will lose not only their goodwill, but market share, in the future.”

He adds that new communications tools, technologies, and applications will continue to evolve to overcome the artificial limitations that the old way of doing things imposes. “Video, images, sound, and text are the foundation of the ongoing communications revolution. The next step will be always-connected, always-broadband communication. Networks and infrastructure have therefore never been more important, and will see their own revolution as a result.”

Du Plessis says that the future of corporate communications is being driven by these societal changes as much as technology, and that they are becoming increasingly interwoven. “There are 10 technology trends that are changing the way we communicate and work. These are the Internet of Everything (IoE), Big Data, hyper-connectivity, augmented and virtual reality, Software Defined Networking (SDN), privacy and security, cloud computing, WiFi and broadband growth, and everything as a service. All of these are merely tools serving the changing needs of an evolving workforce – a workforce that is more connected and demanding than the world has seen before.”

Du Plessis will delve deep into each of the ten trends changing our workplaces today and in the future in a series of articles. Look out for The Communications (r)evolution Part 1 next month.