Phones? UCaaS? Collaboration? The way we communicate changes faster than the weather. This blog post explores what is current and what is coming next for our communication interfaces.
Communication is one of the fundamental pillars that businesses, not to mention our wider society, is built on. The ability to interact with colleagues, customers, friends, and family over distance is second nature for a lot of us.
Whilst communication has always been important to us, what is interesting is that the way we do it has changed radically over the last 100 years. Mail, telegrams, voice telephony, emails, video call, chat messaging, telepresence—there is a new revolution each decade, and we adapt each time to the technology. Why? Because it is worth it. Whilst nothing will quite replace being face to face, each new technology brings us closer and adds more value through increased ease of use and productivity.
Businesses need to keep up with this pace of innovation. In an age where many of the other tools we use are innovative and in the cloud, we need to make sure our communications tools stack up to that same level. You would feel pretty silly going using Virtual Reality headsets at home to sending a fax at work, right?
RingCentral is continuing to innovate across the business communications space by bringing the right interfaces to users. There are a few key themes that we will see define how we see communications evolve over the next few years.
With a diverse set of overlapping features on offer to consumers, user experience is key. Rather having to manage multiple separate tools and apps, users are now able to access features in single applications. This not only makes it much quicker for users to find what they are looking for, it also turns the communications app into a real productivity hub. Consider being able to have virtual workgroups and sharing relevant files and messages to specific teams, all without having to think about which app to call up, or how to share your message with colleagues.
Whilst unified interfaces work well for many, we have to acknowledge that they aren’t perfect for everyone. Many users will be deeply embedded into other workflows. For example, consider telephone sales—those agents might be spending 5–6 hours a day in front of a CRM tool, making outbound calls to potential customers. For these sorts of use cases, it is important to fit your communications tools into these environments. Imagine instead, having all your calling lists right in front of you embedded into your CRM, with the right profiles popping up, matched to your inbound calls.
On the horizon, there are tools like Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are going to radically change how we approach all aspects of life, not to mention business tools. The recent media attention for Alexa and Google Assistant is only the tip of the iceberg—the future holds our business and productivity tools becoming seamlessly integrated into the same environments. In the very near future, expect to be placing your calls via a virtual assistant, followed by virtual assistants actually taking your calls very soon after!