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Brightlink 2020 Predictions: Answering the Call for Change

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Joe White, Chief Technology Officer, Brightlink

Answering the Call for Change: 2020 Communications Tech Predictions

Consumer trust and the increasing desire for engagement on native channels will drive communications industry changes in 2020. It will be a big year for technology advancements as artificial intelligence and blockchain adoption finally become a reality and businesses get savvy about delivering on what consumers and business customers really want. Here are our top five communications predictions for the year ahead. 

1.      Consumer trust in voice communications will see a resurgence as robocalling, scams and spam get stamped out: More people will answer their phones than they have in the past five years thanks to massive efforts by wireless and traditional carriers to crack down on robocalling and verify that "trusted" parties are on the other end of the line. The FCC has also mandated that carriers and handset providers be able to implement SHAKEN/STIR which is a method of signing phone calls with attestation levels and certificates that identify the source of the traffic as well as it legitimacy.  In the future, calls without this signature or ones that have a low level of attestation (likely calls from overseas and from untrusted organizations) will be blocked at the network level from reaching consumers.

2.      Apps usage will decline in business communications as consumers increasingly prefer native communications channels: Consumers will be less accepting of apps as a way to communicate with businesses, preferring the convenience of native channels. The impacts for businesses will be two-fold: they will need to employ new strategies for handling communications over native SMS and they will need to implement functionality that allows for greater personalization of services via native applications. One branding opportunity is that as short code begins to disappear, companies will leverage opportunities like Rich Call Data (RCD) to do things such as send their logos and colors to handsets to reinforce their unique brand experience when calling customers. RCD - when coupled with RCS on the messaging side - allows for completely unique experiences that are 100% native in the handset with no need for company-specific apps.

3.      AI usage in communications will increase thanks to APIs: In the same way that APIs have democratized access to communications networks and data services, APIs will begin to be used to inject AI into all sorts of platforms and programs that on their own would not warrant such technology. First, APIs will unlock AI to the developer community that didn't have access to this technology before. In addition, new APIs on the market will go far beyond the traditional machine learning APIs that have been commercially available up to this point. What will this look like? Think companies gaining the ability to create amazing customer experiences by tapping into the best voice recognitions from Amazon APIs and machine learning from Google ML APIs and coupling those with information sources like weather, flight and road closure information that are now accessible via APIs. For example, now if a consumer is purchasing tickets to a concert through an automated attendant, they could ask more complicated questions such as "Do they have RV parking at the arena?" and still have those questions answered by the automated attendant versus having to transfer to a live person. This type of AI can understand exactly what the customer is looking for and even anticipate their next question.

4.      Blockchain will finally see adoption in communications: Blockchain technologies and use cases have been highly pushed through the media and tech industries, but actual implementation has been limited. Heavy investments from large firms like IBM and Facebook will finally see companies understanding the advantages of using this encrypted and decentralized technology. So how will blockchain be used in communications? One big way blockchain can be applied is to help with the huge industry issue of call verification to help eliminate spam calling and spam texting. Another use for blockchain in communications is phone number portability, which has become an outdated and unreliable process. We are now seeing patents get submitted around using blockchain for porting of phone numbers from network to network both domestically and globally. There are many uses for blockchain in communications, and 2020 will see the first ones come to fruition.

5.      The Education industry will secure its communications and lead the way for other industries: The Education industry comes with a lot of inherent sensitivities in communications needs between teachers, students and parents. In 2020, we'll see the industry get on board and lead the adoption of secure communications technologies. Two issues are really driving the increased adoption of communications technologies in schools: the need to engage multiple parties via appropriate and secure channels and the need for better emergency response systems for everything from increasingly frequent school lockdown situations to natural disasters. The impacts will go beyond the Education industry, as several other industries will stand to benefit from schools' "lessons learned" including the Financial, Legal and Government industries.

2020 promises to be an exciting year in communications. Make sure your business is ready to answer the call for change.

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About the Author

Joe White 

Joe White is the Chief Technology Officer, and has been with Brightlink since its inception in 2009. Joe built the original Brightlink network, and his organization is responsible for sales engineering, network engineering, information technology, and product development.

Prior to Brightlink, Joe spent 10 years in other lead technology roles, including Commvault,  CTS/Agilysis, and Troutman Sanders, where he was a senior systems engineer and a Microsoft certified consultant. Under Joe's leadership, Brightlink products have garnered numerous technology industry awards including TMC 2018 Customer Product of the Year, CIO Applications 2017 Top 25 Unified Communications Solutions Providers, and TMC 2017 Tech Culture Award.
Published Thursday, November 14, 2019 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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