We’re over halfway through 2018 and it’s been another transformative year for the communications industry. What are the trends that have had the biggest impact in terms of communication and collaboration? And where do we expect things to go in the rest of the year? Read on to find out!

Video gets simpler, goes everywhere

WebRTC is huge. Don’t believe me? In October last year, Google revealed that it sees over 1.5 billion minutes a week of audio and video in the format on Chrome alone. That’s forgetting the other browsers and apps that support the real-time communication format.

One big application of WebRTC we expect to see in the coming months is more companies using it in their apps and website to replace live chat with live video chat. The beauty of WebRTC is that its supported natively by browsers and mobile OS. So you don’t both need to be in a certain app ecosystem to video chat.

It’s fast, it’s secure, it’s easily deployable. In fact the only thing WebRTC needs, like any emerging tech standard, is more time – so expect it be even more prominent by the end of the year.

Bigger, broader, smarter programmable communications

Programmable comms is a big market and by the end of the year it will be bigger still, driven primarily by growing sophistication of APIs in this space. Already, we’re capable of sending automated, event-driven messaging (upgrades, renewals, order responses etc) that removes the need to waste precious man hours on these tasks and allows them to be completed in real-time.

As the tech and APIs improve further, we’re likely to see greater personalisation, greater breadth and still greater sophistication, giving users more programmable scope and new ways to overcome the challenge of a bewildering number of messaging channels.

Putting the ‘I’ back into AI

Artificial intelligence in Unified Communications is hardly new, but the challenge this year is to take it beyond surface-level applications and dive deep into what it can really do.

Speaking at the UC Expo in London earlier this year, networking analyst Zeus Kerravala said: “The concept of Unified Communications is now so wide-ranging that it is ripe for disruption – or improvement – by artificial intelligence.”

What does that mean for the immediate future? It means UC becomes at once broader and more inclusive, backed by machine learning that enables greater and simpler scalability, more intuitive conference transcriptions or document sharing, and automated meeting set ups.

Understanding what we say

Staying with AI, the big challenge in the realm of speech analytics is for machines to go beyond understanding what we say – to appreciate what we mean as well.

Now, we’re a long way from the analytical power to understand sarcasm or the ability to read between the lines and detect what you’re not saying. But we are starting to see the emergence of tools capable of identifying urgency or selecting an appropriate level of empathy.

The better speech analytics becomes, the greater the opportunities to optimize business communications and increase sales, improve agent performance and raise customer satisfaction.

The SIP trunking takeover continues

This is the year when SIP trunking looks to be going mainstream. The number of IT and comms managers we speak to who are looking at SIP as a means of cutting their global communications costs indicates it’s finally reaching critical mass.

But there are many more businesses that still need to be educated about the business benefits of using SIP trunks for your global voice infrastructure: consolidating infrastructure and providers, cutting costs and scaling on demand, to name a few.

Want to learn more about WebRTC? Read our guide on one of the biggest tech breakthroughs no-one has heard of