Mon, Dec 4, 2023
The corona crisis may be causing the revolution of a century

Telecom is sexy again. Who would have thought… Covid-19 has created a once in a century shift. For a long time, unified communication and collaboration was mostly used by technology innovators and early adopters, and regarded as complicated and not good enough by the majority of workers. Where it took 15 years for working from home and video conferencing to be adopted by the first 15% or so of workers, in just a few weeks in 2020 this more than doubled to convincingly cross the chasm and become normal.

In the shadow of a pandemic we are participating in the biggest experiment of our times: how do we stay connected? Digital networks are the fabric of society, now more than before. We work from home and a large part of our lives has moved to the cloud. What will our new tech-life balance be, once we have found a cure? Although certainly not perfect, the current normal gives an indication of a next normal with many benefits. And although offices are slowly reopening many enterprises are quickly making work from home the default instead of the exception.

Growth mindset

For 15 years now I’ve been evangelizing telecom innovation. Starting with hosted voice (founding one of the first local hosted voice providers), later UCaaS and CPaaS. Every year giving numerous talks and writing many a blog about the innovator’s dilemma, crossing the chasm, the need to disrupt your own business, exponential growth, tipping points and digital transformation. Building on the brilliant work of Clayton Christensen, Geoffrey Moore, Steve Blank and others.

Gradually, over the past decade, cloud and cloud communications have become the new standard, and this Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated just that viability of the cloud. Still widely considered risky just a few years ago in spite of all its benefits (agility, innovation, costs structure, integration etc), now the biggest risk (depending on somebody else’s infrastructure) suddenly became the biggest benefit as people had to work from different locations almost overnight…

In large parts of the world, digital infrastructure proved it could deal with the sudden increase in demand. And the existing video conferencing and collaboration solutions, albeit not perfect, were good enough to get most jobs done. Providers like Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom were seeing their usage grow sometimes by an order of magnitude almost overnight, and being cloud-based they’re getting continuous updates and improvements to match growing demands and changing requirements, driving innovation and further acceptance.

Telco opportunity

With agile enterprises propelled into this new digital era, a huge opportunity also emerged for telcos that have traditionally been dragging their feet somewhat with innovation, as their existing enterprise customers clearly are looking also at them for guidance and solutions. Innovation enablers like Ribbon and iBasis are empowering telcos to quickly deliver innovative enterprise solutions, either off the shelf or built with telco APIs and CPaaS, leveraging their core assets and supporting the increasingly complex requirements of Agile Enterprises in this era of digital acceleration. Combining telco assets, security and reliability, with smart communications solutions easily deployed as part of a hybrid solution portfolio for offices, home workers but also education and telehealth.

SmartCom Summit 2020

In the SmartCom Summit talk show on June 30, hosts Charles Groenhuijsen and Rob Kurver will reflect with guests on the next gear in digital communications, and what lasting effects it might have on the way we work together and shape our society in the next normal. Offices will clearly never be the same again, and digital infrastructure and contextual communications are driving digital acceleration. With people at the front and center, and user experience key to successful adoption, this is creating unprecedented opportunities, slashing traditional barriers and creating opportunities for providers, telcos and channel partners. Welcome to the new era of smart communications.

So, please join us for this can’t miss event and register at [use code SUMMITGUEST to get free admission].


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About the author

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Over the past 30 years Rob (co-)founded various tech companies, including one of the leading Dutch hosted voice providers (before hosted voice became the new normal). Today, he works with telcos/CSPs and some of the world’s leading technology providers on innovation and growth, especially in the rapidly changing world of cloud communications and CPaaS. Rob has this crazy belief that the strengths of corporates and innovators should be combined in new ecosystems to create optimal customer experience, new business models and solutions for some of today’s big problems.

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