2014 has been an incredible year in the real time communications software domain, exhilarating and often exhausting given wave after wave of innovation and economic disruption for even the largest communications service providers.
Everybody is jumping into the human communications pool, as more and more people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and online. The next generation of communicators are staying connected with each other, with their work colleagues, with information, news and entertainment – continually.
What are we doing with social networks?
The users’ expectations have never been higher, whether individuals or business users – they are feeling empowered beyond measure, from the super computers they carry with them, to the smart TVs they are putting in their homes and offices.
Social networking continues to explode, as do Software-as-a-Service applications – and everything is becoming easily available via browsers or native mobile apps, or a hybrid of the two. More and more companies, like salesforce.com, Facebook, SAP, and IBM, are embedding real time communications into their “experiences” so elegantly that some of us wonder if we’ll even need to “dial a phone number” in the future.
Why not touch to talk, tap to join a video conference, swipe to initiate a conversation with your healthcare team? To say that the world of Real Time Communications is both brave – and new – is an understatement. And I believe we are just on the cusp of enormous and exciting change. Value will be created in the future through software, whether in the network itself, on the device, in the browser, or in the applications we have become addicted to already.
What’s the impact on the communications space?
It was literally hard for me to sleep in 2014, not because of all the action and growth at my company, GENBAND, but because I love to follow this space, and am not only a software geek and RTC (real time communications) junkie, but because I am also an observer of human behavior, and constant student of commercial value creation in tandem.
Let’s take, for example, the valuation in 2014 of companies like WhatsApp, Twitter, Viber, and Uber, some who went public, some who got new valuations, some who were bought by other companies.
This graphic was shared by GENBAND CEO, David Walsh at our Perspectives 14 conference:
[caption id="attachment_110458" align="aligncenter" width="670"]
These companies have access to A LOT of money[/caption]
But what does it all mean?!
Here are a few mega trends we’re following for 2015, and a unifying factor is the creation of enterprise value – for service providers, for enterprises, for systems integrators, for channel partners, and for independent software vendors:
- IoT and M2M: The Internet of everything has become the basis for many of our interactions with machines; one cannot ignore that connected, large networks are valuable in the new world.
- Standardization and adoption of WebRTC: Easily being able to embed RTC changes the way people are looking at how they are building communication applications and integrating them.
- Network Convergence: Wireless carriers want denser networks – wireline companies want to create wireless-like networks on top of partnerships with wireless carriers, and MVNO’s are witnessing a new growth period.
- Service expansion: triple play and quad play are evolving to quintuple play as cable companies are taking advantage of being able to offer video and voice and new applications across their deep & wide and pipes as one example.
- Unified Communications: the market is becoming a crowded field with traditional players as well as new upstarts and players in the cloud all putting out interesting and innovative offerings, however we believe “the best is yet to come” when communications becomes truly ubiquitous - so you don’t even have to pick up a device – and super intuitive, so it feels like we’re walking into each other’s offices again even though we may be oceans apart.
I feel like we’re back to the beginning of the Internet again. This time, however, our interactions will be more human, more vast, more creative, more visual and more real.