Our 2018 UC predictions: part one

In the first of a three-part blog series, we asked the product team here at Maintel what they see emerging as key trends and talking points across the UC landscape in 2018. Here’s what we found out…

Paul Fawcett, Product Manager, Mobility

Smart devices will (finally) penetrate the workforce

When thinking about predictions for the year ahead I recalled one I made back in 2014. It was: “Somebody will finally find a valid business use for wearables”. I think I was so far ahead of my time that this prediction is only just about coming true!

It’s fair to say that as a supplier of mobility solutions to a range of UK enterprises of all shapes and sizes, we have only sold a handful of wearable technology devices such as smart watches – quite literally! In 2017 this will change as businesses become more aware of the valid uses of wearable technology in the workplace, for example not having to take out your phone if you're a lone worker  you can still receive calls and messages without a mobile. 

Mobile phone fraud will hit the headlines

You’re probably asking: “Surely mobile phone fraud has been around for ages?” Well it has, but mostly in the form of scams that usually involve making phone calls or texts to premium services unknowingly or by accident.

Today’s landscape has changed – now that apps such as contactless and mobile banking are a crucial part of everyday life, they also become a prime target for hackers. So far their impact hasn’t made the headlines, but  I predict that in 2018 we’ll see a high profile case of app fraud – whether that’s where users are tricked into downloading a fraudulent version of an app or hackers exploiting out-of-date security features in bona fide apps.

Brian Mackow McGuire, Product Manager, Data 

Trailblazers will adopt software defined networking (SDN)

SDN and SD-WANs will move from “coming soon” to “available now” – but this will be firmly rooted in the early adopter market segment. Risk-averse customers will not consider SDN for a further couple of years whilst the early adopters evaluate initial roll-out benefits to understand how far these benefits can be extended into their organisations.

For example, can the acceleration of applications make it worthwhile to deploy SD-WAN technology within a site with only one connection, or is the cost of the technology still greater than the cost of upgrading the circuit?

Consolidation of carriers

Following the spate of acquisitions such as BT and EE, Verizon acquiring Straight Path, XO Comms and the Yahoo deal, AT&T’s Time Warner acquisition and Level(3) being bought by CenturyLink, there will be a domino effect of further acquisitions across Europe in 2018.

Rumour was that Level (3) was on the acquisition trail and had been making doe eyes at Pan-European focussed Colt, who was holding out for a higher dowry. It is somewhat ironic that Level(3)then moved on to suggest a link up with CenturyLink,  which did its best Interoute impersonation by turning the tables on Level(3) just as it had done when Easynet had suggested a buy-out.

This leaves Colt courting suitors, and O2 looking for a new partner having failed to sync with Three whilst feeling increasingly unloved by its Spanish owners. Is it too far-fetched to see telecoms follow the pattern of the Premier League, where new overseas investors sink billions into carriers in the hope of emerging top of the market?

Social media misappropriation

As Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter continue to seep into public consciousness we will see major inappropriate use of symbols and acronyms lifted from social media and engineered into everything from business presentations to politicians grandstanding.

In an era when the President of the USA appears to be announcing policy on Twitter, it seems inevitable that a UK politician will follow suit – with disastrous consequences when their knowledge of urban jargon backfires on them (remember: #YOLO).

Join us next week as we continue our 2018 predictions