Telecommunications – an introduction: Communication plays a vital role in our society. It allows information, emotions and ideas to be shared with others near and far and has evolved to allow us to be more connected than ever. No matter where in the world, instant communication has been made possible thanks to major advancements in telecommunications.
The Evolution of Telecommunications: Past to Present
We’ll explore how telecommunications has lent a helping hand towards the success of businesses, and why communications is a key growth driver. At the end of the day, effective and efficient communication is the backbone to the sustainable growth of not just businesses, but all of society.
Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)
One of the first major groundbreaking moments in the history of telecommunications was the invention of the electric telephone in 1876. This was commercialised quickly by the setup of the first telephone services between Connecticut, US and London, UK. For around 20 years after this, households and businesses that wished to be connected would have to follow a wired protocol of interconnected subscriber lines. Telephone technology continued to grow quickly after this with the rise of inter-city lines and telephone exchanges.
Due to telecommunication, for the first time multinational businesses could connect with other offices or branches in minutes, rather than days. This ultimately led to the invention of the radio, where mass communication was able to take place through airwaves and the first instant, mass marketing could occur.
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)
Fast forward to the mid 1980s where major progression has taken place in the time between. We now see the invention of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) which enabled faster data transfer between customers through a circuit-switched telephone network system transmitting data and voice using a digital line. Basically it served as an alternative to dial-up internet connection so that businesses could enjoy higher internet speeds through a digital modem. This was much faster and reliable than using phone lines (particularly in long distance communication) and even saw new services such a video calling.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was one of the next major developments and it involved the ability of voice to be transferred over the internet through Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The introduction of ISPs were one of the most influential milestones in the evolution of telecommunications as they played such a significant role in reducing cost while improving the quality of communication. VoIP converted audio signals into digital signals which allowed businesses to reduce their cost of voice and video communication by 40-90% compared to ISDN.
While ISDN was much more reliable than phone lines, they were still difficult to set up as they relied on hardware installation and system failures were regular. On the other hand, VoIP only took seconds to set up, requiring only an internet connection. The difference in flexibility was also a key factor as VoIP did not constrain businesses to a geographical location and any changes could be made instantly. Even in the absence of cellular service, VoIP meant that almost instant communication was possible via the internet.
Session Initiated Protocol (SIP), and Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
In 1996 Session Initiated Protocol (SIP), an application protocol used to carry digital media and technology that supported VoIP calls was developed. This new protocol was used with the Private Branch Exchange (PBX), a private telephone network used by businesses to communicate internally and externally using VoIP, ISDN or analog.
Modern-day SIP trunks are virtual phone lines that the SIP provider use to connect one or more channels to a business’s PBX for local and international calls over the internet. SIP means that business communications do not rely on separate structures of voice and data communication which cannot handle large volumes of calls. Instead, businesses, particularly medium to large enterprises, are able to be constantly reachable with heightened security and long-term cost efficiency.
Cloud Communications, and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Recent years has seen the emergence and rise of cloud-hosted telephony solutions. Also known as VoIP-based hosted PBX solution and classified under Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), cloud communications runs through the internet and cloud-based IP network. This mean that communication has shifted from discrete network elements to autonomously managed cloud infrastructure of virtualised conversations.
In other words, with businesses moving their phone services to the cloud, they remove their reliance on heavy hardware and the necessity of physical equipment which made deployment quick to set up and free from IT overheads. Networks are now more optimised for data traffic instead of voice traffic meaning that businesses are utilising the internet as a platform for communication.
Aside from differences in infrastructure, cloud communications offer a wide range of benefits vs traditional on-premise systems:
- Remove physical barriers: legacy systems limit your operations to a physical location and even the number of users that be “plugged in”. Cloud of course, has unlimited users and services can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection
- Scalable and flexible: Cloud services by design can scale with your business as it grows, or scale down to decrease resources in a charging landscape. Cloud ensures businesses are agile and can adapt instantly such as work from home – keeping up with new technology is as simple as downloading a new app
- Reduce operating costs: With no infrastructure costs, transparent pay-as-you-go subscriptions and maintenance and system management included, cloud services are a stable, predictable and lower cost option compared to the traditional system
- Reliability: Cloud services include uptime and failsafe methods like disaster recovery to keep businesses connected.
Unified communications make connectivity effortless for businesses through a wealth of communication channels accessed through an omnichannel platform. Being omnichannel rather than multichannel means all communication become more consistent and convenient and silos are dramatically reduced. From an external perspective, customer experiences and relationships are transformed from one dimensional to a 360° omnichannel approach. From an internal perspective, team collaboration is improved as productivity is able to exist beyond the four walls of an office.
CINNOX: The Future of Telecommunications
Today’s customers have become more experience focused, and frictionless customer journeys are necessary for conversions. Businesses are increasingly leveraging telecommunications to support the various touchpoints within the customer journey, from video conferencing to SMS broadcasting to convert and retarget customers.
Social commerce, where the marketing and selling of products and services take place over social media channels, is also on the rise. This is the opportunity to make the most of CINNOX’s social media integration with added human touch to convey empathy and understanding for personalised journeys that ultimately guarantee brand loyalty.
Further optimisation of communication systems are expected, especially for consistency in experience expected by customers across channels. CINNOX integrates communication channels with various backend enterprise and telephone systems. The omnichannel end-to-end solution captures all data and information seamlessly from the customer to the company and its internal systems. Aside from lightweight CRM, Online Charging Systems (OCS) and PBX is fully supported and integrated.
Video communications will continue to be on the rise, particularly through innovative practices such as remote consultations and virtual events as the world choses to remain in the ‘new normal’. This increase of reliability in communication channels means that security, resiliency and reliability will be more important than ever.
CINNOX’s carrier-grade contractual Service Level Agreement (SLA) assures an annual uptime of 99.95% with real-time service delivery, monitoring, and support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. High-performance connections and availability are achieved through our globally-distributed IP network comprising strategically positioned points of presence (PoPs) and direct interconnections with over 160 tier-1 telecom carriers and mobile operators worldwide.
In 2021, businesses need to act fast and be agile for any sudden changes in consumer trends, political or economic environments. Through a cloud-based unified communications platform like CINNOX, a business can set up online ordering, marketing, customer service, and connect remote teams quickly and efficiently. Read our case study about how CINNOX empowered Rebounce with an all-in-one solution.