In the last few years, businesses have had to adapt to an entirely new way of working. Due to the significant impacts of the pandemic on daily life, many employers became part of the ‘biggest experiment in flexible working’ history: homeworking on an international scale. Proportionally, the telecoms industry had to adapt and evolve to the consequent rise in demand for digital solutions. Today, it seems as though working from home is here to stay. As a result, telecommunications suppliers have continued to invest in additional capacity, network infrastructure and new technologies (such as collaborative platforms and cloud-based software). This means that the future of the telecommunications industry is changing fast and businesses need to be ready.
In the UK, the demand for digital alternatives is even more pronounced with the nation’s switch to fibre, the advanced security offering of 5G and the switching off of the PSTN in 2025 (a process that will switch every phone line in the UK from analogue to digital). So, how can UK enterprises (big and small) prepare themselves and what opportunities does the future of telecoms present for those willing to embrace innovation?
The national switch to fibre
Predominantly led by the industry’s leading providers, the ‘national switch’ involves turning off the old copper phone network in 2025 (also known as the Public Switched Telephone Network) and switching to a full fibre connection. The industry had cited the high cost of maintenance and the need to sustain the evolution towards modern ways of communicating as the main reasons for the switch. Although minimal disruptions are expected, the UK government is working with Ofcom to ensure that consumers are protected and prepared.
With growing anticipation from different sectors, the national switch presents a number of opportunities for UK businesses.
Research by the CEBR (the Centre for Economics and Business Research) suggests that a switch to fibre could connect rural and more isolated communities, and boost labour productivity in general by nearly £59 billion. Given the nation’s longstanding problem with labour productivity, it would be a much overdue improvement to the overall economy. With the widespread recognition of the efficiencies of flexible working, the switch to fibre could also bring up to a million people back into the UK labour force. This in turn would offer businesses a wider range of innovative workers to choose from.
Since 2019, major providers (such as 02, BT and Three) have been deploying their 5G offerings to their clients. As the fifth generation of cellular networks, 5G claims to offer lower latency and greater bandwidth, giving businesses faster connectivity speeds and the ability to support more connected devices. It also offers built-in security protections, including new mutual authentication capabilities and enhanced subscriber identity verification. Rolling this out on a national scale would mean much greater efficiencies and savings for all. Growing companies could more easily afford the expansion of a reliably connected and more geographically spread-out remote workforce. Enhanced security measures would also mean less vulnerability to cyber attacks and, therefore, less costly solutions.
Collaboration & amalgamation
There are enormous benefits to businesses that choose a single-platform telecommunications solution (with further advantages to come). For example, the Microsoft Teams phone system allows you to connect your telecom services to Microsoft Teams. This enables you to call people outside of your Microsoft 365 business domain and access calls from any internet-enabled device. The benefits of this type of system are its efficiency for your business, its flexibility and its potential as a collaborative platform that streamlines workflows. The system is easily scalable for businesses of any size and offers contact analytics, giving you valuable insights into your business’s performance.
It’s clear that the future of telecommunications and the telecom sector present a variety of opportunities for businesses to grow and expand. With the UK in a unique position to take advantage of these digital transformation opportunities, we as businesses need to focus on how Britain can catch up with its global competitors in driving higher rates of workforce productivity. At Focus Group, our aim is to make your business more efficient by taking care of the ‘boring’ stuff. We help our customers grow their businesses and be ready for the future. We are proud to be leading the way in helping businesses deal with time-consuming challenges, like incompatible technologies, multiple suppliers, various pricing plans and numerous bills.
The first in the UK designed for all types of organisations, from small businesses right up to multinationals, the Digital Workplace package can deliver all of your essential business technology in one platform and package - allowing you to focus on developing and growing your customers, products, services and employees. For efficient business growth in a changing world, we offer a number of phone system packages: Talk, Horizon and VoIP.
Brand & Campaign Manager
Sonia Older is the Campaign Manager at Focus Group and a highly experienced copywriter. She boasts over 20 years of experience in content marketing and PR across multiple industries, and is the key driver of content and PR for Focus Group across all UK offices. Away from work, Sonia usually swaps keyboard strokes for ski slopes in the Alps with her family.