Chatbots, Hybrid Working and Gigabit as Standard
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN A POST-2020 WORLD
By Paul Anslow, CEO, Triangle Networks, delivering gigabit-capable connectivity to businesses across Exeter via our IT partner network.
As a full-fibre enthusiast, telecoms entrepreneur and all-round tech fan, I often find myself reading up to see what’s on the horizon when it comes to digital transformation. A subject that is really important to our business, but also just a fascinating part of every-day life.
One thing we all know is that 2020 has been a catalyst for significant change, remote working being perhaps the most obvious area of transformation. While it’s impossible to predict exactly how these changes are going to play out over the coming years, there are a few areas which I think business leaders should be paying attention to:
Fifteen years ago we all had a notion of Artificial Intelligence as something from science fiction. But now, it’s making its way slowly but surely into the way we engage with businesses.
Process automation is already transforming the way businesses handle back-office, administrative and billing activities. Cognitive insight makes use of machine learning to deliver highest-level trend analysis, complete automation of targeted marketing and prediction of customer purchasing patterns. And cognitive engagement allows us to streamline and manage communications with customers using natural language chatbots.
All these tools are looking to boom in the coming years as businesses begin to understand how they can streamline their processes and provide a better service for their customers. And many of them can also be relatively inexpensive to implement, especially when you consider the cost-savings and ongoing learning capabilities.
I’m sure you’ve seen TV ads for IoT enabled washing machines, security systems and entertainment devices, but really, IoT strategy is still in its relative infancy. However, after twelve months of home and hybrid working, we’re starting to see how IoT will play a greater role in our working lives.
Implementing IoT in your business can help with everything from improving your customer relations, insight and analytics processes to assisting you in monitoring your supply chain, keeping track of your assets and reducing waste.
The IoT market – which includes hardware, software, systems integration, and data and telecoms services – is expected to grow to $520 billion by 2021. That figure represents a more than 100 percent rise on that spent in 2017. The only way is up for IoT, we should all make the most of it.
You’d have thought that security services would have developed along with the increased use of the internet as a service tool. But until now, businesses have been alarmingly nonchalant when it comes to their cyber security.
Now times are changing and cyber security is one of the fastest growing tech sectors. During 2020 there was a massive surge in cyber-attacks on home working employees. This exposes a flaw in IoT and the absolute necessity for robust security if you are running with hybrid-working teams.
2020 was a wake-up call for a lot of businesses regarding their cyber security and it’s something you cannot disregard moving forward.
The past twelve months have felt like one great big entirely unplanned social experiment. With regard to our working lives, we are all asking ourselves the same questions… Do we stick to remote working or do we go back to the office? What is the future of the office? How can we improve our employees’ work life balance while also improving our business productivity?
I think the answer is that technology has enabled the kind of flexibility, the agile working, that we’ve wanted for many years. The home working of the past year or so, using this technology, has proven the extent to which changes positively impact productivity.
Hybrid workforces are the future and it will be down to each business and their employees to work out the right home/office split for them. If people are coming into the office less regularly, we’ll need to evolve our offices to suit this new style of usage. Furthermore, we can then shift our focus to explore what would we do if we didn’t have to fit so many people into the space we have? I think we can expect to see more collaborative workspaces in lieu of rows of desks, video meeting pods and more social spaces. And of course, there is increasing technology to support this development.
Gigabit as standard
All of the digital advancements I’ve mentioned rely very heavily on one thing… a decent internet connection.
When it comes to connectivity the UK has been, quite frankly, atrociously behind. Most UK businesses still rely on capacity constrained, part-copper, part-fibre internet connections which are unreliable and very limited in terms of speed. When it comes to gigabit-capable, full-fibre connectivity, only 30% of the UK is covered (compared with 97% in Sweden).
However this is changing. Full-fibre infrastructure builder, CityFibre, is now rolling out at pace and businesses in cities including Exeter can now benefit from affordable, gigabit-capable internet connectivity. This type of internet connection is game changing and only by embracing it can you really unlock the true potential of your business.
As we move into a new age of tech in the workplace, it’s time to let loose the shackles of sub-standard internet connectivity and join the Gigabit revolution. At Triangle Networks, we pride ourselves on being friendly, community focused and working in partnership with local IT providers to ensure businesses have everything they need for their digital transformation.
Get in touch! www.trianglenetworks.co.uk
Paul Anslow is the founder and CEO of Triangle Networks, a full-fibre ISP and distributor on a mission to bring gigabit connectivity to as many businesses as possible across the UK, working in partnership with network operators, IT providers, developers, landlords and local community organisations.