Something we have certainly learned in the last year is that we can’t predict the future, but in the world of telephony and connectivity, there are some key trends for 2021 that will dominate, and in many ways, help in our recovery from the pandemic. 

For many years now, Exchange Communications has been leading the way in promoting Smart Building technology and IoT (Internet of Things) advancements and has worked alongside some of the most prominent offices, shopping centres, factories, stadia, hospitals and travel hubs across the UK to transform them into some of the most connected sites in Europe. 

As we move forward with 2021, this technology is only going to get more popular as organisations seek out the latest innovations and tech ideas to help people ‘get back to work’, keep their employees safe, and cope with a longer-term strategy on multi-location working with a mix of home and office environments. Some of the tech around Smart Buildings will also come into its own with the opportunities for the likes of smart UV-c lights to kill germs and temperature detection at our fingertips aiding the recovery. 

In many ways, the pandemic has sped-up the drive towards this technology and made it a commercial essential, so 2021 has certainly become the year to get ‘smart’. 

Sitting behind all of this of course is 5G, which is set to dominate a lot of the conversation as many roll out the technology to help with connectivity and user experience. It is something we have been forging ahead with as a business, helping some of the first landmarks in the country to adopt the technology and make it work for them. 

We are also in advanced discussions with a number of key locations on how this technology can support telemedicine – a key consideration for the months and years ahead. 

As many of us continue to live life through a screen and have experienced the year so far remotely, it is fair to say there is a strong appetite from businesses, large and small, to protect themselves in the future against any disruption to normal working practices. There certainly is no better time to embrace this technology. 

A final consideration for the year ahead is the looming deadline of the PSTN / ISDN switch off. 

As of now, businesses should no longer buy any systems using PSTN or ISDN technology because in 2025, BT is due to switch off both of these services. Business users will be compelled towards an entirely IP-based model of SIP voice communication.

It is estimated that just under half of UK businesses are yet to make the switch from the outdated systems and, depending on infrastructure, this could take months or even years. Definitely something to think about sooner rather than later. 

The tech opportunities for the year ahead are promising and we look forward to seeing how creative and innovative the country can be as it looks to recover and rebuild from the challenging climate of 2020.

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