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What does 2018 hold for business communications?

 In Blog

What does 2018 hold for business communications?

As 2018 dawns, STL’s MD Brendon Cross and Sales Director Phil Donigan look back at the key developments in the telecoms market in 2017 and give their thoughts on the trends in business communications in 2018.

It’s all about Opex and not Capex

BRENDON Our sales of traditional telephone systems have fallen by exactly 50% in the last 5 years and these ‘sales’ have been replaced by ‘rentals’ of hosted products such as Horizon and IPECS.  This makes the decision to refresh technology so much easier for the end user and it’s also much easier for them to scale-up.  It is the benefits of SIP/Hosted that are driving the migration, not the ISDN switch-off…this is just a date on the horizon. People change because of the benefits and the cost savings.

PHIL The trend towards next generation telephony has continued strongly throughout 2017 and shows no sign of abating – next generation includes hosted telephony services and SIP trunking. From an STL perspective, I can’t remember the last time we delivered an ISDN 30 service for connection to a new telephone system and 100% of our new voice line provisions are now SIP or Hosted.

Hosted now used by larger organisations

PHIL Another feature of 2017 has been the increase in size of our average hosted telephony deployments – whereas hosted used to be reserved for smaller companies, now we are delivering to 100’s of users, often across multiple sites and our finance options with these products is enabling these deals to compete with more traditional ‘enterprise’ level solutions.

Remote working

BRENDON 2018 will be (finally) all about unification which has been talked up for many years.  There are now consistently reliable solutions (Horizon & IPECS) where the mobile phone can genuinely be used as an extension of the system, which means that users can work from anywhere in the world where there is a Wi-Fi connection. People are now working in different ways and work patterns are much more flexible…mainly because of the way tech is developing.

PHIL The increased trend towards remote and flexible working will increase in 2018 and we’re now able to offer fully ‘connected’ mobile services, where a user enjoys a single number that can reach them anywhere on any device, whether that be a fixed office telephone extension, a mobile phone, a soft client on PC/laptop or all 3 at the same time!

Bandwidth now double the speed at half the cost

PHIL The key developments in 2017 have been largely around bandwidth availability and delivery, with a number of our wholesale network providers launching or expanding their ‘on net’ services. On net delivers high capacity at a very competitive price, in some cases allowing us to double a customer’s capacity (speed) for half the cost of their existing services.

BRENDON You can now typically get twice as much bandwidth for half the cost that you could 5 years ago. This means that customers really do need to look at their contract because many will be on long term agreements where none of these savings have been passed through.  Better and cheaper bandwidth is also fuelling the massive migration to SIP that we’re seeing, which means significant savings and benefits for the end-user!

Cloud computing

PHIL 2018 is likely to continue in the same vane as 2017, with continued growth in Hosted Telephony and SIP installations, however I think next year will feature Cloud Compute and Cloud data backup and we’re anticipating significant uptake and growth for these products. Ultimately, they can be easily ‘bolted on’ to many of our customers’ existing services and we now have the skill in house to install, support and maintain these services.  

BRENDON I would like to see STL grow our IT and Cloud computing offering, it’s a natural progression from where we are.  Time to seize the opportunity!

Finally, a word about STL customer Service>

BRENDON Perhaps the most exciting project at the moment is the work that we’re doing to take our service and customer service here at STL from good to great.  This means a significant investment in people and systems to ensure that we stay ahead of the competition by focusing on our VSPs (not USPs) ie Great VALUE, Great SERVICE and Great PEOPLE.

We wish all our customers, staff, friends and all those businesses who are not yet our customers a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018.



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