From two tins and a piece of string to video streaming, broadband and apps
Communication has come a long way – and lately, in a very short space of time. The human race relied on smoke signals and drums for 1000s of years, then in the last few hundred years came telegrams, pigeons, horses, Morse code and semaphore.
Then, for a relatively small period of our history, only around 100 years ago or so, we relied on telephone calls. However, in just 20 short years, communication methods on phones have changed from talking to just one other person, to all manner of ways of connecting with individuals and groups; using methods as diverse as SMS, voicemail, data, apps, web, intelligent services and video.
In 1993 IBM Simon, possibly the world’s first smartphone, was introduced. It was a mobile phone, pager, fax machine, and PDA all rolled into one. So as we can see, telecommunications is now a whole range of services; and for the future and beyond, it’s expanding to incorporate other technologies such as broadband, IPTV, video streaming and IT – all managed through one environment.
This has become the unified communications market, with a single user now having access to a variety of communication applications such as e-mail, SMS, video, fax, voice, and more. Additionally, unified communications has expanded to incorporate other interactive systems such as scheduling, workflow, instant messaging and voice response systems.
So like it or not, the unified communications market is now heavily embedded in our daily lives. The big question is, can providers cope with this massive increase in data from multiple sources? The ability to find value in increasingly higher volumes of data is no doubt a complicated process, which is why so many operators are still not doing it; but analysing all data, from all sources, in one place, is essential in gaining a fully integrated and omnipresent view of the communication network. This is essential to assure customer experience, improve monitoring and service quality, and identify problem areas, to aid network optimisation and capacity planning.
Thankfully there’s a solution in big data applications. For example, the Zen 4i suite can take information from anywhere and bring it into the same location – so the analysis of all data is carried out together. Zen’s big data engine has been designed to cope with any amount of data from an infinite number of sources. It provides a cross-play solution that encompasses broadband, IPTV, phones and beyond.
To make sure we can cope with the telecommunications evolution we need to evolve our management of the data it brings it as well as the services it provides.