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The business world
in 2025
© Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd August 2015
A forecast of the needs of
future communications use...
We help communications industry
executives to address their
strategy and innovation challenges.
We offer a breadth and dep...
To learn more:
www.martingeddes.com
Future of Communications newsletter:
Sign up here for free
Follow Martin Geddes on Twi...
EDITOR
ASSOCIATE &
CONTRIBUTING
AUTHOR
Meet the authors
Martin Geddes is a network performance
scientist, and co-founder o...
What will business
communications be
like in the year
2025?
“Data is the sword of
the 21st century,
those who wield it
well, the Samurai.”
— Jonathan Rosenberg
SVP, Product Managemen...
This presentation is divided
into two sections:
What are the future
communications needs
of workers?
How and where
do peop...
What are the future
communications needs
of workers?
A
In this section
Platform-led services Mass personalisation Intuitive computing
Inclusive and
accessible design
Data-driven...
Platform-led
services
The ICT world is re-organising around a small number of regional or global
platforms for commerce, computing and communica...
Mass personalisation
Mass personalisation
So what?
There will be an increasing rate of change of product needs and purchasing models.
Making good buy/build/partner ...
The fragmentation
of business communications
There are an increasing number of knowledge workers using communications
appl...
Future service plans may follow
auto “model years” approach
2014 comms bundle
Same price
Better design
Better experience
2...
Intuitive computing
So what?
We will see a spread of the “iPads + Google apps” model deep into the business
world. More and more services will...
Inclusive and
accessible design
“People with disabilities
are the world's largest minority,
an emerging market on par with
the size of China!”
Quote: Deni...
So what?
Network operators will have to help service a wider range of ages and (dis)ability
levels in work: hearing, mobil...
Data-driven
decision making
The machine intelligence
revolution
A world of sensors and sentient machines is a fundamental disruption.
Computers can an...
Generational change
“Millennials will be roughly
50% of the USA workforce in 2020
and 75% of the global workforce by 2030.”
Source: Forbes
Thr...
The Boomers retire
The ‘GenXers’ are the first computer gamers to be entering senior
management. They have experienced the...
Data
integrity
‘Data spills’ are
environmental disasters
for digital businesses
Confidence and trust
are the currencies of the future
Data is a business asset when put to use, but data is also a liabili...
Safety
and
wellbeing
What if sitting still too long
is the ‘new smoking’?
Rising costs of healthcare and workplace stress are likely to lead to...
A solution
to data obesity
The crisis of
abundance of information
With data being the ‘new oil’, we face analogous problems of abundance. Users
will ...
How and where
do people work?
B
In this section
Portfolio careers Revolt against
the CIO
Urban revival
Seamed
communications
Privacy
34
B
Portfolio Careers
The portfolio career of the 2020s
It is well-known that traditional employer/employee relationships are in decline as
work...
‘Anywhere, anytime for anyone’
virtual workplace solution
The virtualised workplace of the near future can be thought of a...
Revolt against the CIO
So what?
All services will need over-the-top and offline modes, and not just on-network
operation. There will be a need fo...
Urban revival
Where’s the nearest coffee shop
(with bicycle parking & good WiFi?)
We are seeing a re-urbanisation of the US, and an urba...
The telecoms industry has been marketing “seamless communications” for many
years. This refers to maintaining sessions dur...
Privacy
What?
In the 20th century, we satisfied basic
needs for clothing, housing and food. A
‘mass luxury’ industry emerg...
So what?
What is the virtual equivalent of
the ‘corner office’? It is an
environment that offers similar
levels of privacy...
Summary
• There will be a much greater mix of synchronous and asynchronous voice
communications. Users want freedom from c...
To learn more:
www.martingeddes.com
Future of Communications newsletter:
Sign up here for free
Follow Martin Geddes on Twi...
Please feel free to get in touch
mail@martingeddes.com
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The business world in 2025

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A forecast of the needs of future business communications users, based on research by Martin Geddes and Dean Bubley. We address the questions: What are the future communications needs of workers? How and where do people work?

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The business world in 2025

  1. 1. The business world in 2025 © Martin Geddes Consulting Ltd August 2015 A forecast of the needs of future communications users
  2. 2. We help communications industry executives to address their strategy and innovation challenges. We offer a breadth and depth of insight into the future of communications that you won't find anywhere else.
  3. 3. To learn more: www.martingeddes.com Future of Communications newsletter: Sign up here for free Follow Martin Geddes on Twitter: @martingeddes
  4. 4. EDITOR ASSOCIATE & CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR Meet the authors Martin Geddes is a network performance scientist, and co-founder of the Hypervoice Consortium. He completed a year-long research project into the future of voice communications in 2014. Dean Bubley is a broadband and mobility expert, who has written a pioneering & award-winning WebRTC report. His track record of correctly forecasting enterprise communications spans over two decades.
  5. 5. What will business communications be like in the year 2025?
  6. 6. “Data is the sword of the 21st century, those who wield it well, the Samurai.” — Jonathan Rosenberg SVP, Product Management Google
  7. 7. This presentation is divided into two sections: What are the future communications needs of workers? How and where do people work? A B
  8. 8. What are the future communications needs of workers? A
  9. 9. In this section Platform-led services Mass personalisation Intuitive computing Inclusive and accessible design Data-driven decision making Generational change A solution to data obesity Data integritySafety and wellbeing 9
  10. 10. Platform-led services
  11. 11. The ICT world is re-organising around a small number of regional or global platforms for commerce, computing and communications. These platforms are controlled by a relatively small number of (non-telco) players. Examples include smartphones (iOS vs Android); IaaS/PaaS (AWS/Azure); and ERP/CRM (Oracle/SAP/SFDC). The “winner takes all” nature of multi-sided markets, technical lock-in and user inertia all favour continued concentration. These platforms all offer “power by the hour” on-demand business services, with integrated cloud, business communications and commerce. A good example is Salesforce Chatter. This leaves a role for an “experience integrator” who configures the platform and related services to solve customer needs. These needs might be functional (e.g. a particular workflow) or non-functional (e.g. security). So what? These platforms are the heart of the data economy. Market power will likely gravitate towards them. Becoming a platform is very hard: most evolve out of an initial successful product which then gets “platformised”. The services are pre-integrated for you, so operators have less choice over the “raw ingredients”, but can still select the “recipe”. As a result, network operators will have less freedom to act independently to create new platforms and experiences. Hence they need to sell to developers and integrators as much as end customers. 11
  12. 12. Mass personalisation Mass personalisation
  13. 13. So what? There will be an increasing rate of change of product needs and purchasing models. Making good buy/build/partner decisions is critical. A wide portfolio becomes more important, rather than picking a few winners. This requires cheap, quick service creation. That in turn implies both internal and external APIs, as well as a ‘DevOps’ deployment model. This diversity places emphasis on service discovery plus ease of provisioning and integration. Expect fragmentation of demand Whilst there is much activity around ‘unified communications’ in the enterprise, blending many media and forms of interaction within a single application suite. Meanwhile, there has been an orthogonal long-term trend towards ‘fragmented communications’ in the general market. Users are selecting applications and services that suit their individual needs. In the consumer world, some of these are also monolithic ‘unified’ suites, like Facebook. Increasingly many are not, and solve specific point issues for users. There is a notable ‘fashion’ element that is infecting the enterprise. This ‘mass personalisation’ of communications is allied to a move towards contextualised services that are embedded into other applications. 13
  14. 14. The fragmentation of business communications There are an increasing number of knowledge workers using communications applications. These seek better collaboration and conferencing tools, including voice and video. This will result in a continued slow migration: away from PBXs, to IP- PBX, then UC, and finally cloud communications. This drives the trend for ‘unification’ throughout the upgrade and replacement cycle. However, there are also a large number of basic communications-enabled workers. These historically have been “phone-only” users (eg taxi-drivers) who are now wanting more productivity. These will drive “dis-unification”. Their changing work patterns mean few will have a conventional UC/PBX “seat”. Self-employment, contracting, and part-time work combine with mobile working & BYOD to mitigate against the “seat” sales model. This will intensify with the growing use of “guest access” and standalone cloud collaboration, together with “BYO Everything”. For these users, communications will become embedded into business processes and applications based on 3rd-party platforms, APIs & components. Adoption will be driven by application and web-service designers (eg ERP, workforce management). 14
  15. 15. Future service plans may follow auto “model years” approach 2014 comms bundle Same price Better design Better experience 2015 comms bundle ‘Disunification’ will drive new market behaviours and buying patterns 15
  16. 16. Intuitive computing
  17. 17. So what? We will see a spread of the “iPads + Google apps” model deep into the business world. More and more services will creep in, expensed on credit cards. The new value chains are still forming, and there will be a “balance of payments” between the cloud platforms and network operators. It is unclear if network operators are buyers or sellers, and what that balance will be. Design can’t be standardised, although interoperability can. The role for industry associations and standards bodies would require review. There will be a continued loss of relevance for PCs, but it would be premature to dismiss the PC or Microsoft even on a 10-year horizon. What happens when design meets data? With the earliest communications and computing machines, humans had to adapt to the limits of the technology: punched cards and switchboard operators are classic examples. Increasing, the technology is adapting to human limits. This trend could be seen as ‘intuitive computing’, and comprises three core elements: An Apple-like holistic design; an Google-like approach to data; and an IBM Watson-like capability of machine intelligence. 17
  18. 18. Inclusive and accessible design
  19. 19. “People with disabilities are the world's largest minority, an emerging market on par with the size of China!” Quote: Denis Boudreau Source: World Health Organization WHO global disability action plan 2014–2021 1 billion people
  20. 20. So what? Network operators will have to help service a wider range of ages and (dis)ability levels in work: hearing, mobility, vision, cognitive impairments, and so on. This requires more choices over UX and modalities – just as say MacOS allows you to speak as well as use a mouse to navigate its interface. This will no longer be a skill relegated to a ghetto of ‘accessibility’ applications. To become ‘superproductive’ we must turbocharge our cognitive and social abilities. Accessibility for all: we must meet human needs first Inclusive design is not about ‘being nice’ or a compliant corporate citizen: it is a basic skill of business. We are all disabled some of the time: driving a car, in a noisy place, or don’t have our glasses on. When we interact with people from a foreign country whose language we don’t speak, we become effectively deaf and mute. When we can’t understand their script, we become illiterate. Compared to the productivity superheroes we aspire to become, we are all disabled all of the time. Augmentation is for everyone, not just the disabled. 20
  21. 21. Data-driven decision making
  22. 22. The machine intelligence revolution A world of sensors and sentient machines is a fundamental disruption. Computers can and will do ever more jobs better than we can ourselves. We take for granted that a spreadsheet will add numbers better than we can. Soon, computers will be scheduling our calendars better than any human assistant. This is already resulting in a mass automation of low- and mid-end white collar jobs. In its place, it opens up new opportunities for new data-driven systems. So what? This world of data-driven real-time decision-making implies hugely distributed data sets and queries with stringent performance needs. These different loads and traffic patterns will require new network architectures. It’s not just technology that changes. The business metrics are different, too. For example, in an M2M world, what is a ‘subscriber’? This means managing to new metrics. The supply chain of data will create new industry structures. To what extent will network operators be data sources vs sinks? Finally, there will need to be new services to manage the data integrity and security of the complete chain that leads up to a machine-made decision. 22
  23. 23. Generational change
  24. 24. “Millennials will be roughly 50% of the USA workforce in 2020 and 75% of the global workforce by 2030.” Source: Forbes Three Reasons You Need To Adopt A Millennial Mindset Regardless Of Your Age
  25. 25. The Boomers retire The ‘GenXers’ are the first computer gamers to be entering senior management. They have experienced the 1980s and 1990s recessions and 2000s depression. They are relatively low in numbers compared to the generations on either side. Their ethos is (roughly) to seek security & stability (“Pay off my mortgage!”) In contrast, Millennials stereotypically have a different relationship to success and status. They tend to seek more freedom and meaning from their work (“Who wants a mortgage?”), and care about social responsibility and personal health. They don’t like email, but love mobile apps. So what? There will be a more risk-averse environment among senior buyers. They will want greater assurances of things being fit-for-purpose and low-risk. Network operators will need to run hard to stand still. The generational turnover will require self re-invention, and a continual re-positioning of the service portfolio. This leads us to a “Fast Moving Comms Goods” type of market, where the enterprise mobile apps store is the convenience store for communications. Many older staff (such as those in billing) will leave, creating a loss of institutional knowledge. 25
  26. 26. Data integrity
  27. 27. ‘Data spills’ are environmental disasters for digital businesses
  28. 28. Confidence and trust are the currencies of the future Data is a business asset when put to use, but data is also a liability when misused. That liability is not fully costed, and the risks are rarely insured. If current trends continue, then the next decade will see numerous systemic crises of trust in cloud services, broadband operators, and communications platforms. We are also already de facto in an ongoing low-level cyberwar with organised criminals and foreign nations, with the two being hard to distinguish. So what? Enterprises will seek “cyber-integrity” services, and will turn to trusted sources to find them. This will be a global, multi-industry game. That possibly puts some markets and players at an advantage. For example, the GSMA represents the political and economic interests of mobile operators as well as developing technical standards. New alliances and partnerships will be needed to create the chains of trust. New identity services will be needed. Managed security (both physical and virtual) will be a major market need. 28
  29. 29. Safety and wellbeing
  30. 30. What if sitting still too long is the ‘new smoking’? Rising costs of healthcare and workplace stress are likely to lead to tighter regulation of workplace safety and wellbeing. Enterprises and governments will want to manage social & health costs of work. This will cover a wide gamut of issues, although basic physical and mental health will be paramount. Endlessly checking emails will be the next vice to be addressed. We already see early signs of this, e.g. German companies turning off email servers outside working hours. So what? Forms of stress and anxiety measurement and management will eventually become commonplace. Communications services will have a part to play in this. The geographic & cultural dispersion of teams leads to social isolation, which is a health killer. This will drive demand for translation services, video windows, social robots and co-presence objects. These give a sense of feeling connected to combat isolation and loneliness issues. There will be demand for next-generation public safety systems. This all involves a change in focus from “pure logic” to “ethics and feelings”. It implies new skills sets and new value chains. It is an area of high uncertainty. 30
  31. 31. A solution to data obesity
  32. 32. The crisis of abundance of information With data being the ‘new oil’, we face analogous problems of abundance. Users will increasingly become overwhelmed by processes of securing and managing data across many devices, places and services. For example, if you start to record all of your conference calls, how do you index and search that data? How do you manage permissions to access it, or rescind access to your recorded voice? What happens when people leave, retire or die? So what? This opens up new opportunities. At the lower layers, we will see an evolution of ‘software-defined storage’. At the higher layers, management services will automate how processes of access control, workflow, and archival. These will require the application of machine intelligence to automate a large number of authorisations. The enforcement of data privacy, retention and destruction policies will be a growing part of the value of enterprise communications services. 32
  33. 33. How and where do people work? B
  34. 34. In this section Portfolio careers Revolt against the CIO Urban revival Seamed communications Privacy 34 B
  35. 35. Portfolio Careers
  36. 36. The portfolio career of the 2020s It is well-known that traditional employer/employee relationships are in decline as work moves towards a more ‘free agent’ model. That means workers don’t want to be tied down to particular places, devices, services or commitments. And certainly not to one employer. This will result in a ‘portfolio’ lifestyle, with many people being self-employed, or having multiple employers working part-time roles. According to PwC*, already “31% of HR professionals are building their talent strategies around the rise of the portfolio career, hiring a diverse mix of people on an affordable, ad hoc basis.” What does this mean for communications service providers? 36*Source: The Future of Work – A journey to 2022
  37. 37. ‘Anywhere, anytime for anyone’ virtual workplace solution The virtualised workplace of the near future can be thought of as ‘telework++’. Virtualised tasks will be structured more like games, with clear ‘wins’. A new discipline of virtual leadership is emerging. The ‘telemanager’ of the future will be aware of both the power and limits of her tools. In this environment, there will be a blending of productive tasks and ‘permanent education’. New skills will be constantly learnt, with that self-education built-in to knowledge work. So what? Workers and enterprises will have greater dispersion of income and ability to pay for such services. The high-end is higher, and the low-end is wider. You can think of it as being like the HiFi or watch market (or even higher education). To make this happen users will need not just connectivity. The market will evolve to also emphasise resilience and performance of the network access. This will require the use of multiple bearer technologies. The dynamic nature of demand will make enterprise telecoms more like the military, with networks being erected and torn down where demand is to be found. You can think of it as being like the Superbowl or Olympics coming to town everywhere, every year. 37
  38. 38. Revolt against the CIO
  39. 39. So what? All services will need over-the-top and offline modes, and not just on-network operation. There will be a need for graceful degradation across boundaries. Forms of multi-tenancy will be everywhere (cloud, core, access network, CPE). All assets will be shared among many users and uses. For example, an on-premises connectivity hub may be hosting services for many partners and users. “Bring Your Own Everything” means Be Your Own Chief Security Officer. This will drive more demand for managed security, and cause changes in buying patterns. What? The consumerisation of enterprise communications will continue. What began with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) will extend to applications, network service providers and identity. CIOs will have reduced power to dictate solutions, and the traditional enterprise sales cycle will be disrupted. Bring Your Own Everything 39
  40. 40. Urban revival
  41. 41. Where’s the nearest coffee shop (with bicycle parking & good WiFi?) We are seeing a re-urbanisation of the US, and an urbanisation of China and India. In the US, there is an absolute and ongoing decline in car miles being driven: The US per-capita peak was in 2005, and is 9% down on that level today… and still dropping fast. (Source: US DoT/Business Insider.) The future involves more public and shared transit. Autonomous cars and smart cities will only serve to accelerate this trend. So what? Operators need to design services appropriate to this opportunity. “Mobility” has been seen as taking existing fixed services (voice, broadband) and delivering them anywhere. This will no longer be enough. “Seamed” communications will outgrow “seamless” ones, because they offer contextually-appropriate experiences, and manage the boundaries between environments. A private car has different properties to a shared car, which is different again to a bus. 41 (As a tiny aside, I am in Amsterdam as I write this. Lots of people are cycling about whilst fiddling with their phones! MG)
  42. 42. The telecoms industry has been marketing “seamless communications” for many years. This refers to maintaining sessions during hand-offs between bearers. “Seamless” assumes the notion of a “session”, and that one session is necessarily better than two separate ones. It is impossible for every place and time to have the same idealised performance, cost, battery usage, policy control and privacy. The real world is full of “seams” where there are such transitions. Indeed, all bearers have different properties. We can’t eliminate all these changes to create a homogeneous communications utopia. “Seamless” communications thus overestimates the importance of “continuity” relative to maximising the benefits from two (or more) separate domains with different characteristics. We should embrace the seams. For example, the entrance to a tunnel is a “seam”. If there is going to be a predictable change of coverage ahead, how can the service adjust and adapt appropriately rather than pretend it doesn’t exist? 42 Seamed Communications
  43. 43. Privacy What? In the 20th century, we satisfied basic needs for clothing, housing and food. A ‘mass luxury’ industry emerged for physical goods. In the 21st century, we will blend the physical and virtual. The integrity of the data at rest and in motion will be taken as basic digital hygiene. The ‘luxury’ virtual goods will be experiences that meet needs for privacy and social status.
  44. 44. So what? What is the virtual equivalent of the ‘corner office’? It is an environment that offers similar levels of privacy. This means managing the integrity of the communication at the points of creation and consumption, not just in the middle. Users will want to find spaces to work from when they are ‘on the go’ that offer them quiet, and freedom from being overlooked and overheard. What does the ‘phone booth’ of the 21st century like?
  45. 45. Summary • There will be a much greater mix of synchronous and asynchronous voice communications. Users want freedom from calendars, scheduling and appointments. That requires time-shifting of communications. • All services will give off valuable data and metadata. Voice cannot be assumed to be ephemeral any longer. This is a structural shift in value-added away from transmission networks towards data storage and processing. • Users will need services to manage security, identity, privacy, data liability in all environments. Their ‘personal communications bubble’ will need to follow them around. • As users move around, services will need to be context-aware and adaptive: make your service work for me, not me for your service. • There is high complexity to deliver these experiences: the data gathering and decision-making implies many partners and interfaces with long supply chains. • There are many tensions and boundaries in those chains which complicate experience design and delivery: unified/disunified; managed/unmanaged; private/public; integrated/fragmented; and secure/insecure. 45
  46. 46. To learn more: www.martingeddes.com Future of Communications newsletter: Sign up here for free Follow Martin Geddes on Twitter: @martingeddes
  47. 47. Please feel free to get in touch mail@martingeddes.com

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