Communication is key, as the old saying goes. Behind this often repeated phrase (or is it a cliche already?) lies a kernel of truth, and for no one more so than businesses. Focusing on team communication can bring businesses a range of significant benefits, from increased productivity and innovation, to better employee engagement.
With the fast-paced change in technology it can be difficult for businesses to keep up with the latest trends in team communication. Doing so, however, is crucial for businesses to maintain a competitive advantage in this area. With the onset of new communication technologies and trends lie the potential for well-positioned businesses to improve their team communication.
5G, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud computing are all set to further revolutionize the way businesses operate, and the way team’s communicate. Against this backdrop, cybersecurity concerns continue to increase, leaving businesses wondering how to balance the freedom of communication embodied in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy with the legitimate need for secure communication.
In an attempt to help in the process of keeping up with these changes, below you’ll find some of the latest trends in team communication. In an attempt to demystify some of the newly popular phrases in communication, such as 5G and IoT, we’ve sought to explain what the trends are and how they can apply to businesses.
The Fifth Generation of cellular network technology (5G) has huge implications for business communication. At its core, 5G will increase broadband reliability, bandwidth and capacity. 5G will be up to 20 times faster peak speed as compared to 4G, meaning staying connected will be an easier and smoother process for businesses in the near future.
5G rollout is still early days, with limited coverage available in some areas of South Korea and the US, but this is expected to increase dramatically in coming months. There are, of course, numerous concerns around 5G, as with many new technologies before being fully implemented. But espionage and radiation concerns aside, 5G will likely become the new standard in communication technology in the near future, opening numerous opportunities for business communication.
Along with the increased bandwidth comes the ability to integrate more high data load modes of communication from more places (think high quality video chat through mobile networks from anywhere with 5G). This means that staying connected during business travel, for example, will become even easier. And staying in touch will mean much more. Gone are the days of being happy with only a stable audio connection, with the 5G bandwidth speeds, keeping in touch can mean audio, video, file sharing, etc.
Internet of Things (IoT)
At its core, the Internet of Things (IoT) is all about better connection, specifically extending connectivity to physical devices. IoT technologies are still in their infancy, but are already opening up a whole range of opportunities for businesses. With this better connectivity, businesses can improve their data collection, streamline their supply chain management and make their physical working space more efficient, to name a few of the current applications.
Of course, better connectivity is at the core of team communication as well. Keeping devices in constant communication through this “Machine to Machine” technology can help to eliminate the need for some low value human interaction, allowing for team members to focus on other collaboration. If devices are, for example, sending data automatically, something that an employee had to do manually before, then there’s more time for more higher value added team conversations.
IoT is still in the early phases of rollout, so there will certainly be more advancements in the business communication field soon.
Cloud Services aren’t necessarily a new idea in the team communication arena, but businesses are constantly offering expanded and innovative products. There is a continuing focus on innovations in the structure and services of cloud computing, for example in the areas of serverless computing and service mesh. But what does this all mean for businesses?
A crucial part of cloud services is, of course, cloud communication. Hosted team communication services are both expanding in terms of offerings, and becoming more affordable due to the decrease in the cost of computing. More and more businesses are moving their team communication off the landline and into the cloud, particularly as 5G begins its much anticipated expansion.
One other important area when it comes to business cloud computing is security. The nature of cloud computing is such that the potential for cybersecurity threats are many, given that multiple team members have access to any given cloud network. In this regard, managed security, with a combination of endpoint and perimeter protections, is a developing field in cloud computing that can help protect businesses internal communication channels.
Secure Team Communication
Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in cybersecurity concerns, and with it a growing focus on secure communication at the workplace. For businesses located in the EU, or doing business with anyone there (a definition that casts a wide net), these concerns have come into greater focus alongside the new GDPR regulations.
Given that the majority of cybersecurity threats arise not from the stereotypical hooded hacker, but rather from human error, businesses are logically paying closer attention to how their teams are communicating both internally and externally. Recent research has highlighted the extent of the challenge, showing that up to 90% of data breaches have been caused by the ‘human factor.’
Given the risks involved (with one data breach costing on average $3.86 million), businesses are starting to take a harder look at their communication infrastructure. One approach that many businesses are taking is using an encrypted messaging app for their internal communication. Employing encrypted messaging can help reduce the risk of human error by ensuring that sensitive data is fully protected.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
Gone are the days of the standard work laptop or cellphone, long live bring your own device! Well, not exactly, but an increasing amount of businesses are certainly moving in this direction, allowing employees to use their personal devices for work purposes. The abundance of devices in most employees’ personal lives have made Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies more feasible.
Allowing employees to bring their preferred devices could have a positive impact on team communication. The idea being that employees are more likely to actively communicate if doing so from a device they are familiar and comfortable with. There are added benefits to such policies as well, particularly related to cost savings.
BYOD does come with some potential risks, particularly when it comes to security. Businesses who do adopt such a policy would be well advised to establish clear guidelines and rules around it.
Team communication is constantly evolving, and with it new opportunities for businesses are emerging. It can be difficult for businesses to stay abreast of all the latest technological trends, whether it’s how IoT will affect their operations, or the pace and scope of the 5G roll out. Now more than ever, by staying abreast of these trends businesses can position themselves to boost their communication and reap the numerous benefits.