Convergence – a term every tech-savvy business should understand

The Cloud is underpinning the strength of technological convergence

THE telecom industry's dictionary is filled with jargon. For those in the sector, it's easy to navigate and there's a plethora of tech-heavy words and acronyms that roll off the tongue – but of course are not so easy to digest for those on the receiving end.

Once such term routinely discussed is ‘convergence.' It's a buzzword that often ignites excitement, but isn't always readily understood.

For local businesses it's vitally important to understand what ‘convergence' is and what it means because it's the key driving force for technological change that is already dramatically impacting daily lives. It's unstoppable. It's advancing fast and there is plenty more of it to come.

The theory of convergence in telecoms relies on the fact that eventually all voice and data services will be delivered seamlessly over your internet connection in data packets. For example, your mobile phone handles calls, instant messages, streams television, takes and shares photographs and allows you to access emails from anywhere.

As telecom operators and media content providers continue to collaborate because of the obvious synergies involved, more and more of us can benefit from the content, the quality and reliability that these services provide.

To support all of this, it's essential that high-quality bandwidth and wireless connectivity is available with the capacity to carry it all and much progress is being made in this area. The Cloud, a godsend providing the capacity to store all this data and underpinning the strength of this convergence, now has the security and space needed to support it.

In Northern Ireland, convergence is rapidly changing the face of business as we know it.

Recent tech innovations have already transformed how many businesses operate. For example, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems have revolutionised how companies interact with their customers and others. Convenient, affordable and easy to install, it's now an industry standard for most and an imperative for everyone given the traditional ‘old' (PSTN) network will be phased out in the next few years.

So how can your business benefit from this ‘convergence'?

With so much choice on offer and solutions available, it's easy to save money, drive innovation, efficiency and productivity by unifying – or ‘converging' – all your communications activity.

It means you and your team can streamline everything, giving you real-time access to phone communications, messaging, software, data sharing and video conferencing.

- Go mobile

Work anywhere, connecting with staff and customers on the road, at home or wherever your business takes you. You will no longer be tied to your office.

-Engage your customers and business partners

Communicate in the way they want to be reached using cutting-edge technology, whether on or offline. By monitoring these interactions, you'll also be able to improve contact, driving sales, customer satisfaction and further investment.

-Do more with less

Cut down on bills and needless admin. Using one service provider to manage all your solutions in a unified way means you only get one bill and one management portal. Your accounts team (and your accountant) will be delighted.

-Did I say save money?

One of the greatest benefits of overhauling your communications system is taking advantage of the cost savings it provides. From low initial set-up cost and minimal routine support, as everything is updated in the cloud; the return on investment means you're never going back to old fashioned communications.

-Future-proof your business

Build in the capacity now to flexibly expand, add additional staff and features or store more data; when your business demands.

The benefits are many and the path is clear but like any solution, research, discussion and planning prior to implementation is essential and it's important to find out what the best solution is for your specific needs, as convergence doesn't mean one size fits all.

:: Eric Carson is director of Rainbow Communications and can be contacted via www.rainbowcomms. com. Rainbow Communications can also be followed on Twitter: @Rainbow_Comms

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