What's under the tree for tech in 2018?

Incorporating 5G network wireless systems and the internet of things will be essential for businesses and personal use in 2018

THERE have been some fantastic developments in the corporate delivery of technology and communications over the last 12 months, with businesses of all sizes utilising the ever improving 4G networks, mobile handsets and VoIP telephone services to improve customer experience.

As service providers in this sector, we expect and hope to see the natural evolution in these technologies in 2018 as mobile internet speeds increase further, especially with the development of 5G.

5G has been given a further boost following Hammond's pledge in his budget last month to commit a substantial fund to roll out this technology across the UK. The download speed is currently a very competitive 2.8Gbps, but incorporating 5G will be essential for both businesses and personal use.

In a cut-throat and competitive marketplace, with new suppliers and operators popping up on a regular basis, we must remain vigilant of the new developments within infrastructure and service provision which will allow us to stay one step ahead of the competition.

In this regard, mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure will be the focus of the future, increasing connectivity and, as such, telecoms operators will, or should, be focusing their energies more profoundly on customer retention.

With better connectivity real-time communications through web browsers without plug-ins. WebRTC (Real Time Communications) will make this technology even more relevant and accessible to business people on the move.

A lot of businesses already use apps and services including video streaming for 24/7 customer service and smart businesses will lever new technologies to give their customers a submersive experience, whether Virtual Reality (VR), 360-camera or virtual tours of their properties and services.

From a business perspective, VR remains for the moment in the periphery, only being adopted as a novelty item and by gamers. However, the likes of Jaguar Land Rover are demonstrating how VR can be used successfully by filling the gap between vehicle launch and having the actual vehicle on display in the showroom, for example.

The whole communications market has matured. The ‘Internet of Things' has grown exponentially and the introduction of digital assistants witnessed phenomenal growth this past year. Whether through your remote home heating system or Alexa doing your online shopping, IoT has finally made the public main stream.

Over the course of 2018, this day-to-day assistance and functionality will require greater levels of support and data in order to meet its full potential in supporting businesses and consumers.

Developments in software, hardware, operating systems and suppliers who instal and maintain these systems will all be seen in the very near future as we strive to keep up with the future.

The telecoms industry is at the forefront of how we live and work. This continual evolution of digital technologies is being made through improvements and the miniaturisation of processors, antennas and battery life; making the mobile even more indispensable as it becomes more adept at performing activities usually reserved to office-based equipment and a desk-based life.

:: Eric Carson is director of Northern Ireland's largest independent telecom providers Rainbow ( and has been a pioneer of the local telecoms industry for 20 years.

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