What does the future hold for voice-based communication?
As the Voice and Video Group Owner and Executive at Telstra, our team is responsible for the millions of voice and video calls that go through Telstra’s products, platforms and networks every day, whether it’s for consumers, enterprises or contact centres. Put simply, our job is to keep Australians connected.
But the nature of these connections has changed over time. We have reached ‘peak telephony’ in the developed world – people are using less traditional voice and SMS and more data-driven messaging applications, a trend that began in 2015.
At Telstra, we find ourselves at the forefront of these communication changes. In order to create a technology strategy that will allow our customers to do business and keep in touch with loved ones, we must be able to accurately predict their future needs.
What does this future look like? Let’s take a look at a few key insights that currently colour Telstra’s voice-based thinking.
Voice-based consumer trends
The switch to mobile is the overarching trend in communications tech that ties almost all others together. Consumers will soon be almost wholly mobile or smart device-based. Small to medium-sized businesses will still see the fixed line as ‘the face of the business’, but most calling will be on mobiles. Large or enterprise businesses meanwhile will shift to unified communications – for every fixed number there will be an associated mobile, and URL calling will become more popular.
These shifts will be enabled by the following technologies:
- The transformation of all voice and messaging to IP: Eventually all services and network traffic and carriers will be migrated to IP (NBN, VoLTE, IP Interconnect). This enables the provision of enterprise-grade features for business and consumers with fixed and mobile convergence, and a ‘one number, one voice’ experience.
- Integration to any IP-based endpoint: The number of internet-connected devices is exploding and there are now more IP-based calling devices than mobiles SIM-based devices in the home. Hypothetically each of these could function as an additional communication device in the home or on the road. Smart cars, smartwatches and smart speakers are the first examples of devices with calling and messaging capabilities, but you can expect the likes of smart TVs and others to follow.
- Scam calling: The communications industry is offering many solutions to the issue of scam calling. SHAKEN/STIR is a certificate-based authentication for IP voice calls equivalent to the HTTPS certificate system on the internet. Combined with real-time call analytics and call blocking capabilities (as well as law enforcement activities), the industry is confident that impact of this scourge can be diminished and eliminated over time.
- Rich Communication Services (RCS): SMS is still incredibly valuable, as it remains the only ubiquitous messaging service. RCS utilises its unique proposition by providing instant messaging features to SMS (presence, groups, interactions and file transfers). It is native on Samsung and has the potential to integrate to Apple iMessage for seamless operation across all device platforms.
- Virtual agents (AI): Artificial intelligence (AI) will be better utilised by contact centres, with interactive voice response (IVR) set to improve call deflection. Other promising contact centre technologies include voice biometrics for identification, agent co-browsing, interactive visual responses, click to connect with agents, and automated quality management that can generate reports on customer interactions.
At Telstra, we are perfectly placed to meet the upcoming challenges that will be posed by this transitional period in voice-based communication. We are confident that we’ll continue to provide a higher quality, more reliable and more functional service that offers the customer a far better overall experience.
Keeping Australians connected. It’s what we’ve always done, and it’s what we’ll continue to do.
Are you fascinated by all things communication? Great news – we’re looking for talented people to join our team. You can search and apply for jobs on the Telstra Careers website.