2016 is poised to become a standout year in the technology sector, with many trends set to be widely deployed and adopted after years of trial and error. Mobility, real-time communications and the cloud are all driving exciting new applications and services, and Atlas Communications Technology has been at the forefront of these markets for years.
We recently spoke to Indrajit Ghosh (I.G.) CEO of newly formed Cloud and Managed Services division of Smart IMS, about his predictions for the upcoming year. Atlas believes 2016 is set to become a breakout year for cloud communications, including UC and over-the-top applications as well as embedding real-time communications features into mobile and web apps. Atlas has spent years focused on the RTC space, and Ghosh said that industry collaboration and a continued focus on standards will help the industry move forward in the coming year.
“It is exciting to see the maturation, for example, of WebRTC and platforms based on WebRTC,” he said. “Even though WebRTC standards and applications are still nascent, we are seeing early successes and now have validated that with the right architecture - the right applications - and the right ecosystem partners - the value scales.”
He believes there will be a fair amount of testing and trials taking place in 2016, especially in the large enterprise market that Atlas and Smart IMS (the company that acquired Atlas this year) serve.
“We cannot risk getting communications wrong when millions of dollars, or human lives are at stake,” added Ghosh. “Once we see more and more deployments scaling, the potential to replace old systems with new platforms is unlimited. We'll start to see massive growth in the second half of 2016.”
Ghosh also predicts there will be a lot of consolidation in the RTC space in the upcoming year. Funding from venture capitalists as well as plays from major carriers like AT&T and Verizon will drive this trend, while cloud powerhouses like Amazon, Google and Facebook will also move aggressively into the enterprise communications space.
“It's going to be an exciting time for messaging - voice, text and video - and with mobile continuing to skyrocket, it will be interesting to see who in the ‘desktop’ phone business wins,” said Ghosh. “Desktop phones will be around for years to come, but with better and more integrated and intuitive softphones and other embedded applications becoming increasingly a part of business communications...we'll have to watch closely what happens next.”
Of course there will challenges in the communications market next year, and Atlas sees the most complexity surrounding the transformation of traditional TDM networks to an all-IP world. Atlas believes there is still a bit of a disconnect between the vision for cloud communications and the reality of existing premise-based PBX phone systems. Mission-critical functionality is also required in many markets like healthcare, government, trading floors and contact centers, making migration more of a challenge.
“Any large enterprise or organization's lifeblood is communications, and voice is still an incredibly important application to get right,” said Ghosh. “We have done a great job as an industry moving into VoIP, but VoIP is becoming more feature rich at the same time as it is moving to ‘as a service’ models. The challenge will be in designing an elegant movement to the cloud, with the same requirements and hurdles as we faced when moving other applications to the cloud over the last decade.”