RingCentral president David Berman has worked in tech for many years – he came to us several months ago from respected cloud communications firm WebEx – so he has a firm command of the trends afoot in the industry. Here are David’s top eight tech predictions for the year to come (in no particular order):
Remote and mobile workers will become the new norm, not the exception.
As we have discussed on this blog, remote work can accrue huge business benefits. Look for more companies to institute remote-work policies and procedures in 2014.
Employees will be empowered to take control of communications, lifting the IT burden and improving the end-user experience.
Another trend we’ve covered in recent months is Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. Two-thirds of corporate employees are using their personal mobile devices at work, Microsoft research has found – a proportion that should only increase in the months to come.
Interoperability between cloud apps will help business content ecosystems finally flourish.
Looking for a real-world example of cloud companies working in concert with each other? DocuSign and NetSuite – two cloud products which we use internally at RingCentral – offer an integrated solution for contract management. RingCentral provides integrations with a number of cloud services, as well.
Mobile apps will become just as integrated as desktop apps.
The Box app is an example of this trend – within Box, you can edit, share or annotate your files using other cloud products.
The RingCentral mobile app offers this functionality, as well (it integrates with Box and Dropbox).
Software, not hardware, will make our “smart” devices smarter and enable users to enhance productivity.
Hardware will remain essential, of course – we’ll still be carrying phones, laptops and other devices in 2014. But with hardware becoming largely commodified, software is what will differentiate one device from another. Motorola’s strategy with the Moto X Android smartphone – which ships with exclusive software like “Touchless Control” voice recognition – will likely be parroted by other firms.
Productivity and communications tools will be brought to market with a mobile-first approach.
Smartphones now make up a solid majority – 62.5 percent, to be precise – of the U.S. mobile device market. And half of American adults use mobile devices to surf the web. Mobile penetration will continue to increase here and abroad, and the companies that make communications and productivity solutions are taking notice.
The BYOD struggle between users and IT departments will end and enterprises will finally reach a happy medium.
This is a bold prediction – a recent CDW study found that 90 percent of IT pros are worried about the impact that personal devices will have on corporate networks. Still, products like MobileIron can make device management easier and a whole lot more secure – so look for them to gain traction in 2014.
“If you can move your customer relationship management software to the cloud, why not your communications?”
OK, this one is a little self-serving (we used a similar phrase on our billboards early in 2013). Still, it’s hard to miss the number of services that are shifting to the cloud. For example, keeping all of your music on an MP3 player is starting to seem anachronistic, with great solutions like Google Play Music and Apple iCloud that make cloud music storage totally seamless.