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By Arnoux Maré, co-owner of MJL Communications and CEO of Innovative Solutions Group (ISG)

Telecommunications is one of the most dynamic industries globally, continuously developing innovations with the potential to enhance customer experiences and value propositions.

As specialists in managing and maintaining voice and data services, MJL Communications believes that to retain a competitive advantage, it’s therefore vital for every company to stay on top of trends and adjust their telecommunication systems accordingly. With that in mind, here is a closer look at a few trends expected to influence the industry in 2023:

1. 5G: Fifth-generation wireless for cellular networks is designed to increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. This technology also enables ultra-low latency (processing high volumes of data with low tolerance for delays), as well as superior bandwidth capable of delivering shorter download times, multiple users and smoother online experiences.

To date, most service providers have made use of the current 4G (LTE) infrastructure but this year, 5G networks will become more commonplace. This will result in faster speeds and more consistent connections for better quality apps and services.

With 5G being up to 100 times faster, this will create unprecedented convenience for businesses. Futuristic services such as e-health, mobile cloud gaming, and connected vehicles and traffic systems will also be possible through the increased use of 5G.

2. Cloud computing: Cloud computing refers to the delivery of various computing services over the internet, such as servers, storage, databases, software, and analytics. The main benefits of this include increased flexibility, scalability, and cost savings.

Cloud computing further allows organisations to rent computing resources, such as servers, storage, and software, avoiding the high upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses associated with owning and operating their own IT infrastructure.

In 2023, the telecom industry is therefore likely to increasingly migrate to virtual networks, and we will also see a sizeable shift in businesses and service providers transferring crucial IT infrastructure to the cloud.

Communication providers are also expected to make use of cloud providers for their data processing, which will expand even further as companies build 5G-enabled services and edge computing services through cloud platforms.

3. Cyber security: As technology continues to advance, cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and widespread.

The biggest threats conventionally come from three elements: cybercriminals who want to reveal confidential information that could be sold or used to damage a business; corporate espionage; and employees' inadequate understanding of safety procedures such as secure passwords and phishing avoidance.

Network operators and organisations will therefore need to take more proactive steps this year to protect themselves from these threats. This includes implementing a variety of technologies and strategies such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and encryption to protect their networks and data. Additionally, organisations should invest in security awareness and training programs for their employees to help them identify and avoid potential threats.

Finally, it's also important to have a unified security approach, which means having a security plan that covers all areas of the business and integrates different security solutions, and to keep security solutions up-to-date.

4. IoT solutions: According to information and communications technology market research firm IDC, the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) in South Africa is expected to increase by as much as 14% every year until 2025.

The IoT refers to the connection of physical devices equipped with sensors, software, and other technologies that can communicate and exchange data with other devices and systems through the internet.

By implementing IoT solutions, businesses can gain valuable insights and data that can be used to make better decisions, improve processes, and drive growth. This means that this technology can also help businesses to improve their operations, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer service.

5. Mobile VoIP: Mobile Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows users to make voice calls using an internet connection rather than a traditional telephone line, enabling users to make and receive calls from anywhere in the world.

This year, as 5G grows, the performance of VoIP on mobile devices is also expected to improve, and VoIP mobile integration will become the standard.

These solutions will prove key to improving the mobility and productivity of employees while providing secure and reliable communication services. VoIP providers will therefore need to deliver integrated app support solutions to meet the demands of organisations that are adopting mobile work setups.

Telecommunications thus remans a rapidly evolving industry with a significant impact on businesses and individuals worldwide, especially as the trends of remote work, flexible working hours and telecommuting continue post-pandemic. This requires a robust and reliable telecommunications infrastructure and business leaders will increasingly need to invest in this infrastructure to remain up to date in the year ahead.

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