The Future is Cloudy

Aside from the various dates we are given for the end of the world…  What changes can we expect in the next few years?

As the Magic Eight Ball might say…

It’s Cloudy.

Well OK, Cloud.

Cloud means that the computer and communication software and hardware that we use every day is moving to the network. This means that your business will spend less time working on wiring your phone/computer room to the latest boxes.  It also means  that you will spend less for software and your computer itself won’t need the 2,000 Gbps of expensive memory since everything will be stored in the network — The Cloud.  And that also means that you will be able to access it from virtually anywhere.

How it works

Enterprise is already using The Cloud even though it wasn’t always called that. It used to be Network-based. Network-based firewalls or network- based routers etc. Then it moved to Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage and now Cloud Everything.  Personal clouds, Contact Centers and Video Conferencing (and the game changer) Collaboration to name a few things.  In simple terms, take the services that you are used to caring for with an IT staff and move it and the management to an off-site location where it is cared for by design 24×7.

It gets even simpler. Think of all that you can grab off the internet right now and then think how much easier it would be if your whole life and business worked that way. That is what The Cloud is with a big difference being that while you are using an IP network, your data has several layers of encryption so that it is very available and very private at the same time.

Cloud Computing is changing the world as we know it. It is changing the way computing is done and the way business is conducted.

Whether you are storing your personal hard drive on a cloud or your entire data center, it works basically the same. You need access and you need a device that can read that data.  It could be a computer, IP phones with DSL, VPN, SIP trunking depending on the application and the amount of data you want to move.

Contact Centers are the most complex applications I can think of. They use, voice, data and instant web chat. This is in addition to multiple subject matter experts that may be in diverse locations on top of moving responsibilities from one center to another.  It also depends on the time of day so that whoever calls in speaks to someone who is fresh and alert.

Traditional contact centers are comprised of the agents (the folks on the other end of the line), the contact center managers who manage call flow and center operations including the IT staff to keep everything up and running. The contact center would have equipment to handle a myriad of call features from hold music to automatic transfer, call trees, etc. Sometimes it is a new box to be plugged into the old box because the feature that is being added is so new.  Then there is the access line or trunks. Several PRIs will need to be separated into 24 channels and then connected to the boxes. Those phone rooms are huge and confusing to say the least.

Moving this to the cloud means that a lot of, if not  all. of that equipment can go away.  Those trunks can be traded in for SIP trunks that are IP based, which are easier to manage. They are not just 24 channel trunks.  They use big bandwidth that can be split up any way you like.  Because you are using packet, you can send all of your traffic over the same connection — voice, data and video.

So you potentially save money on the access lines.  Then by eliminating the equipment, your IT managers can do something they have wanted to do for years -work on maximizing the contact center rather than just keeping it up. This helps save money too since with a contact center, every second counts.  Finally, the poor, overworked contact center manager, who has to measure every call and assign a value to it, can pull reports from the web in real-time or make changes to how the contact center works virtually real time. This saves extra steps, time and money.

I started with the most complex because it makes sense in a cloud environment. What about everything else?

I believe that in the not very distant future, we will see a convergence of our personal and work applications on a single device that will allow us to do practically anything from practically anywhere. Why not? If you are pulling down everything you need as you need it, you wouldn’t need your device to do as much.  This means that your device is less expensive and you aren’t restricted to a location, computer or other parameters that we are working with today.

How about your personal life? You probably already store pictures on line… That is Cloud storage. You may back up your hard drive on line.  Again, this is  Cloud storage.

Once you lay the foundation for a Cloud-based environment, it is simple to add more features and functions such as IP Toll Free.  This is toll free service but on the same platform, giving you even more features and stability built in or reporting and monitoring tools.

So you might be able to see how The Cloud is going to benefit you either personally or within your network in some capacity if you aren’t already using it.

The future IS cloudy but in a good way.

In what unique ways is Cloud Computing changing what you do?  How are you using Cloud Computing to save money, be more productive and/or get work done?  We look forward to your comments.
Sybil Fitzpatrick Lead Product Marketing Communications AT&T About Sybil