An era of change in telecoms

Posted 6th Dec 2019 under News

An era of change in telecoms

Our industry has seen phenomenal transformation since Cambridge Telecom was founded 15 years ago. We take a look at the main developments, from smartphones to Unified Communications (UC).

Mobile hardware – getting smarter

Motorola was the first company to market a mobile phone, back in 1983. By the early 2000s they were still a market leader and their flip-style Razr V3 is considered one of the best handsets ever produced. In the business world, BlackBerry was also a major player, their trademark qwerty keyboard devices featuring a calendar, music, email and internet access.

As for 2007, it was something of a landmark year in the evolution of mobile communications. No longer was the phone in your pocket just for calls and texts. It was becoming truly ‘smart’, with push button operation evolving into touch-screen swiping and scrolling.
Launched in January of that year, the LG Prada was officially the first handset with a capacitive touchscreen. But then came Apple’s iconic iPhone – a real game changer in the smartphone market. Just under 1.4 million were sold worldwide in the first year. In 2018 that figure had risen to almost 218 million.

With the launch of the Android operating system in 2008, the smartphone revolution moved up a gear. Reflecting the fact that handsets were increasingly used as mini-computers, screens began to get bigger. High-resolution cameras became standard. An array of apps began to appear, from messaging platforms such as Skype and WhatsApp to satnav and video players.

Facing stiff competition from the likes of LG and Huawei, Motorola lost some ground. However, in recent years they’ve had something of a renaissance. Their Moto G7 Power is currently one of our favourite mid-range smartphones.

A super-connected world

Prior to 2007, mobile connectivity had been mainly about inclusive minutes and texts. As smartphones became more advanced, it was increasingly also about data and speed. 3G and HSDPA made mobile broadband a reality. 4G delivered significant improvements in speed and reliability. Now 5G is set to take things to the next level, enabling the ‘Internet of Things’ to connect everything from cars and home appliances to smart street lighting.

A focus on security

Because more and more businesses use mobile devices to hold and transfer sensitive data, security has become a big issue. Having strong passwords and unlock protocols protects your sensitive data if your device is lost or stolen. And just like the PC on your desk, your smartphone is vulnerable to cyber attack, so it makes sense to have reliable antivirus software installed and to be constantly aware of risks such as phishing and scams.

Working smarter

It’s not just mobile communications that have revolutionised the business world over the last decade or so. Advanced connectivity solutions have changed the way we work, improving productivity and efficiency for all sizes and types of business.

At one time, ISDN was the gold standard. Now superfast fibre is enabling UC technology, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), smart call management solutions and video conferencing. Just a few years ago, being able to offer our customers broadband speeds of up to 38Mbps seemed like an exciting proposition. Now we’re installing gigabit circuits.

As speeds have increased, the need for major hardware installations and complex network infrastructure has reduced. With cloud-based apps and data storage, any business can now benefit from advanced communications technology without major upfront capital investment. Mobile broadband and cloud computing also empower much more effective remote working – ideal for staff on the move, tele-workers, pop-up shops and temporary sites.

Advanced communications technology hasn’t just connected individual people. It’s also connected whole business communities. Small, rurally-based SMEs can now compete in national and international markets without the costs of travelling or having local representation.

So, what’s next? With artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) developing rapidly, the scene is set for more big things in the world of telecoms. Humans will be able to collaborate much more closely with computers and robots, optimising production and maintenance in manufacturing industries. With 4K and 8K video, holograms and augmented reality, communications will become a much more immersive experience for end users. At Cambridge Telecom we’re looking forward to another 15 years of transformation.