2021 has been a good year for technology, with new 5G equipment being rolled out, more home working and a move to more cloud-based telephone systems. We look forward to 2022, and the next 12 months to discover what telecom trends we expect to see.
1. More of the UK’s ISDN being switched off
As the 2025 ISDN switch off fast approaches, Openreach have already begun turning off telephone exchanges across the country.
In August 2021, Openreach announced 86 future locations for their ISDN switch off. This further accelerates the move away from ISDN, and we expect to see even more locations move first to stop-sell, and then onto a full switch off.
In 2022, businesses will have to seriously start thinking about their broadband and telephones, and will be needing to move away from ISDN as soon as possible.
2. An increase in home working (again)
Believe it or not, the home working trend is not slowing. As more and more businesses come to the end of their telecommunications contracts, they’re choosing to upgrade to cloud-based telephone systems.
These solutions allow for home working, which is now an upmost priority for thousands of businesses in the UK. These businesses are choosing to give staff flexible working options, or in some cases close their offices completely and utilise a full home-working setup.
In 2021, we saw a huge uptake in home working, and we expect to see this continue into 2022, as the market moves to IP communications and more and more businesses make the switch.
3. Increased use of 5G
Chances are you know what 5G is. The next generation of cellular broadband is here, and is growing rapidly. As networks move over to the new technology, so do consumers and businesses.
In 2022, we expect to see a huge increase in the coverage and use of the UK’s 5G network. In fact, some businesses are already using 5G as a fixed line alternative, due to the insane speeds and low latency.
Many of our customers are already using 5G, particularly at an event where there is little to no fixed-line availability.
4. Businesses moving to SoGEA
SoGEA (Single Order Generic Ethernet Access), is a form of internet connectivity that replaces traditional Fibre to the Cabinet ISDN broadband. As we mentioned before, the UK’s ISDN network is being switched off in 2025, and as such, traditional broadband and FTTC lines will begin to be turned off.
As we get ever closer to this deadline, and throughout 2022, more and more businesses will be switching to SoGEA, replacing their existing broadband lines. SoGEA offers the same speeds as traditional FTTC broadband, but without using the ISDN.
SoGEA is also helping lots of businesses run VoIP—which is a replacement for their analogue and digital telephone systems.
5. More IoT devices
The IoT (Internet of Things) is a connected world of devices and sensors across the globe. In 2022, and with increased 5G coverage, it is likely that the UK will move closer to a completely connected Britain, with millions more devices utilising the power of the internet of things.
Using what’s known as a fixed-IP SIM card, businesses can connect their devices to a centralised hub—perfect for remote monitoring and control. IoT is already in use by thousands of businesses, particularly in the manufacturing, transport and industrial sectors. The ability to connect their processes to an online platform greatly improves efficiency and helps reduce running costs.
6. More events
As the world gets back to some form of normality, events, gatherings, festivals and fates begin to open up again. Through the latter stages of 2021, we saw an increase in the number of events requiring broadband connectivity.
Event WiFi is often an afterthought, but with more cashless payments, and events having to introduce COVID measures such as card-only, having reliable WiFi is a necessity.
In 2022, as more events are being planned, our portable WiFi solution is already being booked for events months in advance. These boxes can be deployed anywhere in the UK and provide reliable WiFi signal to hundreds of devices across a 250m area.
7. Businesses moving to smartphones
In a traditional business setup, you might expect to see desks, with telephones on. These ‘desk phones’ have long been the standard form of communication for businesses—but they’re dwindling in popularity.
As more businesses work from home over the past year we’ve seen fewer and fewer businesses utilising these desk phones, instead opting for softphones.
Softphones are a direct alternative to a desk phone, and run using your smartphone, laptop, desktop computer or even tablet. With soft phones, your team can work from anywhere—as long as they have an internet connection. As you’d expect, this has become very popular, and in 2022, it is likely that we’ll see more soft phones in use than traditional desk phones.
8. Folding phones
Yep, folding phones. Productivity is at the forefront of most business decisions, especially new equipment or technology; “will this make my business more productive?”
Folding phones are not a new technology, they have been around for a few years now—but that is a good thing. Since Samsung released their Fold 1 in September 2019, there has been a dramatic race to release the best folding phone.
From the Microsoft Surface Duo 2, the Samsung Fold and Z Flip and the Huawei Mate X2, the folding smartphone game has kicked off this last 12 months—offering an exciting opportunity for the other big players, namely Apple, Google and OnePlus, to enter the ring in 2022. Whether these titans will release their version of a folding phone is yet to be seen, but we are excited to see the next generation of existing hardware.
9. Machine Learning and Ai
We’re not just saying buzzwords here—artificial intelligence is beginning to play a big part in the world of telecoms and communications.
Other software such as Google Ai is having a big impact in how we interact with our world, playing an active part in our everyday lives. While it is hard to predict the path that artificial intelligence might take over the coming year, in 2022 it is likely that more businesses will start to utilise it.
Whether you need an automatic receptionist, or just smart features for integration and software—machine learning and Ai might be the answer.
10. Better (and more) 4G
Just like we’re seeing 5G being rolled out across the UK, we’re also seeing 4G (and LTE) networks really step up their performance and capabilities. With increased coverage, capacity and even speeds—4G LTE is a strong alternative to fixed line.
Even though 5G is looming, the networks still need to have a robust 4G infrastructure in place for many many years. We expect to see the main mobile providers (such as EE, Vodafone and the like) to continue to invest in their 4G infrastructure, improving it for everybody and using it as a backbone on which to build the new 5G network.
There you have it, 10 telecoms trends that we expect to see in 2022. The last two years have been challenging for many people and businesses, and adapting swiftly has often been the key to success.
With technology and telecoms moving at a steady pace, we hope that the benefits they bring to businesses and consumers continue to be impactful throughout 2022 and beyond.