COMMUNICATIONS Pricing is no longer only competitive for very large

companies – it can be a couple of hundred pounds a month compared to approaching a thousand pounds a few years ago. Companies really need to be taking advantage of new

technologies and price rather than continuing with old policies. And, as said, it is one of the areas where there are savings

and improved performance to be had. And it is not just about pure speed or total focus on cost, it

is about achieving the right solution. Indeed, often the entire focus seems to be price, but I

recommend a company’s leadership should also challenge themselves to think about overall communication strategy. It needs to be digital and data-driven. Really successful telecommunications businesses such as A1

Comms have prospered by supporting companies’ ambitions and strategies. Years ago, phone technology was an optional extra. It was a

luxury and now it is very much a necessity. The speed of communication means that there is a window of working which is extended and businesses specialising in telecommunications can support non-standard working models, across time zones and across countries. This has seen an upsurge in small and medium-sized

entrepreneurial businesses – in fact, they make up 50% of our customer base here at A1 Comms and we like to think our Yappl network has this same entrepreneurial vigour. From our perspective, this has enabled us to partner with

Vodafone, O2 and EE to build the right business mobile solutions. Our choice of networks and tariffs allow you to mix and match coverage and pricing options all managed by one provider, one support team and one bill. We also work with new-technology providers, such as

CityFibre, which has a reputation for being disruptive and innovative. CityFibre was looking for local partners which have the same verve and we were delighted they chose us. This has given us the opportunity to provide the right

solutions in Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield to small medium and large businesses which will be able to emerge strongly from a difficult period for the global economy. We will help them to install leased lines and talk them

through the key stages while CityFibre is working on its network underground. Our aim is to make the thousands of businesses of each city

aware of the positive possibilities which this network provides to them. They will now have the bandwidth and connection power to

run video conferences which don’t embarrass the presenter because they will be able to appear polished and smooth. Indeed, we would say that the new network is the springboard to deals being done. Many of those most advanced tools are available as free

software online. It is very intuitive and very strong. The working environment has changed enormously over the

past three decades and the speed of change has ratcheted up over recent years. In retail, for example, even smaller companies have seen the

emphasis markedly shift from retail to online. This may scare some who have now become accustomed to

a fast-changing world but we at A1 Comms Business see it as an opportunity.

I don’t know what is going to happen next but the trend to

do more digital business will continue, transactions will continue online, the support will be there and businesses will want higher quality partners. It may mean rather than the traditional office environment,

we see more people working remotely and their face-to-face meetings become time to be more productive and creative. As for my crystal ball, the 5G technology is now being rolled

out and that is very interesting because it will bring connectivity levels which could change our lives markedly. For example, 5G is so powerful that it starts to enable brand

new business models and ideas involving artificial intelligence which will become supportable with 5G connectivity. 5G will not just allow people to connect seamlessly it will also enable machines and systems to also do so. A farm in the west country, for example, has its herd of 180

cows fitted with monitors recording movements and eating habits sending data via the 5G network to allow the farmer to predict illness and run the business more productively and save manpower with remote monitoring. Business models, self-driving cars and other artificial

intelligence technologies are constrained by a mobile network’s capacity but they begin to unlock those things and ideas are allowed to flourish. This is not fantasy – the next iPhone will have 5G capabilities.

This is a hugely important and exciting development. It is just about as far from phone operators and telephone

directories as can be imagined and businesses need to be grappling with it now otherwise they could end up being too late.

‘The working environment has changed enormously over the past three decades and the speed of change has ratcheted up over recent years’

70 business network April 2020

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