What Are Communication Technologies?
Basically, you’re talking about all the software and hardware, the equipment and programs and applications and integrations, that combine to make communication possible in the world of business. And with ever-increasing processing power, internet speeds, 5G wireless networks, and the like, business communications will continue to evolve at a breakneck pace.
Here are some of the major types of communication technology that people are turning to today.
Examples of Communication Technologies
The foundation of conversational commerce is based on tried-and-true strategies — having a conversation and thinking customer first. Using mobile communications — especially texts and chats (more about chat later) — consumers can connect with a store associate, ask about options and inventory, and make the purchase, whenever and wherever they want.
Conversational commerce, a relatively new communication technology that lives in the intersection of ecommerce and social media, empowers businesses to reach customers on their favorite social channels and deliver engaging, frictionless, multichannel shopping experiences with a personal touch, turning conversations into sales.
APIs (application programming interfaces) are software “building blocks” that developers can easily include within their own applications — without having to code themselves — to provide sophisticated functionality, like real-time video, voice, messaging, and verification communication flows.
The best communications APIs make it easier and cheaper to build complex features into apps, websites, and other frequent digital destinations for your customers and employees. You can put rich customer conversations at the heart of the journey by integrating the right moments of communication across every channel, everywhere.
Artificial Intelligence, in at least a rudimentary form, dates back some 70 years. And it has grown to be a useful tool that more and more companies are comfortable using in their day-to-day operations.
Businesses can employ AI to enrich each customer conversation, across voice, video, SMS, apps like WhatsApp, and other social channels, using Vonage AI, major AI engines, and many specialist AI vendors. Contact centers can leverage the latest AI technologies to add self-service capabilities, as well as dynamic routing before the call, agent assist during the call, and analysis after the call.
Although AI requires a large amount of data to be most effective — which can sometimes limit its usefulness in communications where bandwidth and power can be limited — it should continue to be a handy option in the communication engineer’s bag of tools.
While real-time online chat has been around since the early days of the internet, it’s experienced a resurgence in recent years for business communication, particularly for customer support. Interacting with businesses through live chatbots and video chat has spiked since the arrival of COVID-19, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. Customers use live chat to get answers, check on orders, file complaints, and more — and that can build stronger, long-term relationships with your brand.
Of course, like phone support, chat support is synchronous, meaning the customer and agent have to be available at the same time to communicate. If one person leaves, the chat session is terminated forever. Messaging, on the other hand, more closely resembles a text message or social messaging exchange, where customers and agents get the best of both worlds: they can respond immediately, or in a few hours, or even after a few weeks.
Social Media Platforms
You see them on the street. In the food court. At the airport. In line at the DMV. Everywhere — people looking down at their phones, scrolling through their social media feeds.
From Facebook to LinkedIn, Twitter to Instagram to WhatsApp, social media has captured the hearts and minds of a huge number of people — and that’s good news for businesses. These communication technology channels are a perfect way to reach customers with personalized special offers, product news, birthday messages, loyalty program updates, customer service responses, and more. You can also do things like establish your brand as a thought leader, share content from a blog, or partner with influencers.
Live video is a communication technology that has responded to an explosion in consumers’ needs for immediacy and authenticity, and to the growth of distributed workforces.
Customers have found live video to be a valuable way to consult with their doctor, attend a class, tour a home for sale, shop for the perfect new shirt, and much more.
And for businesses, a key benefit of removing the constraint of a physical office means there's a wider talent pool from which to hire. Many workers place a high value on flexible working — in fact, 35% of candidates have declined a job offer due to a lack of remote work.
Sophisticated conferencing technology helps workplaces communicate across long distances. Today, conferencing technology tends to use live video with features like 360-degree cameras that automatically detect who is speaking, then display the current speaker’s face, alongside complex speaker systems that allow anyone in a room to speak clearly to people on the other end of the conference call.
And, of course, screen-sharing, real-time virtual whiteboards, and other collaborative tools make remote brainstorming with a group even easier and more effective.
I know what you’re thinking: Email is a leading communication technology in 2022? Yes, it is.
While email has been around since at least the 1970s — the first email using the "@" symbol to direct the message to the correct servers was used in 1971! — it makes this list because of its continuing relevance today. According to Vonage’s most recent Global Customer Engagement Report, nearly 50% of people still prefer to reach out to businesses through email.
From smart watches to fitness trackers to smart glasses (and beyond), more and more people are donning wearable tech. And many of these items open new avenues for businesses and consumers to connect and converse. For example, smartwatches have advanced to the point of being minicomputers, allowing customers to have many of the same interactions with businesses that they have via their smartphones.
Wearables can also help a company in the workplace, boosting productivity by monitoring employee safety, or reducing healthcare costs by encouraging healthier lifestyles.
When you hear the word podcast, it probably brings to mind obsessive examinations of old murder cases, or maybe incisive discussions across the political spectrum. But many brands today are using podcasts to present themselves as thought leaders for a highly targeted audience around the globe.
Podcasts are simple and relatively inexpensive to produce. They add a human touch that advertising or blogs often can’t match. They make it easier for customers and prospects to understand a brand’s values and how they do business. Regular podcasts with accurate and relevant information can establish a company as an authority in their industry.
Plus, because podcasts, unlike radio, are transmitted through the agile and feature-rich internet, they offer the flexibility of downloading at-will, rather than forcing people to tune in at a specific time.
How to Get Started in Using Communication Technologies for Your Business
For starters, find the right communication technology provider. A smart, integrated communications platform for voice, messaging, video, integrated business applications, and AI can help to drive your employee and customer engagement strategies.
Vonage offers a full range of communication technologies — unified communications, APIs, contact center solutions, conversational commerce, and more — to optimize business outcomes and customer experiences. To learn more, contact a Vonage representative today.