Not surprisingly, the latest business communication trends revolve around emerging technologies, as businesses seek new ways to communicate faster, better and more cost effectively with their customers and employees.
Here are 10 of the most notable trends in business communication today:
While email has been around for a while, email solutions for business now include such things as IMAP accounts, which allow you to check email from more than one computer; auto responders, which automatically send periodic emails to those on your business mailing list; and email archiving, which can be important for compliance issues.
These are now the preferred tools for most meetings, training and presentations. Microsoft PowerPoint is easy to learn and allows you to create interesting and informative business presentations incorporating charts, graphics, music and narration.
This allows two or more locations to communicate via two-way video and audio transmissions. Ideal for keeping geographically remote areas of the business in touch, video conferencing reduces travelling costs dramatically for businesses with more than one branch.
Smartphones offer businesses many advantages over traditional mobile phones, including greater data-handling capacity, faster and more reliable connectivity, instant reporting (i.e., digital camera for site inspections) and better organisation (diaries, reminders, contact lists, etc.). They even offer a new advertising platform via banner ads with clickable graphics.
There are new mobile applications for business being developed every day. Some of these include:
- Cisco WebEx, which allows you to attend meetings on your smartphone
- Microsoft SharePoint for mobile communication, file sharing and content management
- Salesforce Chatter, which allows team members to chat and exchange information privately (like an intranet Facebook)
- Basecamp, which provides a mobile collaborative platform for managing projects on the run
Apple iPads are becoming the tool of choice for many business employees, replacing laptops in many instances. They offer a light, portable means of accessing information and presenting to clients in the field, and Apple is developing a number of new apps exclusively for business users.
Most businesses are seeing the value of tapping into social media networks (Facebook has over 500 million users). As well as reaching new potential customers, businesses are using social media to communicate with existing customers in new ways (i.e., videos, blogs, fan pages, etc.).
This allows businesses to store and access data remotely, rather than on hard drives or company servers. It’s very flexible in that it allows you to access data from anywhere at any time, using a computer or smartphone and to work collaboratively on documents with others in multiple locations. Cloud computing provides unlimited storage space and offers substantial cost savings, as you subscribe to the software rather than buying it and only use what you need.
This stands for Voice Over IP and it’s proving a huge hit for businesses looking to reduce costs on phone calls. VoIP converts analogue signals to digital data, allowing phone and video calls to be made over the Internet for little more than the cost of a monthly connection fee. VoIP is revolutionising mobile communications and many companies are reporting savings of as much as 80 per cent compared with their former analogue accounts.