By Gary Forrest, CEO of Pure IP
As we reach the end of 2020, I have been reflecting on a year like no other. A year which has tested our resolve both as businesses and as individuals, and forced us to think differently about the way we work and live. Technology has been thrust to the fore once more and been applied in new, resourceful ways to overcome new challenges. When I think about our contribution as an industry to the global pandemic response, I could list numerous innovations, big and small, that played a part in keeping communications open between doctors, teachers, colleagues, and families.
From our vantage point as an enterprise voice provider, however, there were some changes and trends that stood out over the year.
The remote revolution
I would be remiss if I didn’t start with the most impactful trend of the year, and that is the rise of remote working around the world. The mobilization of millions from their desks in office buildings to living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen tables has, without question, protected countless lives and livelihoods, and providing some well-needed hope to the economy It has also given us all a new perspective on professional relationships, as we have had a glimpse inside the once-hidden world of our colleagues’ home lives.
The rise of Microsoft Teams
Enabling this move towards a ‘working from anywhere’-first mindset have been communication and collaboration platforms of all shapes and sizes. However, when it came to Unified Communications for enterprises, our customers overwhelmingly chose Microsoft Teams using Direct Routing to migrate their telephony to Teams. Based on our experience, Teams won because of its built-in security, integration with the rest of the Office suite and feature rich experience on both mobile and desktop.
Convenience, consolidation, and control
Organizations everywhere have also been seeking out voice services that help them consolidate their systems, simplify their operations, and reduce their overheads, without sacrificing any control. They need the convenience of cloud technology and outsourced management, as well as the agility and flexibility that comes with being able to order services without having to deploy on-site hardware. We anticipate this trend will continue in 2021 as enterprises replace their stop-gap measures with longer term solutions that enable remote work.
Accelerated migrations to the cloud
Migrating to cloud-based voice services has been on the agenda for many businesses since the announcements that PSTN and ISDN services will be retired in the coming years, and Microsoft will stop supporting Skype for Business in July 2021. These, combined with the benefits of cloud technology, are compelling enough reasons, however COVID-19 has led organizations to prioritize and accelerate initiatives that address these upcoming ‘switch-off’ dates.
Pure IP in 2020
I am pleased to report that Pure IP have stayed strong while we all weather this storm together. I am immensely proud of our team, who have met every challenge 2020 threw at them with ingenuity and grace, and will end the year with an impressive series of achievements behind them.
Our regional carrier specialists worked tirelessly to add full PSTN replacement services in two new territories; Malaysia and Bulgaria, to bring our total up to 40 countries this year. The Network Operations team had a very busy summer bringing our new data center in Amsterdam online to add further resilience to our existing global network; particularly for clients with a European presence. We were recognized by ITSPA as the Best Multinational Solution this year, and by Microsoft, who certified us as a Gold Partner. We prioritized cybersecurity with a renewed vigor, as newly dispersed remote workforces presented our customers with new threats, and I am pleased to share that our credentials have been endorsed once again with a Cyber Essentials Plus and ISO 27001 certification.
Above all, we were humbled by our customers’ continued support, grateful for the health and wellbeing of all of our staff and their families, and honored to play a role, however small, in keeping people connected, and employed, around the world.
Having faced circumstances that wrought havoc on so many lives, and emerged relatively unscathed, it has been our duty and our privilege to help those less fortunate than us. In perhaps our most important achievement of the year, the Pure IP team have raised over £28,000 for charitable causes around the world, mainly focused on fighting child hunger. And we haven’t finished yet; we are still donating to charity for every person that takes a quick break to play our online game.
With news of more vaccines being approved and rolled out every week, we are approaching 2021 with tentative optimism. Although we don’t believe things will ever return exactly to the way they were, we are hopeful that our lives will no longer be governed by this terrible virus. We look forward to sharing more of our predictions for 2021 with you soon, but for now, we would simply like to wish you a Happy New Year.
Stay safe. Wear a mask.