For the first 95 percent of recorded human history to the present, communication was possible only face to face or in written form. Then, Mr. Bell revolutionized communication with the telephone in 1876. The next leap forward was the introduction of the cell phone in 1973. Since that time, the personal and business communication revolution has been gaining speed. What’s next?

Some trends that have been percolating on the sidelines for years will become mainstream; others will burst onto the scene more disruptively. Here are the trends that entrepreneurs are launching into and business owners are seeking to maximize for their benefit. Here are six top business communication trends you can expect to see in 2017.

Completion of Comprehensive Fiber

Sometimes called “fiber everywhere,” the push for it earlier in this decade exposed severe bottlenecking in infrastructure. This discovery was necessary and provided the motivation to the next phase of investment and development of the communication infrastructure.

FTTX, or fiber to the x, and FTTH/FTTC networks are nearing completion with resulting improvement in connectedness and capacity. In turn, this development is essential for HD video, 3G/4G, podcasting, streaming and broadband, and opens the door for the next communication trend in 2017.

5th Generation Mobile/Wireless

Verizon Wireless and AT&T are among carriers opening 5G networks this year for commercial communications. These networks continue to be tweaked for improved speed and capacity but early results are impressive. 5G networks include several upgrades over 4G including OFDM encoding which is a lot like LTE encoding but with lower latency.

The flexibility of 5G will be improved too. Among the hopes for 5G is that it will finally produce flawless integration of Wi-Fi and cellular networks and enable LTE data wirelessly.

Smart Homes and the Internet of Things

Why hasn’t this trend become the dominant form of communication it has the potential to be? One answer is too little collaboration among competitors that want to push their own technology rather than innovatively build upon the work of an established leader. With major players like Amazon, Google, Apple, Dell, Cisco and AT&T making big pushes with business communications IoT programs, the next steps should be taken more quickly than the first were.

The Offspring of Mobile and Office Phones

If there’s a safe bet, this is it. The smart office phone that will dominate the future takes the best from mobile and landline office networks without the shortcomings native to each.  The technologies will be fully integrated with your computer, mobile phones and other smart devices, so your “office” will go with you everywhere, and the complete wireless system travels too.

Most use cellular networks, so monthly line rental fees and local/long distance charges are replaced by packages. They allow you to send calls to the right office with the push-button ease of an office phone and to a distant location with cellular ease.  This trend will produce the end of the traditional landline office phone system, and its demise will be rapid.

Green Communications

Current communication technology accounts for as much as four percent of carbon emissions from humans, and that isn’t sustainable. Green communications has been a budding industry for years, but a major bloom is set to occur to reduce energy use from more than four billion fixed and mobile phones worldwide, the telecommunications infrastructure required to support them and the IoT and IoE headed for 50 billion devices in the next 15 years.

Business communications specialist are searching out and opting for energy-efficient communications and networking technologies and products, and this is becoming increasingly possible. The movement includes green data centers and green telecommunications networks which are on the rise in every part of the world.

Live Video

Getting face to face online is getting easier with every tech upgrade, and for many businesses, it is also getting more essential. In a world becoming increasingly impersonal, largely due to technology, the craving for personal contact is growing.

Expect to see a continued rise in digital face-to-face communication applications for talking with coworkers and customers. In regards the latter, face-to-face has the potential to dramatically improve sales, CRM and customer service. What will start as a nice benefit might become a consumer demand by the end of the decade.

Exploring the Future Today

If any of these 2017 business communication trends are unfamiliar to you, some research will bring you up to speed. Being knowledgeable will enable you to integrate those that are the best fit for your company at the time they will produce the best advantage.

Author: Philip Piletic is a freelancer, writer and traveler who loves to share his experience about business, marketing and tech. Thanks to Commander Centre for their help with this article.