Future of telecoms focused on growth

The opportunities in the telecoms space are only set to increase throughout the rest of 2021 and beyond, according to Sure’s Group CEO Alistair Beak. He looks back on a start to the year that continued the themes of 2020 but highlighted the power of communication, and forward to an even more digital future for the Channel Islands & Isle of Man.

It will have disappointed many that 2021 began in much the way 2020 had ended. In Jersey, continued restrictions saw many continuing to work from home and social interactions still limited. In Guernsey things seemed to be going well until the island was placed under its second strict lockdown in late-January.

Despite this, there was a sense of optimism among Channel Islanders as the vaccine breakthrough represented the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. Furthermore, islanders continued to pull together to do what was best for our island communities – something that I witnessed every day among the Sure team, who worked tirelessly to keep businesses and people online and connected.

We don’t yet have the distance to properly reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic, but when we do I suspect that one of the things we’ll look back on with pride is our community spirit, which was truly humbling.

Reflecting back further

In Guernsey, we’re looking back even further than the first half of this year as we mark 125 of telecoms in the Bailiwick, since the States of Guernsey voted in favour of an independent telephone system in 1896.

There are some amazing stories from our island’s telecoms past – from building the first networks, to being cut off during the Second World War, to using the internet to disseminate information quickly during the pandemic – but what struck me the most was that innovation has always had a home in Guernsey.

We truly have been at the forefront of technology on numerous occasions and that reflects well on the Bailiwick and its people’s appetite for staying connected and moving forward.

2021: more connected than ever

The start of 2021 reinforced that we are all going to have to embrace different lifestyles. Arrangements that many hoped would be temporary seem to be here to stay, and that’s what’s occupied much of our team in the first half of this year.

More and more businesses are speaking to us about how to make their operations fit for flexible and remote working. Whatever level of flexibility you now have in your workplace, technology will be vital to make it all work. More often than not, that means a unified communications solution is the answer.

Secure access to cloud-based business systems such as phone software have kept businesses communicating for the past 12 months. This is just one example of a unified communications system that not only keeps your business connected to partners and clients but improves the morale of your team by allowing them to work anywhere.

Looking forward

Unified communications, using applications such as Teams; cloud storage solutions; and internet voice services have all proliferated wildly over the past 18 months and mean that we’re now more connected than ever.

Looking to the future, we only see our lives becoming more digital and people being more connected. The pandemic has advanced adoption of technology considerably and new technologies are being developed to evolve this connectivity.

For Sure, we’re running a fibre to the home trial in Guernsey to assess what the island’s digital future could look like. Alongside our ongoing investment programme in mobile infrastructure, under-sea connectivity and innovative products across the Channel Islands, this means we’re looking at a future that’s even more connected than today.

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