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Gloucestershire Business News

The digital revolution is here: Rob Lister of Lister Unified Communications

In all his years working in telecommunications, managing director at Lister Unified Communications  Rob Lister has never known a time like it.

Rob and Tom Lister, directors

In all his years working in telecommunications, managing director at Lister Unified Communications Rob Lister has never known a time like it.

He believes a revolution is here and if we thought technology was dominating our lives already, then we haven't seen anything yet.

Superfast broadband and 5G are not just evolutions to what has come before, they mark a revolution in what is possible from technology, at home, in the office or on the move.

The way we work and play in the coming years will be shaped by mobile technology, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and the Internet of Things.

With 87 per cent of UK homes served by the internet and 79 per cent of adults using a smartphone, the nation is already relying on communications technology.

But we aren't settling for old download and streaming speeds.

The rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime means data consumption is increasing exponentially - the average person is using 240GB online and 3GB on mobile every month.

But it's only just the beginning, according to Rob Lister.

"In all my years in the industry, I have never known a time where there has been so much opportunity," he said.

"We have AI, VR and AR all enabled by 5G and superfast internet. We are in an era of the 'art of the possible'.

"This change is fundamental and far-reaching; it will never stop. It's going to accelerate and it can be a daunting question to a business about how best to adapt to the changes."

Using their knowledge, experience and the feedback they receive, Lister have ensured they are at the head of the queue in offering the right service to their customers.

As technology is improved and communication becomes easier - and vitally quicker - the stranglehold on what is possible will be released.

"Longer-term, success will depend on more than just the product," Rob Lister said.

"Customers want and expect businesses to be contactable 24/7, 365 days a year, and for a business to survive, their technology must be up to scratch.

"This means understanding and defining how ICT solutions will improve the experience at each point - for the user, the team, businesses and customers.

"And it's not a matter of choosing to change. The nation's copper network will soon be obsolete and that next generation infrastructure will be split between pure fibre and 5G.

"The government has been crystal clear saying just that and its target is to roll out full fibre infrastructure nationwide by 2025.

"We are in an era of ultra HD streaming, and developments are accelerating at a rapid rate. "Take a cloud-assisted car, for example. It's a vehicle talking to the one behind using an onboard computer - soon that computer can be removed from the car and put in the cloud.

"At present, data can be transferred between the two on 4G in around 90 milliseconds, but that's not good enough when you're travelling at 70mph.

"On 5G that will take just nine milliseconds, and suddenly the technology is usable and realistic."

Such is the speed of the revolution; it is estimated that there will be 20 billion IP devices - three for every one person alive on the planet - connected to the internet by 2025.

With every connection comes a need for devices to manage the connection and associated data and for it to be moved securely, quickly and with a full complement of latency requirements.

New industries and digital economies will spring up as a result as we all become accustomed to a new fully-digital era and ultimately there will be money to made in providing the skills and service.

"Customers will need new skills, in fulfilling the technology and the integration into their service delivery - so embrace that change despite the bewildering rate of uncertainties," Rob Lister said.

"The start point is ensuring you have the right internet access for your business.

"Whether that is 'big boy' Fibre Ethernet Circuits, Fibre to the Premises Broadband, Fibre to the Cabinet Broadband, 5G Mobile, or a combination of these for added resilience.

"This enables Cloud Services for your IT, CRM, VoIP Telephony and ever-growing trend for video calling.

"UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, has become key as organisations seek to gain a competitive advantage.

"The possibilities are exciting, but businesses should and must take steps now to make sure they are safeguarded against the threats that could result from increased broadband connectivity."

One of the end goals of the Digital Britain strategy is the planned rollout of a nationwide fibre broadband network, and businesses need to make sure they are prepared for the consequences.

More connections will be needed so that employees can log-on remotely, all of which will start to stretch networks as laptops and mobile devices with hundreds of apps need access.

All the access points and hardware will need to be protected, managed, secured and controlled. While the possibilities are endless, the risks and challenges are too.

Rob Lister added: "For example, if your teams work away from the office and are handling devices that contain sensitive data, these will need to be secured for both business and privacy reasons.

"Previously we might have looked at something like perimeter security. A barrier that you can put around it. A firewall that you can put around the organisation.

"You need more than that now. The walls have fallen down. You have to protect the streams and flows of information of the services themselves. That's another part of the challenge.

"Changing legacy technology can be seen as a burden, as your workforce may not feel as though they are ready for a business communication overhaul.

"By adopting a consultative approach for businesses and recognising the challenges they are facing, Lister Unified Communications can provide tailored solutions"

For advice on telecoms, data and IT services, call Lister Unified Communications on 01453 829 200 or email or visit

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