Reflecting on digital innovations in telecommunications

Every May, we celebrate World Telecommunication Day. This year, the theme is Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development. There is no industry that remains untouched by digital innovations. The internet has revolutionized franchising, making entrepreneurial dreams a reality and expanding the organizational reach of thousands of businesses, some on a global scale.


How businesses communicated before the internet

Before the internet, businesses would communicate with suppliers and customers primarily on a face-to-face basis or over the telephone. Contracts and other documents requiring a signature were handled in person, by mail, or in some cases, by fax.

Businesses couldn't use flashy internet ads or social media campaigns to attract customers. Instead, they had to reach out to them through radio or television ads, cold calling and direct mail campaigns. They had to catch their audience's attention with clever words and appeal to them without the use of influencers. Traveling to their target audience was an expense that many businesses could not afford, limiting their catchment area to their immediate locality.

For business owners, this meant that franchising their business and establishing franchisees in other areas was a valuable way of expanding their footprint and raising their profile. Although the effort involved was great, when the product or service was good enough, the returns were often excellent.

There were advantages to these ways of working, including a reduced fraud rate, but the costs were considerably higher, geographical constraints limited the ability to seek value for money, and it was much harder for small or niche businesses in particular to expand their reach.


Rolling in the changes

Internet use only became widespread in Canada in 1995, and since then, its use has snowballed to the point that we couldn't imagine life without it. Indeed, the young entrants starting work now have never known life without it!

Growing from a simple network-based email system to delivering search functions and eventually expanding its use case to enable the hosting and sharing of data, text, images and videos, it is the greatest revolution of our time and has helped Canadian franchises make themselves known, attract new franchisees and customers, and expand their footprint across Canada - and for some, worldwide.


Sustainable development

The internet is here to stay, and it will continue to help businesses grow and profit. Have you considered how you use the internet and how you can protect yourself and your customers from cyber crime, comply with regulations, and deliver positive environmental outcomes?

This month, take the time to reflect on the changes that have occurred in the field of telecommunication in recent history and consider your own business's digital strategy. Are there efficiencies available to you, ways in which you can increase your digital resilience, and measures you can implement to achieve greater sustainability in the future?

You never know; you may find that adopting a defined telecommunications strategy will deliver outstanding business results.