In keeping with last week’s mobile workforce theme and the buzz surrounding how the traditional workplace is changing, it’s only natural to broaden the discussion to unified communications as a whole.
The UC space is already growing at a brisk clip and there have been huge advancements. There has been significant evolution in video, file sharing, applications and conferencing, and more and more organizations are using applications in the cloud. Towards the end of last year, there were a few predictions floating around about the UC market for the upcoming year. Here are the top two:
- More organizations will adopt a hybrid of on premise and public cloud solutions.
- Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and contact centers will be a big focus for CIOs as they add unified communications solutions to their arsenal.
Both of these predictions are still in the beginning stages, but they’re steadily gaining traction. In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few of the other important elements in world of UC, where it is already evolving and where it needs to head in the future.
Streamlining and Unifying
Right now, the UC market is chock full of different vendors, hardware solutions and platforms. Most resellers work with a variety of manufacturers, suppliers and developers which often results in a mismatch of brands and hardware and software tools. These differences, however subtle, make things hard to navigate, create overly complex, non-collaborative silos and ultimately hinder productivity.
It’s time for the unification of unified communications. Everything is gradually becoming more centralized and simplified—single logins for all systems, similar tools and apps and principal interfaces for contacts, collaboration, email and chat and file and screen sharing—to name a few examples.
Converged Infrastructure – A One Stop Shop
Another UC and general IT trend is integrated infrastructure. Systems like these, often referred to as converged infrastructures, are essentially a one stop shop for IT capabilities as they combine compute, storage and networking capabilities with software layered on top. This is ideal for a UC-focused setting since vendors offer similar bundles.
This allows IT specialists to add on solutions and capabilities where and when it makes sense. A recent technical guide released by TechTarget explains that “this kind of system could work perfectly in the cloud as hosted PBX providers allow organizations to have a single environment for all their developer kits, from voice to video to mobile.”
The takeaway? The future of UC is most certainly going to be cloud-based.
The Mobile Workforce Strikes Again
UC isn't just one product, it’s a holistic solution that can include any number of things, such as email, instant messaging or web chat, voice calls, file sharing, web conferencing, online presence tools and more. The key in the UC equation is that it ties these elements together through an integrated platform that allows for instant and seamless communication over any device that connects to cloud-based applications and hosted data.
What does this mean? You guessed it – this integrated model connects employees so flawlessly that it allows them to be remote and productive from just about anywhere on the planet. Businesses that are enabling this concept and adopting technologies and solutions to empower their employees are ahead of the curve, making them a force to be reckoned with.
To Cloud-based UC and Beyond
Cloud-based UC has exploded and grown so quickly that it seems like only yesterday that it was just a pipe dream. Who knows what the next five to 10 years will bring?
To find out about ESI’s truly unified communications experience, call us at 855-213-4374 or visit our website.