When looking at the history of network architecture, video and voice were separate services. With them both becoming part of the network architecture, the landscape of how we communicate business to business, employee to employee was radically changed.
We now engage daily using these extremely comprehensive communication systems, internally and externally using, voice, video, email an instant messaging. However, the world of networking and technology is evolving and shifting into new directions. This is having an impact on our Unified Communications services. UC cannot and is not going to be left behind, with the evolving technologies, UC is jumping on board and making that gear shift up to meet the demands.
Mobility – Is the end nigh for endpoints?
There is the thought that actual desktops phones and PBX’s will all eventually be replaced with software. Already there is a decline in these physical endpoints, with businesses wanting to become more mobile and not feeling the restriction of being tied to one place. There are those businesses who feel that although declining, there will always be a need for an endpoint in some capacity and are still very much in demand.
How many people give out their home landline as a form of contact? ‘What’s the best number to get you on?’ The mobile number is given out as a primary contact, we like the fact that we are ‘mobile’, and we are contactable wherever we are.
Everyone leads busy hectic lives, always on the go and not constantly chained to our desks. Yet we expect to be able to access our emails and messages when we are out and about. The demand for mobility is of paramount importance to us and a given expectation. We always feel the desire to stay ‘connected’ and businesses now put that expectation in place for their employees. Not only are businesses encouraging ‘BYOD’ (Bring Your Own Device) into the workplace, but schools are beginning to adopt that attitude too. The Internet has become an Internet of Things (IoT), as more and more mobile devices are developed.
Increasingly we are hearing the term ‘flexible’ working, with ‘home-based’ working options, freelancing roles to be able to dip in and out as your heart desires. There is a need for a ‘work’ and ‘life’ balance, which with the sheer volume of mobile devices available, employees can keep abreast of work projects and communications without being office based.
With such mobility demands, the UC services solutions need to seamlessly integrate mobile devices into the network for optimum collaboration and easy communication. Vendors are already creating products that allow mobile devices to access the business network.
Hybrid Cloud adoption is increasing at a remarkable rate. With its agility, adaptability, enhanced security, most tech savvy businesses are using the cloud in one form or another. The cloud was predominantly seen as a tool for storage however, many different Cloud solutions are available for all different types of communication. For those who have still not embraced the cloud, Unified Communication is a good place to start. Looking ahead, it may be that eventually, this is the only option available.
Many ‘start-up’ businesses will use cloud-based communications. Making part of the office set up easier by using a one-stop shop for everything comms related. Cloud options are also available for businesses that already have their infrastructure and communications in place but are looking for a way to enhance their current set up.
With more and more businesses operating with ‘remote’ workforces, the need for employees to communicate and collaborate with teams located globally is a necessity and a challenge. In order to maintain working relationships, project deadlines, team data, information, documentation, tools, updates etc, Unified Communications makes this possible.
Naturally, there are businesses that already have certain tools on board, so the need for collaboration options that will integrate with their current set up seamlessly will need to be available.
Smart UC and influence of AI
AI used to be a subject of science fiction but AI and automation progressing to the level that it has, these will be powering the rise of the more intelligent meeting room. Within a 3-year space, it is expected that the use of video, whiteboards and mobile sharing within the meeting room environment will become part of our everyday normal working lives. AI may also see the replacement of voice calls with virtual assistance and bots. Increasingly we are coming across this use of technology and some foresee that we may find ourselves with virtual AI assistants responding for us.
The success of UC lies in its ability to evolve with the constant evolution of technology. With all the breakthrough success with voice recognition, cloud and AI, the capabilities of UC are far-reaching and are enriching the workplace environment. Although there is the cybersecurity aspect to think about and UC can be vulnerable to security breaches, UC providers are creating a platform which fully encrypts and protects business’s information. UC platforms are now beginning to adopt this and have incorporated various tools protecting data and filtering spam to ensuring that the network remains protected.