Collaboration: A transformation in Unified Communications
By Tom Morgan, and Founder and CEO,
The Unified Communications space is a constantly developing and transforming industry. The very term ‘Unified Communications’ is quickly being overtaken by the term ‘Collaboration’ in terms of combined technologies for communications and collaboration of employees, where Unified Communications is more commonly being used to describe telephony systems with some added communication features, Collaboration is the term for video centric technologies with the addition of chat & voice. All of these technologies are being hit by the biggest trend, Cloud; which is finally maturing.
“IOT is going to disrupt the industry and cause a lot of providers to either open their platform to develop across any and everything that can be assigned an IP address or lose their market share.”
In the next 6–12 months the industry is going to change dramatically as it already has in the last 12 months. We are going to see much more focus on combining all of your communications technologies so they can work together as one collaboration network. There is going to be much more understanding of the positives and negatives of cloud which will push providers to change up
their current models. IOT is going to disrupt the industry and cause a lot of providers to either open their platform to develop across any and everything that can be assigned an IP address or lose their market share. Cisco has emerged as one of the leaders at the forefront of integrating IOT into their newest collaboration offering Cisco Spark which allows for heavy API integration to allow any IP addressable device to utilize it in some way. Cisco demonstrated a transparent mirror with an LED panel behind it which displayed data from a Spark Room.
Many would say that focusing heavily into the cloud would be a big opportunity but it’s important not to put all your eggs in one basket as there is a lot of acquisition and changing landscape among the cloud. Making sure you have an investment in IOT is important as more and more devices become addressable on the network and this will definitely become an expectation of end users. The role of hardware will always exist, don’t undermine your hardware and become too hyped up in the mindset that cloud is everything; there’s only so much that $50 webcam on your desk can do!
Skype for Business interoperability is a key concern on the minds of management. The investment is there and seen as crucial for desk to desk communications but the hardware that Microsoft provides leaves a lot to be desired when compared to Cisco and Polycom. Cisco has acquired Acano to introduce their CMS platform to combat this, while Polycom allows for direct registration to SfB servers for their devices.
The major challenge in this industry is the constant change which is often only a challenge due to existing mindsets. It’s important to adapt to the technologies as they change and this can be challenging to a workforce that needs to constantly invest in training on new technologies and developing policies and procedures that can adapt to the different ways of doing business without negatively affecting the existing success of the way things are currently being done.