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As we’ve highlighted in recent articles, the unified communications (UC) landscape is rapidly changing. The emergence of new, flexible IT delivery models have transformed how end-users embrace and consume UC applications.
One of the most disruptive elements is Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS). This point is echoed by Nemertes Research’s recent Enterprise Tech Benchmark, which found that 65% of companies already have at least one unified communications application deployed via the cloud; the top choice being web conferencing. This is not surprising, nor is the fact that one in three enterprises have migrated to a cloud-based email or calendar platform.
The cloud is consuming legacy unified communications solutions at a rapid rate, mainly due to the cost savings on offer. The ability to scale services, speed up adoption of new features and reduce costs via operating expenditure models are all having a significant impact on IT strategies.
Essentially, collaboration is becoming easier and the rise of intuitive tools aimed at replacing traditional communication methods – i.e., email – are drastically affecting how employees choose to work. We have seen this firsthand ourselves, both within avsnet and from our customers, who are combining disparate messaging, file-sharing, video and audio applications with simple, yet powerful integrated tools.
Another trend is social-enabled unified communications functionality. Activity streams have been proven to strengthen employee collaboration. Virtual meeting spaces are particularly helpful when coordinating actions within specific business projects. This is leading workers to abandon their static office workspaces for more collaborative working models. The development of WebRTC standards only adds to unified communications’s impact on businesses.
Equally critical is the bringing down of unified communication technology silos. System interoperability is still an issue in some cases, but technology vendors have become much more effective at delivering open products that can be easily integrated. Mobile and remote working is also driving this aspect of change.
Finally is network security. IP-based equipment, employee behaviour and more sophisticated threats mean it is now critical to ensure that unified communications solutions are compliant with IT security policies and integrated effectively.
It is likely that the industry will evolve at the same pace the next 18 months, especially with the EMEA market predicted to continue growing impressively, which should lead to more new trends revealing themselves.