What's next for Unified Communications?

As UC adoption further gathers pace IT leaders need to look ahead

By Jon Seddon, Head of Product


As UC adoption further gathers pace IT leaders need to look ahead and assess what might come next and how early adoption could help sustain their organisation’s competitive advantage. Outsourcery’s Head of Product, Jon Seddon explains;
 
“UC began as a way of bringing telephony onto the desktop to give users easy access to email, instant messaging and conferencing, but this has now become the minimum standard expected of a UC offering. Modern UC products are actively following us in our busy mobile working lives, which started as just giving us mobile clients, but has resulted in seamlessly transferring conversations from the desktop to our mobile and back again as we move in our environment.

This has been facilitated by the the ever-increasing computing power in our pockets, the arrival of BYOD and the ubiquity of 4G connectivity. It has also been reliant on the ever-increasing pace of software change as the large providers begin to deliver incremental but significant changes in their products and interfaces. Delivering these platforms from the cloud has leveled the playing field enabling the small business to enjoy the same robust communication tools as the enterprise.”
 
Seddon has assessed how the next generation of UC solutions may differ from what UC has offered in recent years. He explains;
 
“There are obvious changes that will happen such as the price of entry will continue to fall and levels of interaction between applications will provide for richer user experiences, with users benefiting from more processing power and network bandwidth. Examples such as healthcare, where UC is being used to aid remote diagnosis or in the legal sector to provide the same level of compliance for document review by using touch and video technologies. UC began as an internal IT system and has grown into a B2B collaboration tool. The next generation of UC will move further along into the consumer technology space.”

Within the whole UC industry, we are seeing ever-greater specialism with custom applications and technologies being brought to bear.
Jon Seddon, Head of Product at Outsourcery

Seddon believes that the real focus of next generation development will be in driving even greater collaboration. He said;
 
 “Collaboration will be driven by technology – today we can share a PowerPoint presentation, but with the advent of technologies such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and virtual reality we could soon be sharing immersive experiences and ones in which the viewers interact with their environment – an architect showing a building concept for example.
 
People aren’t actively sharing additional personal content – we’re not posting Facebook type information to our work colleagues, but we are now much more comfortable with colleagues knowing what we’re doing if there’s a genuine benefit to be had, e.g. setting our presence information to ‘on the train’ to let our colleagues understand that voice communications may be patchy, but instant messaging will work fine. Small incremental changes will be the way forward here – we may choose to show location information to those we’re about to attend a meeting with, so they know we’re “about 10 minutes away”, but we’ll be choosy and not share this all the time. Software will need to keep up with the evolving comfort level of the user.”

In conclusion, he added; “The key for IT leaders will be to ensure that they are forward scanning product road maps. It will be important to pick a solution like Skype for Business that offers confidence of keeping pace with evolving user needs and working with an IT partner that can tailor an optimum solution for your organisation.”


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