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ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Agile Computing, WebRTC Summit

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

The Five Biggest Trends in Unified Communications (UC) | @CloudExpo #Cloud #UCaaS #Analytics

UC has the ability to help companies perform more efficiently, boosting productivity, profitability, and even employee morale

Thanks to the plethora of communication and messaging apps available to the average user, unified communications (UC) is becoming more important than ever before. UC is a set of products and services designed to give employees a uniform communications experience, integrating different apps and channels to a singular point of interaction. For example, UC might allow a transcript of a voicemail to be delivered to a recipient’s email, enabling a central communication location that comprises multiple mediums at once.

Overall, UC has the ability to help companies perform more efficiently, boosting productivity, profitability, and even employee morale. However, UC technology is always evolving, and if you want to stay informed with the latest in the industry, you need to be aware of the latest trends.

The Biggest Trends in UC
These are some of the most important trends to watch for as UC develops from here:

  1. Interoperability. UC is all about streamlining, consolidating, and making things simpler. When UC vendors try to limit the amount of information they’re willing to exchange with other vendors, or limit the types of apps they’re willing to integrate, it can be frustrating. Thankfully, most UC vendors are focusing on improving overall interoperability; basically, more UC vendors are working together to exchange more information, iron out more modes of compatibility, and make life easier for anyone using any of these vendors and apps. The end result will eventually be a greater range of choices for customers, and more potential for integration across multiple channels.
  2. Pricing reductions. Most technologies follow a predictable trend of becoming less expensive over time. This is due to a variety of factors, including the prevalence of production technology that makes it easier to produce, the increase of competition, which drives prices lower, and of course, the emergence of newer, better forms of technology that make older technologies obsolete. UC is no exception to this rule; new forms of UC are constantly emerging, and both they and older forms are gradually becoming more affordable for businesses.
  3. Ongoing chatrooms. Ongoing chatrooms are persistent applications that allow specified groups of individuals to post messages in real-time. These apps typically record the entirety of these conversations, making them ideal for discussing important developments as a group. They’re becoming more popular as a central medium for UC, thanks to their mutual accessibility, convenience, and public record-taking.
  4. Reliance on the cloud. Though the trend toward more cloud-based UC platforms has been unfolding for the past several years, it’s hitting a peak in 2017. UC solutions in the cloud offer third-party advantages tend to be more customizable and adaptable, offer more backup options, and are easier to access. They also come as a subscription model and are updated constantly, rather than requiring customers to pay more money for every new version that gets released.
  5. Streaming video at scale. Streaming video is becoming more important for video chats, presentations, and a host of other applications, but managing this amount of data at scale, for organizations with thousands of people, can be a nightmare. Fortunately, UC companies are working on ways to make this more feasible and cost-efficient, paving the path toward a streaming video solution that delivers a favorable ROI.

What Comes Next?
With so many communication channels available (and still more rolling out), and technology always developing, it’s hard to say where the future of UC lies. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are fast-growing as communication mediums, and may represent the future of workplace communication; if adoption rates are sufficient, they could represent entire new worlds of UC functionality. Still, it’s difficult to predict these developments reliably more than a year or two in the future.

For now, focus on planning for the preceding trends, and gradually improve how your workers communicate with one another.

More Stories By Larry Alton

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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