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2014 Top UC Trends

Businesses continually need to improve productivity in order to remain competitive with other firms. This basic necessity has been one of the driving forces behind the developments in the unified communications field and has changed the way organizations and individuals communicate.

The four leading trends behind the innovations in enterprise communications are virtual workforce, consumerization of IT, new meeting experiences and the increase of desktop video.

  1. Virtual workforce: More companies and organizations are allowing and even encouraging their employees to work remotely.  Employees can work from their homes, an off-site office, or another location but they still need to collaborate and work efficiently with their colleagues.
  2. Consumerization of IT:  The consumerization of IT has been paving the way for a slew of disruptive technologies, and UC is certainly heavily involved.
  3. Ad Hoc Conferences: There is a notable increase in ad hoc conferencing across the industry. Ad hoc conferencing gives participants the ability to spontaneously jump on a call
  4. The increase of desktop video: Studies show that one in five Americans use desktop video (enterprise solutions, Skype, Facetime, etc…), and we can only expect this rend to increase. End users within organizations are requesting and in some cases, requiring desktop video to perform their job to the best of their ability.
  5. Cloud: Cloud is receiving a great deal of attention from manufacturers, service providers, VAR’s, IT staffs and purchasing departments.  While the largest users of cloud video are small companies today, the percentage of larger companies looking at and discussing a move to cloud video, continues to increase.

Additionally, instant messaging allows employees to work remotely and still remain efficient. Collaboration that allows users to multitask, such as sending a file while talking, sharing video or adding other individuals to a conference call with a single click, is in high demand in the workplace.

It is important to remember,with UC, a majority of the time it is not about a single product/manufacturer.   Solutions are made up of many different elements and components, from multiple manufacturers.  It is key to start a UC plan by first creating business goals that apply to what challenges you are trying to resolve.  The technical issues will follow, but the business drivers and challenges must be discussed and documented in advance.

2013 was an exciting time for UC, and 2014 looks to be equally as promising.  In my next blog I will discuss 2014 trends, which will include WebRTC newcomers such as Acano and Pexip, and managed services.

Jeff Holton, Vice President of Technology

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