The market for unified communication (UC) is going through a period of transition because multi-modal interactions are rapidly becoming the norm. This phenomenon is being driven by not only new technologies but also the changing landscape of our workforce.
As millions of baby boomers go into retirement mode, a new generation of tech-savvy millennials are quickly filling the gaps and are expected to represent half of the global workforce by 2020. As a result, you can say that we will soon have a diverse workforce that’s comprised of both generation X and Y that have their own communication preferences and working styles.
The shift in the workforce makes it important for enterprises to adopt a UC solution that fuses together new technologies to meet the needs of a workforce comprised of multi-generational employees. It’s important because UC is what will enable staff to work effectively and cohesively both inside and outside of the traditional office environment.
UC is at the core of enhanced productivity
When communication is seamless across departments and multiple locations, it can quickly drive productivity. To achieve this, businesses will need to incorporate a UC system that helps support different communication styles by effectively integrating:
- Video conferencing
This approach also has the potential to further enhance productivity where everyone is working off the same cloud and can seamlessly communicate and collaborate in real-time, from anywhere in the world.
Technology challenges related to UC
A significant technological challenge is that UC will have to support contextual communication by ensuring the bidirectional transfer of information between several parties. This information will be communicated in a manner where all parties will be aware of the relational, environmental, and cultural context of each communication.
This context can be divided into three parts:
- Visual context (or what the end-users are doing with their devices)
- Physical context (or the data gathered from physical sensors, cameras, microphones, and thermostats)
- Big data and analytical context (or the insights derived from the data when its linked to a local database or cloud platform)
Another challenge is that, while this technology and a new approach to work can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line, it’s not always easy to achieve. Incorporating a robust UC system will require the integration of multiple platforms. As a result, you can often find yourself trying to resolve conflicts between various native technologies.
For example, a UC solution might have to incorporate technologies like a VoIP system, a video conferencing application and IM. But all these systems may have their own platforms and end points and sometimes these individual components won’t natively integrate or communicate with one another.
As a result, it’s critical for enterprises to adopt a complete UC solution that can address these potential integration problems. Often, when businesses just focus on the cost, they can end up with a cheap system where platforms and end points don’t communicate or correlate with each other.
To benefit from a seamless UC experience, companies will need to engage a UC partner that specializes in filling these gaps by building integrated solutions to achieve an end-to-end, turn-key solution that works as intended from day one.
When all UC functionalities are operational without conflicts, businesses save money in the long run as they can avoid operational costs (to patch up the system and make it work), missed sales opportunities, and lost productivity due to downtime.
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