- Enterprises should be excited about the potential benefits of UC – including BYOD and mobile device management (MDM).
- Enterprises should also remember that traditional IP telephony and networking services remain business critical.
I wrote in my last blog that unified communications (UC) services are now finally achieving critical mass, and that widespread adoption is expected in 2014. In response to this positive surge, the marketing teams at every major ICT provider will be in over drive to proclaim the most unified, most mobility-driven, and cloud-based proposition. And, as I write on Christmas Eve, there are reasons for enterprises to celebrate this advent. BYOD, as I have previously written, is both a security concern and a potential efficiency driver if handled correctly. MDM packaged with single number dialling and unified email and messaging and (probably) presence functionality is something that enterprises should now be looking to roll out to all mobile workers. MDM on its own should be applied to every worker within an organisation, and cloud/network-hosted delivery is the only way for most enterprises to achieve this.
However, as the hype threatens to sweep all before it, the ghost of technologies past should not be forgotten. UC remains to a large extent a voice proposition. IP telephony was the exciting new kid on the block a decade and more ago, but the time lapse does not mean that it has become irrelevant or obsolete in the shadow of UC and mobility. Furthermore, the majority of IP voice deployments out there remain premises based (IP) PBX solutions. The majority of customer contacts will be made via a fixed line call. Similarly, for BYOD, the most effective solutions presently available are those that seek to drive mobile connectivity over a WiFi connection, both for voice and data. UC itself is likely to remain an overlay service on top of primary IP voice solution for some time. Those enterprises looking at cloud-based UC are not necessarily considering replacing their IP PBX driven voice solution.
So what does this mean to enterprises who will be reviewing their communications estate in 2014? It means look at newer technologies such as UC, the potential to improve working practices really is there. However, less glamorous fixed services – LAN, WAN, access, SIP trunking, and ISDN – remain business critical components that should still given priority even as the market’s gaze is following UC’s star.