Article contributed by InterCall, March 2011
2011 Predictions for Unified Communications
The realm of unified communications (the combining of conferencing, messaging and telephony so you can reach people and be reached more easily) is constantly evolving. To help you better manage your organization’s communication and costs, here are some 2011 predictions.
Smartphones allow us to pair faces, places and relevant information about people within our contact lists. In 2011, more information workers will be associating a name to contact people, empowering them to identify availability on the fly and delineate the most effective mode of contact—whether it’s instant message (IM), email, direct dial or conference call. These connections will be made in a faster, more accurate manner than ever before.
With the ability to see the speaker at the end of your line, as with the Polycom CX5000 (a video, voice and content conferencing system), ever increasing speed of cellular services and growing access to WiFi, meetings will share more emotion, attention and accountability. According to Cisco, meetings will last longer because of the increase in productivity.
There Will Be an Increased Focus on Presence
Presence, the ability to "see and be seen" (e.g. IM status updates: available, busy, away, on the phone, out of office, etc.), will be built into more and more applications as opposed to being a separate tool.
2011 Is the Point of No Return for the Cloud
Cloud computing in the year ahead, particularly as it relates to unified communications, is driving toward an adoption level that will soon make it mainstream in nature. Just as the economy has driven organizations to explore any viable means to save costs and better utilize IT resources, the cost savings and enhanced efficiencies that cloud-based collaborative technologies afford will become too great to ignore.
Mobile Goes to the Cloud
Extension of cloud-based applications to mobile phones will become a greater factor and more prevalent in 2011. Moving beyond just receiving emails on your phone, the prevalent adoption of smartphones will spur more enterprise application developments designed to improve and speed up everyday business practices.
Cloud Services Will Flourish within Remote Countries and Employees
As the price of the microprocessor falls, access to more intelligent software in the cloud and more powerful hardware will become available. This brings an opportunity to share information, technology and data faster across a wider array of users.
Tablet PCs Will be Used for Video Conferencing
Technology is constantly becoming more engrained in our day-to-day lives. With the trend toward tablet-based computing heating up, more and more video conferences will be held on tablet PCs (e.g. the iPad).
Video to Become the Key Driver of Unified Communications Implementations
Today, many room-based video systems are collecting dust between uses instead of being integrated into more collaborative and efficient, minute-to-minute business operation of the desktop environment. As video capability expands, with vendors such as Cisco/Tandberg, Microsoft and Polycom leading the way, these environments will become more seamless in both operation and management, closing a key gap in the unified communications space, making its strategic value even greater than it is today.