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Forecast for the Future of Unified Communications: Clouds with a Strong Chance of AI

In the past ten years, we have witnessed a tremendous evolution in business communication technology. The traditional PBX has evolved into an open architecture development platform with the capability to transform workforce communication and collaboration. Technology developments in bandwidth, speech recognition, cloud software and artificial intelligence (AI) have contributed to this growth, driving down costs while improving quality and reliability.

The future of unified communications (UC) lies in its ability to constantly evolve while adapting to and adopting new technologies. As the last decade has shown us, technology doesn’t stand still – and the pace of change is moving faster than ever. The immediate forecast, however, predicts that the following features and functionality will drive innovation in unified communications.

Collaboration Embedded Within the UC Suite

In the past, adoption rates of collaboration tools have been low because they required end-users to step out of their workflow to engage with the tools.

New embedded collaboration technology offers core solutions that span applications and browsers to provide seamless communication and place minimal burden on the computer network. Solutions are evolving to become a natural part of the end-users’ workflow with no disruption or changes to the way they work.

Migrating Unified Communications to the Cloud

The cloud is no longer just for storage, and as organizations gain confidence, migration to cloud services increases. The cloud is agile, built to scale, and secure. Plus, it saves on necessary bandwidth space, especially important for bandwidth-hungry unified communications apps and devices.

UX Blended into the UC Ecosystem

With technology becoming less of a differentiator, a great user experience will be an essential requirement for every UC product.  As people grow more comfortable with AI, voice assistant devices and other connected devices, UC solutions will blend more seamlessly into the environment, making them easier to use and making complex systems accessible to a wider audience.

The Move of UC to Mobile

Desk phone usage is declining, while smart phones are becoming a primary business communication tool for an increasingly remote workforce. In fact, many workers only use mobile devices.

Today BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) needs to be understood as part of enterprise mobility. Over time companies will take over BYOD management or will roll out some form of support for smart devices that are used for business purposes.

Analytics to Optimize the UC Investment

Increased insight leads to added value. As business analytics and reporting tools become richer, administrator confidence, loyalty and adoption will improve.  And a focus on network analysis will yield better application performance and help them optimize their UC investments.

Cyber Security For the Cloud

The use of personal devices in the workplace and staff logging into company databases from remote locations increases the risk of viruses or data breaches. The majority of UC platforms already incorporate data security and spam filtering tools to ensure the shared networks are secure. However, the focus must shift to how cloud infrastructures can be fortified against rapidly evolving cyber threats.

The landscape for the future of unified communications continues to evolve and when and how these predictions come to fruition will depend on many factors, but the promise will be worth the wait. The future of collaboration tools will allow productivity to flourish unhindered by physical or geographical limitations and result in an agile workforce that has intelligent tools for everyday business processes at their fingertips.

About Kelly Strain

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