Unified communications is becoming very popular with consumers because of the way that it streamlines different methods of communication into one easy platform. As technology develops, so does the way that unified communications systems are designed and deployed. These trends in unified communications are indicative of ways that the field should develop in the future:
1. Support For Mobile Devices
Smartphone and tablet use is on the rise, and it looks like it will stay that way. Forbes says that in 2014, businesses will continue to benefit from the rise in applications and cloud-based systems that can help employees work from anywhere. Look for unified communications providers to continue to offer support for a wide variety of mobile devices as a tactic for gaining a larger share of the growing mobile sector of the enterprise.
2. The Cloud Growing Its Market Share
InformationWeek’s 2014 survey on unified communications showed that while unified communications plans are still deployed overwhelmingly more internally than they are on the cloud, the disparity is much smaller when it comes to hybrid setups. Also, 17% of companies that are deploying a unified communications system in the next two years are unsure about whether a cloud or on-site model would be best for them, which could lead to growth in the amount of such platforms deployed on the cloud.
3. Improved Security
There have been several major news stories about cybersecurity attacks causing the loss of consumer data; first was Target’s breach during the holiday season of 2013, which cost the major retailer $148 million. More recently, hospital systems and websites with vulnerabilities have been targeted by cyber criminals. It is a good bet that unified communications developers will take measures to improve security in the coming months.
4. WebRTC Integration
Web Real-Time Communication is a protocol for communication between web browsers without the need for a dedicated application. WebRTC is still in its early stages, but many are predicting that it could have a drastic impact on the telecommunications industry. Scott M. Fulton, III wrote recently that WebRTC could be a threat to the voice plans offered by major cellphone carriers. Unified communications providers may be some of the first to hop on the WebRTC bandwagon because of the way that this technology could impact web communications.
5. Better Customer Service
As unified communications continues to see growth in its usage, look for unified communications platforms to begin to show up in customer service departments of different kinds of companies. A good example of this can be found in Amazon’s MayDay button, which allows users to press a button to initiate a video chat with a tech support representative. Will Oremus at Slate wrote that Amazon’s MayDay button could be the future of tech support because of its ability to instantly connect users to support technicians.
Unified communications should continue to see growth along these lines in the coming months and years, which will help companies collaborate and share information more effectively than ever before.