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Will UC and Social Coexist?

on December 03, 2014

Today’s enterprise communication sector is adapting to a new situation where consumer grade social networking services like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are offering just as much flexibility as enterprise-grade solutions, like unified communications. Using social networking services like Skype, Facebook, and the like, employees are not only able to communicate using voice and video, but they can also share data across these platforms.  As such, an obvious question arises: how UC will sustain in an era where social networking has become almost ubiquitous?  Can UC and social coexist and if so, what will that relationship look like?

Today’s enterprise communication sector is adapting to a new situation where consumer grade social networking services like Skype, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are offering just as much flexibility as enterprise-grade solutions, like unified communications. Using social networking services like Skype, Facebook, and the like, employees are not only able to communicate using voice and video, but they can also share data across these platforms.  As such, an obvious question arises: how UC will sustain in an era where social networking has become almost ubiquitous?  Can UC and social coexist and if so, what will that relationship look like?

A recent article published in ITBusinessEdge.com discussed the relationship between consumer-based social networks and enterprise UC in light of certain new developments in the communications sector. There were some interesting developments noted that are worth exploring here.

Lync rebranded as ‘Skype for Business’    

In early November, Microsoft announced that it will rename its next version of Lync UC platform as ‘Skype for Business.’ While the announcement is being touted as “just a name change,” the coming together of these two applications is pointing towards a future where traditional UC will gradually meld with consumer services.

Unify announced Circuit (formerly Project Ansible)

Unify announced early this year that its next-generation communications and collaboration platform, called Project Ansible, is now renamed Circuit. Designed to go beyond the periphery of unified communications, this platform aggregates data and information across all channels including traditional voice communication, business applications, video, text, analytics, and enterprise social networking. Circuit has put Unify on the social collaboration map along with major players like Microsoft.   

Project Squared released by Cisco

Unveiled by Cisco in late November, Project Squared is a hybrid consumer/corporate platform that has a consumer service-like interface with ‘rooms’ where team members can join together, and documents and messages can be shared. Built strictly for the enterprise, “It’s not being marketed and sold as a consumer product, but people are coming to work with consumer sensibilities and we need to design with that in mind,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, vice-president and chief technology officer of Cisco’s collaboration technology group.

‘Facebook at Work’ slated to launch in January                    

With the social media giant turning its eyes to workplace communication, a lot is expected to change in the crossbreed landscape of consumer meets corporate. This application will, reportedly, allow users to chat with co-workers, connect with professional contacts, and share files and documents with team members.    

While getting employees to use UC platforms has proven to be quite challenging so far, the integration of social networking in enterprise collaboration might change this trend. Moreover, with the social media loving millennials joining the workforce, this might be the right time to combine social with UC for workplace collaboration. We’d love to know what you think about the consumer social aspects that are making their way into UC. Do you think they can co-exist?