It’s a truth universally acknowledged (if not universally accepted), that in our post-industrial world, businesses are more likely to deal in services and information than physical things.
That’s not to say that product-led businesses are unimportant these days – far from it. Rather, it’s to underline that for many organisations, the greatest current logistics challenges today relate to the management of communication channels and data, rather than boxes and crates.
This, of course, is where unified communications (UC) comes in. At SIPCOM, we’re naturally going to be enthusiastic about the collaborative, flexible and agile possibilities of consolidating channels like voice, email, instant messaging and video.
But it’s worth thinking even bigger, and considering how some of the technology trends of the moment are shaping uptake of UC solutions.
Back in 2011, Tom Nolle laid out in Techtarget his predicted five key drivers for UC adoption. They included the transition from a focus on voice to instant messaging and video, as text-happy millennials joined workforces, and the increasing importance of mobile internet. In short, he predicted how consumer technology innovations would drive and shape corporate uptake of unified communications.
So let’s turn to some words on the lips of countless technology analysts and journalists: the Internet of Things (IoT).
Techtarget provides a useful definition of the concept, whereby any object, person or even animal can be assigned an IP address and ‘provided with the ability to transfer data over a network.’ This definition also underlines how the Internet of Things removes the need for human-to-human or even human-to-computer interaction – in other words, it’s making dramatic alterations to how traditional communications take place.
Sure, it’s not a brand-new idea, but with the IDC claiming that the 25 billion devices currently connected to the internet represents only 1% of total devices, and Cisco predicting that figure will double to 50 billion in the next five years, it seems that we’re truly standing on the cusp of an IoT explosion.
And in terms of unified communications, the IoT is a game-changer.
Unified communications began life as way of consolidating and simplifying business phone systems, and voice has remained central to how it works, even as additional communication channels are added. One way in which the IoT is so significant as a driver of UC uptake is the potential for it to shift focus away from voice, to embrace communications as the hugely rich and diverse package of possibilities it really is. Through the Internet of Things, unified communications can become a solution that manages access to buildings, monitors the health and wellbeing of a workforce, or even helps customers at a shopping centre park their cars.
Moreover, unified communications solutions are all about consolidating and simplifying myriad channels – making the complex simple. That’s already important when corporate contact centres are dealing with multiple social media platforms, emails, phone calls and more – but the Internet of Things could make that landscape a thousand times more complex.
In this new era of complicated connectivity, unified communications systems will be more important than ever before in providing businesses with clear interfaces to access the information they need and ensuring that all connected devices and channels speak to each other. The cloud will become increasingly important in providing a scalable flexible and low-cost storage solution for the vast amount of data generated. It’s a complicated picture – but a hugely exciting one.
To make sense of this complexity, and truly harness the potential of the Internet of the Things for your business, you need to work with a unified communications expert. Speak to SIPCOM today to start exploring how UC and the Internet of Things could work together in your organisation