Top trends for businesses to watch for in UC
There are a number of trends emerging that all businesses need to be aware of and to actively start addressing to avoid being caught out. Most of these are gathering pace quite rapidly but are expected to hit hard over the next few years.
SIP communications – I’m not talking about the increase of SIP trunks over ISDN, no, although any business not looking at that should really start investigating it right away, I’m talking about SIP communications between organisations. I would estimate that nearly 80% of my communications using Skype for Business/ Lync are with other parties also using SIP. I communicate with internal colleagues, partner organisations, vendors and clients alike using SIP. I IM, use audio and video based calls, share documents and work on whiteboards all through SIP. I rarely dial a DDI number these days as for me it has limited functionality and benefit.
The use of video as a daily communications media is rapidly growing in popularity. Largely it is still seen by business as a tool for ‘special’ meetings, but this is no longer the case. Personal video functionality, as with that provided by Skype for Business and Lync, is rapidly being integrated with Room Systems and legacy VC technology. The desire to hold video calls is moving in to the workplace more and more. Don’t treat it as something to be kept for those meetings with ‘the powers that be’, unlock a better method of communication. An audio call only provides about 7% of the information compared is formed of the words we use (email and IM), an additional 38% is the tone of our voice (an audio call) and non-verbal communication accounts for the remaining 55% when we speak face to face. Whilst video is not perfect it is a massively improved method of communication over email, IM and audio. Your next generation of workers will expect to use video, don’t ignore it. (*Mehrabian’s Breakdown of face to face communications)
Off the back of the increased use of video comes video compliancy. If you open up video communications to partner organisations or clients, you should really start to treat it with the same level of compliance as you would any other medium like email or IM. This does of course bring challenges but there are suppliers out there already delivering this type of technology, don’t use it as a reason not to use video effectively.
The decline of handsets is something that comes up, and rightly so, in every conversation about UC. Do people really need handsets? No. Is the handset dead? Well, no not yet, but even in projects where clients have specifically asked for desk phones, those desk phones have ended up being replaced or becoming largely redundant within 6 months. Desk phones are not cheap devices. If you educate and support your users properly during the transition process you won’t end up wasting money on devices that won’t get used. Would you rather spend £100 on a Bluetooth headset that works for laptops and mobiles, or would you rather pay £300 for a desk phone and provide a separate device for mobiles?
The work/ Life balance doesn’t exist, it is the work/life blend. (See post from 25th October 2013 https://petevasey.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/the-work-life-balance-is-dead-long-live-the-work-life-blend/ ) Many organisations are now starting to understand this, they are starting to rethink the way they interact with their staff. Staff are being given SMART goals and are driven by results, not just being asked to attend the office every day. That said, a huge percentage of organisations aren’t seeing this juggernaut of change in working methods heading their way. UC is much more about changing the way people work and interact than it is the technology. The technology is merely the facilitator. Organisations that fight against the trend will find that their clients, partners and staff who do adopt it will soon be looking elsewhere to conduct their business. Imagine if you walked in to a company today who still worked the way they did in the 70s? How would you perceive that organisation and do you want people thinking that about you?
These trends are real and are very much working their way into business, it is not something that can be ignored for much longer.