The Future of Unified Communications Ties Into the Future of Work

Jim Machi
Senior Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, Sangoma

The benefits of Unified Communication systems have emerged front and center for businesses of all sizes. UC has enabled many businesses to keep going forward in this remote work environment, almost as if nothing had happened. Given the spotlight on UC now, and given many businesses have signaled that remote work, at least in some form, will remain a part of the company even when it’s time to go back to a physical workplace, many people are asking, “what’s next” for UC?

Let’s level set on UC before we get to that question, though. At the very least, UC should include presence and instant messaging capability as part of a mobile client who works on laptops and smartphones. And within that IM capability, there should be the ability to make phone calls on that client. And that client should not only be able to handle peer to peer phone calls for those on the client, but it should be able to handle phone calls from outside the enterprise network. In other words, the client should be able to take phone calls to and from your office phone number. Over the past few years, UC has also started to include screen sharing capability on the client and has started to include video conferencing and collaboration capabilities.

We also need to understand the requirements of a future workplace because that will drive where UC goes. The future workplace will certainly involve anywhere, anytime, borderless collaboration, and communications. Even before the pandemic, companies were reducing office square footage per employee.

And many companies are also exploring ways to be more socially conscious, including becoming “more green.” This can involve supporting a myriad of carbon offset projects or initiatives that offsets what your company is putting into the environment. And some companies are exploring more mandatory work from home scenarios as that creates less driving and fewer carbon emissions. Being able to help customers remotely would also obviate the need for truck rolls or plane trips to see them. Utilizing video, incorporating IoT for data information about your customer deployment, and utilizing AI to help analyze all that data would play a large role in this overall vision. Unified Communications systems’ ability to enable remote work, video, and potentially even tie into IoT communications is critical to realizing this overall vision effectively.

In other words, UC will need to enable more mobility, more collaboration, and more customer service, all while making it easier to use.

In next week’s blog, we’ll look more in-depth at the future requirements and how they might drive UC functionality.

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