UC is making collaboration between companies, their clients and employees smarter, quicker and more efficient
BANGALORE, INDIA: A wide range of social, technological and economic trends are influencing the growth and adoption of unified communications (UC) solutions in 2012.
[image_library_tag 831/13831, align="left" title="Neeraj Gill, managing director, India & SAARC, Polycom" height="170" alt="Neeraj Gill, managing director, India & SAARC, Polycom" hspace="7" width="150" vspace="7" border="1" ,default]These include the use of high definition (HD) video technology for a more immersive, lifelike collaboration experience, acknowledgement of the need for Greener IT, greater awareness of the benefits of system interoperability, evolution of managed services and adoption of UC by SME’s alongside larger enterprises to manage time and costs in the face of tougher economic times.
The end result? UC is making collaboration between companies, their clients and employees smarter, quicker and more efficient.
Global value chains, remote and mobile workforces, social networking, pervasive video, and information overload: this is the new normal. Unified communications and collaboration are the key pillars in this networked ecosystem, helping integrate the enterprise communications structure to enable a better collaborative working environment, bringing productivity and quality assurance to a new level.
At the same time, it is important to remember that companies tend to gravitate towards the communications tools that help them effectively communicate and collaborate at a reasonable cost – return on investment is key.
Today’s enterprise is dynamic and constantly evolving – they are doing more with less, and providing services to customers at a time and place of their choosing. Collaboration in the new, evolved enterprise is about working on mobile devices and being on the cloud to enable anywhere, anytime, anyhow access. It is about integrating customers’ processes with your own and managing all of it seamlessly.
It is about empowering your own employees so that decision making is simplified and enhanced and time to market or service is reduced.
While employees have traditionally been limited to using the communication tools that their company provides, the last few years have ushered in new advanced consumer devices and online technologies. This has changed how employees expect to collaborate with colleagues and customers. Whether it is through instant messaging, social networks or video conferencing, employees are increasingly adept at exploring new ways of staying connected.
UC is one important way that ‘smart’ companies are enabling this collaborative ecosystem.
There are several key trends that are now enabling wider and quicker adoption of UC. Advances in consumer technology are compelling organisations to reconsider what tools they provide employees. Increased use of tablet and other ‘smart’ devices support a wide range of applications and serve many functions that previously required a PC.
In many areas, such as retail and healthcare, that require mobile employees have immediate access to data, tablets are a cost-effective means to help workers become more accessible and productive. Secondly, the swelling ranks of mobile and remote employees are driving organisations to adapt their communications infrastructure.
Cloud-based UC give employees the tools they need to collaborate and be productive anywhere, anytime. Finally, from a time where unified communications services were considered capital-intensive and were limited to large enterprise, services providers such as Bharti Airtel, Tulip and Reliance Communications now offer ‘managed’ services to smaller, SME clients who need such services to enhance productivity and competitiveness but prefer the op-ex, pay-per-use model.
UC should eventually mean seamless interaction across any medium, wired or wireless. True UC solutions must, therefore, encompass all forms of wireless, be it 3G or BWA (WiMax /LTE). As 3G and BWA networks are rolled out in India, it will help bridge the gap between broadband “haves” and “have-nots” and help spread the benefits of broadband connectivity to the SME and SOHO (Small Office Home Office) segments as well as consumers and also take broadband beyond the confines of the Tier 1 cities to Tier 2 and beyond.
As broadband becomes more ubiquitous, all types of applications as well as UC will certainly spread and grow along with the growth of the broadband network. We’ve only got to look at the growth of the mobile market in India in this last decade to get an idea of the potential broadband revolution that wireless broadband could unleash.
The author is managing director, India & SAARC at Polycom.