Do SMBs want unified communications?


Where is unified communications headed? Will it eventually break out of the corporate space and attract the attention of business operators? If so, who will provide the service?

First there was IP telephony. It enabled large corporations to use their private network to share data and voice, mainly to cut costs. Soon after we started talking about unified messaging, getting all our email and voicemail in the same inbox. Then came unified communications (UC) which is easily described as … er, anyone got a quick answer to that one?

In this week’s Twisted Wire we hear that UC is so yesterday. Cisco’s Peter Hughes says we don’t call it that anymore.

Even though we seem to struggle with a definition (or name) for unified communications it continues to grow in strength. Telstra has recently launched a link between its IP Telephony solution and Microsoft Office. Telstra’s Philip Jones is excited by what it offers and where it can go in the future, but it is, of course, suited to larger businesses rather than SMEs.

Wherever UC goes there is the risk of confusing potential customers even further. Is the problem we seem to have in describing and quantifying the benefits of UC stopping it gaining ground amongst small business users? Ovum’s Evan Kirchheimer and Peter Hall say, because prospective customers don’t already have an IP system, mobile operators have an opportunity to fill this gap, substituting the fixed line phone with a UC-connected mobile device. It needs to be easy to understand and useful, of course.

Cisco’s Peter Hughes says he thinks it’s a long time before businesses get rid of their fixed line, saying we can expect more devices to be connected to a UC solution, not less. He points to this video as an example of how devices can work together.Tech Budgets 2019: A CXO’s GuideLearn where business leaders will spend their tech budgets in 2019 and what their top priorities are. Also get valuable advice for putting your IT dollars to good use.Sponsored by Google Cloud Platform

First published on ZDNet

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