With Artificial Intelligence, GDPR, and APIs being most talked about in 2018, what are some of the trends we can look forward to in the Unified Communications (UC) industry?
As expected, there is greater demand in remote communication. Findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit concluded that an employee’s ability to work from any location and at any time has the greatest impact on productivity and work satisfaction. Given this push for greater mobility, the growth in virtual and remote workforce will increase the burden for team leaders and managers to keep their team abreast on information, engaged, and accountable. Hence, remote collaboration and communication tools such as Office 365 and Microsoft Teams would play a central role in ensuring the efficiency and success of such teams. We can also expect to see such teams being empowered by Virtual Assistants such as Cortana as part of an integrated communication solution.
A direct result from the rise of remote communications is the exacerbation in the death of private branch exchanges (PBX) and the dominance of personal smart devices for business communications. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is not a new trend to employees, but from a company’s standpoint, device agnostic capabilities delivered by apps such as Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams provide the flexibility needed by their employees, while also enabling the ease of scalability for the company. These apps, together with the modularity offered by application programming interfaces (API) – known as microservices – companies can expect fast upgrades and introduction of new features. Long gone are the days when innovation and upgrade cycles took as long as 10 years to complete through the usage of PBX.
While the convenience brought by scalability and flexibility is tremendous, this convenience comes as a challenge for better security for UC. With GDPR now in place, focus on UC security has become the utmost priority to most companies, primarily to ensure secure communications and prevent data leakages. Part of these security risks can be mitigated by moving away from premise-based UC to Cloud-based UC. Furthermore, having an integrated cloud service such as Azure keeps collaboration data backed up and secure while ensuring business continuity and reducing localized data breaches.