New forms of business communications with people (Video conferencing, Social Networking) are joining the world of multi-modal, UC-enabled applications. It is becoming very obvious that both the complexity of software applications and the increasing need for dynamic connectivity bandwidth are leading business customers to move to the flexibility of the Internet “cloud.” Unlike traditional, premise based telephony systems, real-time “collaboration” is expanding beyond the domain of the organization and beyond the wired desktop. This includes flexible flavors of voice and video conferencing, messaging, as well as sharing information.
As legacy telephony systems are being replaced by IP Telephony and subsumed by UC, voice connections remain important, but are now being joined by video conferencing options and integrated with business applications (CEBP) and social networking activities. The common denominator for business user endpoint devices is that they are all becoming multi-modal, whether on the desktop as “softphones” or as mobile smartphones and tablets. In the latter case, BYOD policies are quickly opening the end user door to more flexible ways of initiating real-time contacts (like phone calls) with people through “contextual” information and federated presence and availability management. The bottom line is that telephone calls are going to be an option of any UC-enabled contact, which will be more efficient for both callers and recipients.
So, as online software applications become UC-enabled, they will also become device and network independent. That makes them ideal candidates for “cloud” implementation, since the end users will no longer always be on premise. This leads to the obvious shift of IT support not having to be on premise as well, and will be conducive to using third-party expertise and support.
The traditional business telephone system providers have already started moving in this direction by offering hosted and managed services, which can be applied to private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. Taking these concepts a step further, we see wireless carriers like Sprint’s Wholesale Cloud service offerings, and network system provider Cisco’s new Services Partner program, jumping on board, and all catering to application developers and integrators.
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The UC writing is on the wall – cloud-based, UC enabled applications for person-to-person contacts and CEBP notifications to people, whether those people are at a desktop or using mobile devices. Who will sell and support those UC-enabled applications? The next generation UC channels, Solution Integrators, and VARs.
To gain more VAR insights and make strategic contacts, come to the upcoming UC Summit 2012 in La Jolla, CA. Go to: http://www.ucstrategies.com/ucsummit/2012/