The Next Evolution for Unified Communications: Unified Interactions
Businesses have been embracing the development of unified communications for some time now. Rather than having to work with multiple applications, software services and devices, unified communications allows businesses to run all their communications through one platform. The popularity of unified communications is only expected to grow, with a prediction from Forrester Research that it will become a “standard communication infrastructure.” A 15 percent annual growth has also led to an estimated $62 billion market by 2018 showing the force of unified communications.
A technology that is growing steadily to become a major player in communications infrastructures, many people are praising unified communications. One writer for InformationWeek, Curtis Peterson, also seems to love where unified communications are going, yet according to an article he wrote, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Peterson wants people to know that unified communications platforms do not necessarily provide unified interactions. In their current form, unified communications platforms place almost all communications through one platform, meaning that a person can place a call, send a text, or start a video chat all through one program. They won't need to start up a different software application to switch from a voice chat to sending a text. Unfortunately, these functions themselves are not unified.
Each function is separate, meaning that if two people are speaking over the phone and decide to switch over to text messaging, they must access a different function. In doing so, data regarding their communications can be fragmented. Continuity in their communications is essentially lost in the process.
Peterson is also concerned, especially regarding unified communications platforms that allow users to use their own devices, about privacy and security. If a communication function is not hosted on the platform, employees will go to outside applications for their communications. This would remove access to data from the company.
Within the article, Peterson preaches that unified communications must take the next step to become Unified Interaction platforms. These evolved platforms would seamlessly connect the different functions and allow users to transition from text, voice, to emails all within one continuous thread. This type of platform would provide companies with a more easily archived communications system in which conversations can be more easily followed and accessed.
Just like with current unified communications platforms, using cloud networking, a Unified Interaction platform can be accessible through various devices, and secure with the ability to remotely delete access from a device.
Peterson believes that developments in cloud technology and unified communications are leading to this as a possibility. Poignantly, he states “there is still a tremendous opportunity for new unified interaction platforms to replicate the inherent, natural ways humans communicate with one another, rather than forcing us to adjust our communication habits to fit a platform.”
He has some interesting points, and whether or not one way is more natural to human habits, unified interactions as he explains them would definitely be a welcome addition to businesses' communication infrastructures.
Edited by Alisen Downey