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Business Communications Is Increasingly Dynamic, Marked by 'Unified Interactions'

June 12, 2014

Communications in business settings continues to change from what was in place just a few years ago. New methods increase worker flexibility and productivity.

One major example is the well-known Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. BYOD is increasingly prevalent in the workplace. That popularity is predicted to continue over the next several years. For instance, Juniper Research has predicted that within about four years there will be more than 1 billion employee-owned devices being used in workplaces. That includes smartphones and tablets. Yet, as of last year Juniper found that many devices remain unprotected, with inadequate security in place. However, by 2018, close to 1.3 billion smartphones, tablets and feature phones will include security apps, Juniper said. In contrast, the number of such devices with security apps installed was about 325 million in 2013.

“The businesses jumping on the BYOD bandwagon might be making a critical mistake,” Curtis Peterson, vice president of Operations at RingCentral, warned in a recent blog post on Telecom Reseller. Many workplaces see a device still as “a company asset” and need a mobile device management system installed, Peterson explained. “Once employees are convinced to use what is actually now businesses equipment, it changes the nature of BYOD and can lead to bigger challenges down the road in terms of trust and privacy,” he added. “This BYOD structure can backfire when employees rebel against it and begin using their own devices against company policy, forgoing the required security restraints. Companies need to offer assurances in their device policies that their Mobile Device Management strategies will not violate the personal privacy of the end user.”

When it comes to SMS in the workplace, it was recently reported by HeyWire Business that many professionals use texting in the workplace. In fact, the study showed that text messaging is now “mainstream” in business, with a survey showing that 73 percent of those surveyed text with fellow employees internally, and 51 percent of those surveyed use text messaging outside of the company to communicate with customers, potential customers and partners.

One benefit of texting is that 97 percent of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery, according to a study from the Mobile Marketing Association. But there are limits to texting.

Peterson observed that many businesses “lack a tool to track this communication thread.” This can lead to texts getting “disconnected from other components of unified communication strategy, like phone and video calls,” he said in the blog post. Instead, network-based or cloud-based solutions can “index the interaction across multiple mediums” and avoid looking at several “disconnected conversations,” Peterson advised.

And when it comes to merging of communications platforms, platforms should be open and standards-based, so multiple systems can be merged. One option suggested by Peterson is using Unified Communications Federation. It has been defined as communications among different organizations, including businesses, and Unified Communications platforms, as if they are on the same platform. It allows multiple communication platforms be merged, and the result is a flexible, “collaborative workplace,” Peterson said. Federation will let businesses communicate with customers, partners and suppliers, but by using fewer applications and devices, explains No Jitter.

Looking at the big picture, business communications used to be based on location so it was impossible to undertake multiple conversations at the same time. Now, communications at businesses have evolved to being marked by “unified interactions,” he said.

“Communication in the workplace is no longer static and formal—it is dynamic and dependent on interaction,” Peterson said, explaining how employees now find they have more mobility, new technology and tools.

“If businesses remain resilient to unified communications changes, they will become increasingly difficult to support in today’s modern workforce,” Peterson said. Businesses need to do more than utilize different unified communication approaches. “It is time to adopt telecommunication systems that support interaction and are up-to-date with the latest technology,” he said.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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