Unified Communications Featured Article

Unified Communication Week in Review: Star2Star, Verizon, Oracle and More

December 20, 2014

Unified communications bring together myriad channels to make collaboration and outreach a streamlined, no-brainer process for businesses. And as the world increasingly goes mobile, and more and more companies rely on wireless technologies to stay connected, unified communications (UC) solutions have really stepped up to the plate. As the UC market gears up for another busy year, let’s take a moment to recap some of highlights from the industry in the final stretch of 2014.

The holidays can be a hectic, stressful time for businesses, with offices closing and employees taking time off. But for some companies, the holidays don’t necessarily mean that business stops. This year it might be time to put business communications to work over the holidays, allowing “out of the office” to no longer mean “out of touch.” UC systems are increasingly allowing employees to keep in touch with businesses regardless of the employee's current location, whether it's a million miles away or just a mile up the road. That has a lot of value for businesses, whose business seldom stops just because a holiday arrives.

One business that certainly does not stop for the holidays is the hospitality industry. In fact, the holidays represent one of the busiest times of year for business in this field. And UC can help make that heavy influx of customer traffic manageable. Verizon recently announced that the well-known Marriott International is the first hotel chain to use the Verizon Hospitality Communications Express service, which provides cloud-hosted voice services meant to replace a legacy private branch exchange infrastructure and can supplement cloud-based voice with 4G LTE. For enterprise-related guests, the partnership means they will have access to the UC tools they are used to at their own offices. And for Marriott employees, benefits will include UC functionality that will help both their interaction with guests as well as with other employees.

While holidays bring people together, certain rivalries in the UC space are pulling providers apart into two camps. One of the biggest market battles taking place this decade is between telecommunications service providers and third parties that offer over the top (OTT) services. While OTT solutions provide a workaround for users looking to cut their phone bills, telecoms are fighting back with UC tools that come bundled with the other services, such as Internet connectivity, which they already deliver to enterprise clients. In this vein, Oracle Communications recently announced an upgrade to its Unified Communications Suite. The new version 7.6 allows service providers to easily offer UC services to keep up with the nimble OTT competition.

Unified communications are seeing a big push in the enterprise world, and this week was certainly no exception to that rule. It’s likely that 2015 won’t be either. So be sure to check back to the Unified Communication community regularly for all the latest trends and happenings in the market space. 

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