Unified Communications Featured Article

Millennial Workers will Demand Mobile UC

April 08, 2015

Much has been made of the so-called millennial demographic—those young people born between 1980 and 2000. The top end of the 25 and under cohort may be just entering the workforce, but they will likely drive the final end to telecom as we know it—paving the way for ubiquitous unified communications (UC) that rely on mobility as a key pillar.

“As time passes, it seems as though we’ll be facing a generational paradigm shift,” said Mike Long at Tadiran Telecom, in a blog. “Having grown up with access to cutting-edge technology [mobile phones, instant messaging and text messaging, especially], millennials…expect a seamless experience as they migrate across devices. And these expectations need to be integrated into the workplace.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, millennials are making their way into the workforce. By 2030, they’ll represent three-quarters of it. So, UC clients need to match their expectations, incorporating and centralizing access to all texts, instant messages, emails and voicemails.

But unfortunately, mobile UC uptake is lagging behind for now.

According to Tim Banting, a principal analyst with Current Analysis, in identifying what types of devices users were employing for accessing UC services, mobile UC clients are only the answer for 7 percent of users. Meanwhile, a full 56 percent of users primarily stick with their desktop phone for UC, and another 28 percent split time between a desk phone and a desktop soft phone.

“Despite the rather puny uptake currently, users are clearly gearing up for mobile UC, particularly over in-house Wi-Fi networks,” said Michael Finneran, president of dBrn Associates, in a column. “Knowledge workers are apparently depending on the UC capabilities that are inherent in their smartphones augmented with apps downloaded from public app stores. Those public apps could be of the generic productivity variety or developed by independent software vendors such as Salesforce, Oracle, McKesson, and others to allow mobile platform access.”

Long says that UC vendors—if they’re savvy—have an opportunity to develop functionality that is embraced by both the employer and the employee.

“While the former will enjoy the new solution’s enhancement of productivity, the latter will enjoy the freedom, in a very mobile sense, that the technology provides,” he noted.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen without some labor pains. To truly embrace mobility, businesses need to shed their legacy infrastructure, and turn over a new leaf, organizationally.

“Younger employees…expect to have the ability to work flexibly—whether that’s staying home with their sick kid, working on a story from the DMV or working from a café just to switch things up,” Long said. “Should a business remain stubborn and fail to recognize this axiom, it risks losing employees to companies that give them the tools they need to succeed.”

The trick for UC vendors, then, is to be able to help organizations large and small to successfully migrate to modern solutions with as few hiccups as possible, if any—which is precisely where mobility comes into play. There will certainly be some lag in this collective migration, but the sooner businesses understand that such a change is inevitable, the better position they’ll be in to remain economically viable over the long term.


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