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Business Communications Trends to Watch in 2016: Unified Communications, WebRTC and the IoT

December 07, 2015

December tends to be a month in which much of the technology industry looks ahead to the next year with predictions as to how technologies and the industries around them will fare. The latest Worldpay Global Payments Report, which expects “the third age of digital payments” to begin in 2016, is a great example of this. It’s no surprise then that trends for the coming year in unified communications are hitting the internet.

In this case, Enterprise Apps Tech News has identified six major trends for business communication in 2016. These trends include mobile devices replacing desk phones, greater emphasis on web-based communications tools, rising use of WebRTC, increased importance of the Internet of Things (IoT), a shift toward more secure communications, and the further normalization of unified communications.

For those that have been following business communications for the last couple of years, this list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, the space has been heading in a more mobile, web-based, secure and unified direction for some time now and it’s unlikely this path will be disrupted.

When it comes to mobile devices replacing desk phones, this change will be largely motivated by bring your own device (BYOD). With employees already bringing their own personal, and completely capable, communications devices to work every day, it’s unlikely many will want to sit down and use a totally separate device. Of course, there will always be a place for business phone systems, but these systems will be increasingly integrated with BYOD.

Likewise, the shift to web-based communications tools is a natural evolution of employees using a wider range of devices to communicate. With each employee using different devices, more flexible web-based communications platforms are a more natural fit.

The rise of WebRTC is also swept up in this trend. After all, an open standard for peer-to-peer unified communications that enables businesses to embed rich communications in apps and websites without proprietary plug-ins or technology is the perfect companion to mobile and web-based communications. And with more reports cropping up predicting the growth of WebRTC, the standard is bound to find its place in business communications.

As for the IoT, connected devices are already being used to transmit real-time business data to employees. The next step is expected to be more two-way communications with machines. Meanwhile, this overall shift to digital communications over various devices will naturally lead to greater emphasis on security.

Likewise, unified communications growth is tied together with these other trends as a natural response not only to the expanded range of communications options, but as a way to deal with the potential overload of using so many channels simultaneously. In other words, 2016 will see the inevitable refinement of the direction business communications has been headed in, with unified communications leading the way.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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