Unified Communications (UC) offers users the ability to transition from non-real-time communications to real-time communications. With real-time communications businesses can gain productivity improvements and offer better services and support. Because UC is based upon real-time communications, we expand the definition to include unified messaging, instant messages, presence, conferencing (video, web, audio) and collaboration. Therefore, transferring a call from a stationary device to a mobile device, FMC, has about as much to do with UC as speed dialing.
Mobile UC is the ability to have the real-time features and capabilities available on mobile devices. It also means having those devices use Wi-Fi networks and 3G/4G networks for access. Finally, mobile UC means embracing and implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) within the business infrastructure and processes. In 2010 Forrester reported that 52% of enterprise IT managers expressed an interest in mobile UC, however, 66% had no plans for implementation. Given the explosion in smartphones and tablets, I wonder if these numbers haven’t shifted. Of course, there are other issues to address when mobile UC is incrementally added to a UC implementation. It is incumbent upon several departments (IT, HR, Procurement, Operations) to establish policy when BYOD is approved for devices introduced by employees into the UC environment.
I will address that in a separate blog on Friday along with some of the companies working on mobile UC applications/solutions.