Unified Communications A.K.A. Connected Work

Suzanne Bowen : Monetizing IP Communications
Suzanne Bowen
37 yrs in telecom, teaching, blog & grant writing, biz development, marketing, & PR. Favorite moments in life involve time w/ family & friends, networking, IP communications industry verticals & horizontals, running, traveling, foreign languages
| 1. "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition..." Barack Obama ..... 2. "One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain." By Thomas Sowell

Unified Communications A.K.A. Connected Work

GetVoIP shared their much-awaited "Top 50 UC Experts to Follow in 2015" list. A majority of people in my social networks online and offline have no idea what Unified Communications is nor how it can help them reach their * goals.

Recently, I explained what it is to a group of business people who are not involved in IP communications business. One of the responses was, "Oh, that sounds like Skype. I use Skype for video, talking, type chatting, screen sharing and file sharing. Is that unified communications? I mean I can use that on my cell phone, tablet, laptop and any of my devices that connect to the Internet."

How would you, the reader, answer him?

On the other hand, of course, as soon I discovered the "Top 50 UC Experts to Follow in 2015" list, I immediately clicked to follow the other 49 and even reached out with a quick note of introduction to those I didn't know. Frost & Sullivan's Elka Popova and G Business Systems' Sandra Gustavsen replied. (Thank you to you two! Also, take note that TMC's CTO Tom Keating and CEO Rich Tehrani are in the top row.)


Ms. Popova is Director, Unified Communications & Collaboration | Information & Communication Technologies at Frost & Sullivan. (I recorded an audio podcast about connected car trends with Frost & Sullivan's consulting director Praveen Chandrasekar, available on iTunes and also on DIDX podcast channel. Use CTRL F function with "frost" to find the podcast on DIDX.) She says, "UC never fully delivered on its original promise for a tightly converged and highly collaborative environment." 

She adds, "Today UC is giving way to a new trend, which we call 'connected work.' Connected work refers to a new approach to the work environment, advanced technologies and access to global talent resources. Connected work is about connecting remote workers to people in the offices, connecting geographically distributed teams across the globe, connecting sales to marketing and customer support to subject matter experts, connecting employees to customers and partners, and so on."

It appears that the purpose of this new approach of "connected work" is to speed up decision making, growth of sales, improvement of customer support and, ultimately, quality of life enhancement.

I thought "unified communications" was basically a platform that already pulls together voice, video, text chat, screen sharing and other "tools" to help people do what they want to do, when they want to do it more efficiently and conveniently. But, I guess that no certain provider of such services all-in-one has convinced enough people to buy-in. And...how do "unified communications" and "connected work" compare? Love to see a separate video for each that showcases concretely and clearly a sample business scenario.

A poll about unified communications use of 200 people in my social networks, evenly distributed among eight countries (Mexico, Canada, USA, UK, South Africa, Pakistan, and Malaysia) and four industries (voIP and telecom, retail fashion, sports and nutrition, and IoT) had interesting results.

A majority of them answered the first question, of what is unified communications, with "I don't know." When given example solutions, over half of them said they use a combination of the following in the order of most use to least use most of the time: Gmail, Google Hangout, Skype for voice and video and screen-sharing, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, various VoIP SIP client software, gUnify (a pretty cool unified communications platform just now acquired by Vonage...which was co-founded by Jeff Pulver, one of the 50 UC experts listed), and Unify Circuit. 

Back to the GetVoIP list, Sandra Gustavsen also replied to my invite to share ideas and notes, highlighting the trend toward hybrid solutions that make use of both cloud services and on-site systems. "A 'hybrid cloud-prem' telephony and UC solution can ease a variety of business challenges. For example, a business with an existing phone system already located on-site may find that subscribing to a call recording service or a hosted contact center capability is far more convenient than actually installing additional hardware and/or software for these applications."

So maybe unified communications has not caught on...not only because of lack of interoperability and business buy-in, but businesses want to get the most possible out of expensive equipment they already own on their premises before embracing a totally new unified communications package in the cloud. 

Visit the GetVoIP Top UC Experts to Follow list. Get together with me and the DIDX team at International Telecoms Week (booth 716) in Chicago May 10 - 13. Join the conversation on unified communications, connected work and the cloud here, in person and elsewhere.

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