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2015 Proves a Year for Change in Unified Communications

September 21, 2015

If there's one thing that's constant about the technology field, it's change. Even just looking back at 2010, there are fundamental differences in the ways we use technology and the ways it's presented to us. With 2015 starting to wind down, it's worth taking a look back at the landscape, and Information Age did just that with a look at how unified communications (UC) has changed just over the course of 2015.

The Information Age report started with a look at how UC technology was being used, and the answer seemed to be “with increasing ubiquity”. Between instant messaging systems, Skype calls, screen sharing and a host of other technologies, there was little doubt that this technology was routinely put to use and bringing with it changes of its own. Though the technology itself is well-established and doing quite well in many of the companies that use it, there's one thing holding it back from achieving to its true extent: changing the culture to allow the use of such tools.

Even this point is one that's rapidly in flux, or at least as rapidly as alterations to corporate culture go; some studies predict a major uptick in adoption rate growth over the next three years, owing in large part to companies either establishing or upgrading the infrastructure to carry out UC in the first place. Nearly 70 percent of organizations expect to have moved UC platforms to the cloud, or to some hybrid version of cloud and premise, just over the next two years.

So what's driving all this change? Perhaps the biggest force involved is demographics, as the Millennial generation is expected to make up around 50 percent of the workforce in a few years, and has grown well-used to such procedures. Plus, with the rise of globalization, businesses often have distributed workforce, and an increasing demand for remote workers makes such services inevitably necessary just to keep everyone on the same page. It's reached the point where 60 percent of meetings are now virtual, by some reports, and that combination of individuals actively pursuing a more balanced approach to work and life backed up by increasingly collaborative job tasks means that conferencing tools and the like will become more useful.

Adding up all the various trends in the market shows big growth for UC, and big change as well. When a technology is better, less expensive, and more useful than it was five years ago, than even a year ago, it's not surprising to see more companies pursue it just a little more avidly. Companies are recognizing the value of UC, as well as conferencing and similar matters, in terms of keeping everyone on the same page, even when all the readers are in several states or even different countries. This allows companies better access to a globe-wide pool of talent, and thus makes same best able to take advantage of the benefits therein. That's just the start of the benefits, and that makes UC a very attractive proposition.

UC in the next few years will likely continue to change; we've already seen conferencing systems that can be used from mobile devices or desktop PCs rather than whole-room systems, so who knows what we'll see in even 2016, let alone 2020. Change is technology's one great constant, and the end results of that change should be apparent in short order.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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