The Future of Unified Communications: Predictions for the Evolving UC Landscape
Communication is a critical part of any company’s success. The ability to collaborate effectively led to the rise of unified communications (UC), an approach that centralizes a variety of communications tools into a single platform.
Over recent years, UC offerings have become increasingly robust, integrating more features, functions, and capabilities to promote better communication within organizations. However, emerging technologies have the potential to reshape UC, allowing it to evolve into a more advanced solution.
While some of these possibilities are in the early phases, here are some predictions for what UC solutions will include in the near future.
“Mixed” Reality Meetings
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could soon become part of the UC landscape. By integrating these technologies into UC platforms, “mixed” reality meetings could quickly become possible.
For example, team members may be able to visualize each other in a virtual conference room, an approach that moves beyond simple video conferencing. Similarly, the addition of contextual displays and overlays could enhance discussions, making information easier to visualize and share.
While technologies like holograms aren’t particularly practical in today’s business world, the addition of AR and VR may be more accessible within the next few years. However, at a minimum, an increase in video and mobile sharing is almost guaranteed, creating additional value.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming increasingly present in the business world and will continue to make their way into UC. For example, chatbots or virtual assistants are increasingly accessible and can provide a substantial amount of value with integrated with UC solutions.
An AI may be able to analyze conversations and provide relevant information to assist with research. Similarly, the technology could study the tone of a conversation and make recommendations when a discussion turns heated, helping to diffuse a situation before trouble arises.
While most AIs provide targeted functionality, the technology’s capabilities are only continuing to grow. The potential to provide value to UC solutions is certainly there, particularly as people become more comfortable communicating with machines when they need assistance.
Removal of Desk Phones
While phone numbers themselves will likely remain relevant for the next few decades, physical desk phones may not be commonplace within the next few years. Between VoIP and UC, the ability to fully communicate through computers and mobile devices may lead desk phones to become obsolete, representing an unnecessary expense that isn’t worth managing.
Instead, software-only “phone” deployments will become increasingly common, especially when integrated with UC solutions. This approach can enhance mobility, particularly when coupled with smartphone and tablet applications that allow employees to remain connected to their line while on the go.
Ultimately, the UC landscape is already changing rapidly, and certain emerging and fledgling technologies will only increase the capabilities of UC. Over time, the amount of value they will be able to provide will likely be astounding, making them wise investments for companies who want to stay on the cutting edge while promoting communication and collaboration within the workplace.