Everyone is talking about UC these days. But what is it? And why hasn’t everyone deployed it yet?
First of all, UC is a murky topic. Unified Communications at it’s most basic level is voice, email and presence/IM capability in an application. And some companies are very particular about saying they have UC apps because they have the basic ones. But UC can also mean voice conferencing, video conferencing, text messaging, collaboration / document sharing, and fax. And this contributes to different price points and target market fit.
By the way, fax is not normally identified with UC, but in my mind it is critical for UC. Fax continues to be integrated into health care and legal verticals, so fax will be important for UC in those environments.
Enterprises like to utilize UC because it can save employees time. For instance, I hardly ever use voice mail anymore. I can see if someone I want to talk to is online/available, and then if so, make the call. Saves both of us time. And I schedule internal conference calls using our UC system. And during these conference calls, we can share documents on screen. And I can do this when at work, at home, or on trip from a hotel room seamlessly. All in all, compared to 10 years ago, I can safely say that UC has certainly enhanced Dialogic’s work environment, and hopefully made us more productive.
However, like most enterprises, this has been a journey for us. We didn’t just move to UC overnight. The main driver for us many years ago was our main PBX going end-of-service. It made economic sense for us to move to a new IP-based system. And so we did it in stages.
And this is precisely the reason many enterprises have not yet moved to a UC system. The current environment is there, is paid for, and it works. So like last week’s blog on gateways and SIP trunking and existing environments, a migration will continue for a long time. While most of us think the move to IP in the enterprise is over because we live in that world every day, in reality, there is quite a long way to go before this PSTN to IP migration is over. And so there will continue to be opportunities for various forms of Unified Communications in the enterprise.
Next week, I will explore cloud based UC, or Unified Communications as a Service.