UC and the Cloud

By Chris Talbot  |  Print this article Print

The dream of unified communications has been pushed by technology vendors for decades -- a single interface for all your communications needs including instant messages, email, phone, video conferencing. Here's a look at whether we've finally arrived and the new innovations that are on the way for this Holy Grail of collaboration.

Gazing at clouds

Cloud computing is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, and 2010 was the year that it started to seep into the unified communications space. With a focus on outsourced and hosted unified communications services, the communications landscape is changing from businesses having solely on-premise hardware to a mix of on-premise and hosted solutions.

"We’ve been talking about SaaS and hosted services for awhile, but 2011 we’re definitely going to start seeing more companies doing it as opposed to just talking about it," Pleasant said. "Most of the vendors have announced or are announcing hosted SaaS-based offerings, but they haven’t had many customers yet. But I think we’re going to see more in 2011."

Cloud computing will have a big impact on UC infrastructure because some enterprises will want a mix of cloud and premise-based solutions, she said. Hybrid deployments will require a lot of integration to make them work.

At the same time, UC-based cloud services will give SMBs more options for their communications solutions, so it’s likely more smaller businesses will take the plunge with unified communications, she said.