Mobility and Video!

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.

Mobile UC gets a push

With the growth in smartphones, it’s probably little surprise that another big trend of 2010 and going into 2011 is the proliferation of UC applications on mobile devices.

There has been "continued deployment of popular mobile devices on the consumer side (cellphones, smartphones, tablets, etc.) into the enterprise business environment," Costello said.

Consumer devices are finding their way more and more into businesses, and part of their use is in UC and collaboration. Features and applications supporting unified communications on mobile devices is already a trend that’s showing, but it will likely continue to grow in 2011.

Going face-to-face with video

Remember a time when video was almost strictly a consumer phenomenon, except for expensive videoconferencing room deployments? Those real-time video communications everyone was promised at the 1964 World’s Fair took awhile to make their way to the market, but it seems like UC has finally made it happen (so now where’s my jetpack?).

"Video capability is pushing down into the enterprise to desktop and mobile devices," Costello said. Businesses are finding ways to use video for both real-time communications and for information distribution, whether it’s via public video sites like YouTube or using their own internal technologies.

Through 2011, it’s likely that video will play an even bigger role.

"Video [will continue] to move downstream in the enterprise, to desktops and all kinds of mobile devices," Costello said.

New architectures and the launch of Lync

Microsoft made its biggest splash yet in the unified communications with the launch of Lync 2010 in November. According to Pleasant, many businesses were waiting for the release of Lync before committing to an investment in UC. Now that it’s available, there will be more activity and more companies making the switch to UC, she said.

Costello said that interest in Lync Server 2010 as a viable PBX replacement solution for organizations with a Microsoft infrastructure will be a driving force in the market in 2011.

At the same time, other UC vendors are releasing new architectures, including Mitel’s Freedom and Avaya’s Aura. However, new architectures will be tricky, Pleasant said.

"How much are people going to be willing to change? I’m kind of concerned that’s going to set things back," she said.