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Unified Communications Continue to Evolve

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Unified communications (UC) has largely reshaped what types of connections are possible in the workplace. Employees now leverage tools as diverse as instant messaging and video conferences to better connect with co-workers and clients. UC is a continuously evolving technology however, and the following are some of the latest incarnations of communications in the workplace. 

1) Mobility

Workers are becoming more mobile than ever. Yet mobility is more than connecting from remote locations. Now mobility should encompass continuity of different devices, which allows users to seamlessly move between different endpoints  (desktop, mobile, desk phone, conference room, etc.) with transparency and continuity. Mobility should also include synchronous messaging, voicemail, presence, tasks and more across numerous devices.  

An effective mobile conferencing solution allows users to move between different endpoints (desktop, mobile, desk phone, conference room) with transparency and continuity. A user should be able to access a conference scheduled on their calendar from their mobile phone and easily join that conference. 

2) Scalability

With older, legacy telephony solutions, it's often difficult to add or remove extra features, which results in high costs. Growing organizations often need a solution that can move with them. This is the type of flexibility that UC has promised to its users and is a significant asset for all businesses. ITProPortal contributor Barclay Ballard noted that with UC, users pay only for what they need, rather than a set rate. This allows businesses to not only choose a solution that fits their budgets, but to directly customize it based on the features they need.

Scalability is a significant advantage for decision-makers because instead of needing to make wholesale choices that will affect all tools in their UC solution, they can simply adjust a particular element. This will not only reduce operating costs, but ensure that they receive the best return on investment possible with their available resources. The management of the UC system's scalability also makes it much simpler to handle than traditional voice lines.

"The fact that all the information goes through a single server, means it is easy to upgrade as and when you need to, making it the perfect choice for ambitious businesses keen to grow as quickly as possible," Ballard wrote.

3) User experience-focused

One area that vendors and organizations are focusing on is the user experience, and that element will ultimately make or break UC solutions. If it's difficult to navigate between different elements, it won't provide as much value as a system that enables seamless transferral. An employee should be able to instant message with a client, then immediately initiate a phone call or a video chat with that customer, if the situation calls for it. Going to a different window or another program to complete these tasks takes time and has the potential to cause errors.

Information Age contributor Ben Rossi noted that 2015 will show a particular focus on adding more services and device support for unified clients. This innovation will improve the interface and directly enhance the overall experience. With UC becoming more user-friendly, more organizations will explore the solution's value and how it can work for their needs.