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Unified communications poised to mature in 2012

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Business phone services centering around voice over IP technology, cloud telephony systems and unified communications have been growing in popularity in recent years. Throughout this movement, UC technologies have often been portrayed as the Holy Grail of enterprise collaboration because of their potential to revolutionize how employees communicate both internally and externally. According to a recent TechTarget report, unified communications has now reached a point that may prove monumental in establishing the technology's long-term role in businesses.

The news source explained that the actual capabilities of UC systems have consistently fallen just short of expectations during the past few years, as the technology has been maturing into the solution that many experts believe it will become. During 2012, unified communications will either reach its vast potential or the expectations for the technology will shift, recognizing its importance but realizing that it may not be as disruptive as once thought. A few developments will dictate the role of unified communications moving forward, the report said.

The shift toward cloud computing is one of the key emerging trends that can dictate whether unified communications reaches its full potential during the next year. According to TechTarget, cloud computing is revolutionizing business services as it makes telephony systems more portable and cost-effective. It also leads to more end users running mobile devices along with traditional handsets, experiencing similar functionality on each platform.

This trend is highly dependent on cloud delivery of applications and services. It also relies on companies employing robust unified communications systems that take advantage of the cloud's advanced capabilities to reduce costs, improve disaster recovery processes and enable more efficient employee operations. However, this growth is reliant on cloud computing capabilities maturing at the same time as unified communications, the report said.

Cloud computing is also enabling unified communications by allowing the technology to adjust to mobile telephone systems. According to a recent InformationWeek report, a growing number of business users are turning to mobile services for day-to-day activities, using personal smartphones instead of business services. However, cloud unified communications can give organizations a platform that extends business phone services to personal mobile devices, helping the technology grow substantially.