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Mobility drives unified communications interoperability in 2013

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Unified communications recently emerged as a technology that can enhance the office phone system by giving organizations the ability to use more than just voice solutions for collaboration. The advent of unified communications means employees can use video conferencing, email, instant messaging or a number of other tools to interact with colleagues, customers and partners via a single platform.

This means that unified communications holds a lot of promise for the private sector and will likely continue evolving in the coming years as corporate decision-makers and service providers recognize its potential. A recent report by Network Computing highlighted how unified communications may evolve in 2013, noting that interoperability will play a major role in the ongoing development of the technology.

There are several reasons for this demand, including the ongoing adoption of mobile devices and the need to have applications run on any operating system or platform. Network Computing also noted that increased peer-to-peer communications and the potential for WebRTC, which incorporates communication capabilities into any browser, will increase the need for interoperability.

"I think we're going to begin to see a lot of the communication deployment moving out of the traditional communication platform that's telephone number-oriented and dialing oriented into these [WebRTC-enabled] systems," said Phil Edholm of PKE Consulting, according to Network Computing. "That's going to be a big trend in 2013."

The consumerization uprising

As the private sector continues to adopt mobile gadgets of all types and operating systems, decision-makers are recognizing the importance of using a single platform that can be accessed on any device, Network Computing noted. These needs are being accelerating by the ongoing deployment of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs.

A separate report by Frost & Sullivan also highlighted how the consumerization is impacting the unified communications and collaboration market, noting that roughly 71 percent of companies currently allow employees to use mobile gadgets. However, only about 44 percent of decision-makers said they provide full support for these platforms, suggesting businesses need to optimize their infrastructure to cater to the ongoing mobile demands of the workforce.

Still, Network Computing noted that the term "BYOD" is very ambiguous and will eventually be more specifically defined so organizations can get a better understanding of the mobile landscape and develop robust communication systems. Overall, unified communications technology will continue to mature in 2013 and beyond, enabling organizations to improve collaboration without impairing day-to-day operations.

"I think we will see more UC systems [in 2013], as opposed to just voice systems that sometimes never grow up to be a UC system," telecom expert Kevin Kieller said, according to Network Computing.

As companies grow and adopt advanced strategies to remain competitive, unified communications will become increasingly incorporated with the business phone system. This will be especially important as decision-makers continue to deploy mobile initiatives to keep employees satisfied and efficient, regardless of where they are working.