Unified comms needs redefinition to stay relevant in future

More emphasis on collaboration as well as communication

Unified communications need to be redefined in the future to embrace collaboration and the needs of millennials.

During a panel discussion at the UC Expo at Excel in London, Andrew Maher, customer engagement evangelist EMEA at Avaya, said that unified comms "needs to be redefined and understood differently from what it was over last 25 years".

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"There are unified communications requirements out there that are not being looked at," he added.

Younger employees entering the workplace have different expectations about the technology they want to use and Kerri Hollis, product marketing manager of Skype for Business at Microsoft, said that companies need to consider employee expectations. "Faxes aren't expected by apprentices, they want instant communications."

She added that they need freedom of choice. "It's important for us to help organisations to find the right solution for their users. There are different use cases and different forms are better for some types of users."

There is also an expectation by people to work wherever they happen to be and the tools must be there to achieve this form of collaboration. Snorre Kjesbu, vice president of Cisco's Collaboration Endpoints Technology Group, said the technology for collaboration should extend "from the browser to the boardroom".

The panel members said that the cloud is a crucial part of this move to collaboration anytime and at any place. However, some warned that the changes to the way we communicate as consumers haven't been reflected in the technology used within the workplace.

"The cloud makes experiences possible that would be there without it. It has completely transformed our lives, but hasn't transformed our offices at the same rate," said Kjesbu.

Mayer said that while a lot of unified comms is moving to the cloud, he said that some organisations still wanted control and their own equipment. "I'm not convinced that everyone is ready to move to the cloud," he said.

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