The ability to communicate via any one of a variety of modes, or a combination of them, is one thing. Making that simple and convenient for the user is another.
The success of Unified Communications in the enterprise rests on the ability for solution providers to create an appealing user experience akin to the one we enjoy on our smartphones: simple, easy and reliable.
Donovan Jackson examines the issues in a four-part feature.
Voice, text and email communications are hardly revolutionary; we’ve used them for years, either independently or in various combinations.
Video is somewhat newer, although most individuals are more comfortable using video communications with people they know (privately) rather than in a business context, agrees Tony Warhurst, managing director of Aastra.
“There is some resistance to video and there is some pushback [from IT managers] with the bandwidth required when used at scale,” he says.
While compression deals to the bandwidth issue, there is something more fundamental which underpins user acceptance. That something is the ease of use with which we are all familiar, thanks to our smartphones.
“People who have to book rooms and set up video conference calls will tend to not use the facilities, says Warhurst.
"In some cases, these facilities cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up, but go unused for months.
"And then when the time comes to use it, nobody can remember how."
Denman says the market is in effect waiting for a ‘video dial tone’ which will move video to a commonality associated with voice communication.
The concept of the video dial tone is significant because it implies the interoperability which is associated with the good old telephone: it doesn’t matter which company made the Customer Premises Equipment (CPE), it all works together without any trouble.
Achieving that, says Denman, will negate the ‘tyranny of distance’ to allow immediate and effective interpersonal communication from the desktop.