Unified communications and other IP and cloud-based telecommunication solutions are growing in popularity due to benefits like reduced IT costs, improved mobility and teleworking opportunities for professionals and overall productivity increases. However, a new study by IDG Enterprise found that 74 percent of businesses attribute their UC adoption to a need to support consumer devices in the workplace.
According to the survey, which polled over 1,100 IT professionals from companies of all sizes, 90 percent of respondents revealed that they will begin to deploy UC and collaboration solutions, or upgrade current communications plans, within the next year. Those in the education industry had the highest anticipated growth over the next three years, at 72 percent.
This increase in UC adoption has also encouraged a change in the model that businesses are looking to, with more companies looking to cloud and hybrid UC rather than on-premise solutions. Cloud-based UC provides improved support for integrating IP telecom technology, such as VoIP PBX and video conferencing – consolidated UC solutions that companies look to for improving workplace collaboration, according to the report.
Overall, 51 percent of the respondents have already adopted a UC&C solution, with many still planning on improving or upgrading their systems. Ease-of-use was considered the main factor for choosing a specific UC service, at 87 percent.
The BYOD trend, which is inspiring this increase in UC interest, is a hot topic in the IT industry. According to Datamotion, BYOD forces IT professionals to re-examine what control of data actually means in business, and that may not be a bad thing.
Originally, networks were internally focused, described as a "castle" in the news source. Devices sat behind a defensive line of firewalls that protected them from the outside. However, teleworking, mobility and virtualization are changing this mindset, forcing companies to alter this structure – exposing networks to outside influences. Without updating those infrastructures, this could create major problems. Luckily, as more employees at a company insist on using their devices or to work from home, it forces the IT professionals to make these considerations more quickly.
According to the news source, BYOD gives IT departments the freedom to explore new network possibilities, like moving away from the local area network (LAN) toward a more "open" infrastructure. However, in order to do this, they must move away from legacy hardware, which is rooted in the LAN-focused network structure. This is where the cloud and UC can help support these changes, and make progress easier.