In our first post in this series on the 2014 State of Unified Communications we discussed the overall growth of the market, premise vs cloud deployments, and the new buzzword: Collaboration.
While this year’s statistics make it clear that companies are pleased with Unified Communications in general, the numbers also identify the areas that need some work over the next year…
A group of IT Executives were provided with 11 Technology Initiatives and asked which they were implementing or planning to implement. The number one response was ‘improving security’ with 88% of the participants.
Image source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/
Security is clearly a big concern for businesses today. Of all participants that use Unified Communications, 81% invest in security. More specifically, 80% have data firewalls, 55% have voice firewalls, 37% have UC security appliances, and 33% have session border controllers.
Participants say their primary security concerns are:
- ‘An attacker getting access to the data network through the UC system’ – 54%
- ‘Smartphone malware entering the network’ – 52%
Analytics is a newer idea in Unified Communications that could become an immensely useful feature. With analytics, the UC system will remember certain details about the user and be an interactive software.
For example, the system could respond to user requests based on recent activity, upcoming calendar events, etc.
TRAINING & HOW-TO
Unified Communications users are disappointed that the solutions are not always as user-friendly as promised. The idea of Unified Communications is that anyone can use it without extensive training. If business products are too complex, businesses may elect more user-friendly consumer options.
The most popular method of training is still computer-based, use by 33% of participants.
While the Unified Communications market seemed to be moving toward Social Media integration, it did not get anywhere in the past year.
According to participants, Social Networking is at the bottom of the list of beneficial features of Unified Communications, with only 3% of the vote.
The idea would be essentially a large business directory and discussion board that would provide a resource for employees throughout the world.
Federation is about getting varied Unified Communications platforms to work together. Clearly there are many platforms on the market and that number will continue to increase over the coming years. These platforms must find a way to function together so that users from different companies, or even within larger enterprises, can work together via Unified Communications.
BANDWIDTH & CONNECTIVITY ISSUES
One of the largest complaints from Unified Communications users is the connectivity issues. While Unified Communications has so many benefits to offer, it does require a constant connection to the Internet. Some of the new features like video and live collaboration require even faster and more dependable connections.
In some ways, IT and developers cannot do anything about this issue. However there are new ideas and technologies emerging that make this a valid topic of discussion in 2014.
Also check out Part Three where we discuss IT team’s responsibilities in Unified Communications and what to do when starting or expanding a UC solution.
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As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!