How Business Communications Is Evolving
Business communications used to be a relatively straightforward thing. It required some desk phones, a phone for the administrative assistant to accept and forward calls, and some equipment in an on-site closet.
Over time, these solutions slowly become more feature rich. And the telephone companies even allowed businesses to offload ownership and management of their PBXs through the introduction of Centrex services.
We didn’t use the term cloud back then. But Centrex was definitely a move in that direction.
Today unified communication solution providers offer much broader suites of calling and other communication functionality. They provide those solutions via cloud-based models, resulting in what’s known as unified communications-as-a-service solutions. (RingCentral is an example of a UCaaS company.) Some of them still offer premises-based UC solutions too. (Avaya offers both premises- and cloud-based solutions.)
There also are lots of point applications to support things like team collaboration – although with the popularity of Slack, many UC suite providers have now brought team collaboration into those solutions. And there’s a focus on open systems – that is business communications solutions that come preintegrated with popular business applications (like Salesforce CRM) and other communications tools (like Slack), and/or that allow for easy integration with any other vendor solution.
Because businesses rely so heavily on mobile devices today, providing workers with the ability to access colleagues and their business systems’ features on their mobile devices the same way they would on their in-office desktop phones is also really important. That’s why many UC solutions providers now offer this capability.
Sometimes the mobile capability is a feature of larger UC solutions. Other times it’s offered as a separate solution, such as in the case of the Metaswitch Mobile Unified Communications solution. (Metaswitch aims to bring this solution to market by working with the service providers. It sounds similar to the model on which BroadSoft, which Cisco plans to purchase, has long relied.)
Edited by Mandi Nowitz