Mobile unified communications encounter hiccups during evolution

    While the rapidly evolving mobile landscape is quickly transforming the office phone system, it is also changing the way individuals collaborate. In the past, employees were required to sit at their desks and use legacy land line phones or desktop-based platforms to interact with colleagues, partners or customers. This is not the case anymore.

    The proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other advanced gadgets has given unified communications new access platforms, enabling enhanced collaboration to happen virtually anywhere at any time. Furthermore, unified communications applications, such as real-time messaging and presence technologies, are often more relevant for the mobile workforce, as they provide insight into the activities of colleagues.

    As mobile solutions evolved, however, an interesting occurrence began to take place, with relatively few businesses actually using mobile-oriented unified communications platforms, according to a Network Computing report. This is largely because many native mobile tools already mimicked unified communications capabilities.

    What's going on with mobile unified communications?

    Network Computing said developers had a hard time with interoperability and creating an application programming interface capable of delivering the demands requested by users. In other words, it became a challenge to launch solutions that could be used by different operating systems and platforms and still provide the same results.

    Nevertheless, service providers continue to work on unified communications systems capable of being leveraged in today's highly mobile private sector. When created properly, these platforms can be highly useful for employees.

    The reasons behind these benefits vary greatly from one vendor to another, though the most common advantage is the ability to keep a mobile telephone number private and route desk phone calls directly to the mobile device, Network Computing noted. This is becoming increasingly important as more organizations deploy bring your own device (BYOD) and other next-generation mobile strategies.

    A separate study by CDW noted that many organizations also see the growing potential for mobile unified communications, as about 80 percent of firms said they have deployed unified communications-enabled smartphones, while roughly the same amount have done so for mobile desktops.

    CDW also found that there are some challenges associated with deploying mobile unified communications, as only 65 percent of decision-makers experienced no problems while supporting a smartphone environment on their unified communications system. In some cases, however, the cloud may resolve some of these issues, as hosted offerings make the technology easier to implement and manage.

    There is no longer any doubt that both the mobile and the unified communications landscapes are rapidly evolving and maturing as the private sector adopts the technologies. While it seems almost inevitable that the two converge at some point, some obstacles must first be overcome. If service providers address the ongoing mobile concerns associated with unified communications, the future workforce will be more connected and efficient than ever before.

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