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6 Predictions for Cloud Collaboration in 2013

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Eric SchochBy Eric Schoch

As we move into 2013 and look further into the future, we see shifts in the conversation around cloud collaboration. I’ve outlined a few thoughts on what we can expect.

The cloud conversation will shift to flexibility and agility as primary drivers of adoption.

A recent Forrester survey shows a decreasing number of businesses are prioritizing lower costs as a reason to adopt SaaS, while an increasing number of businesses are focusing on “business agility" as a reason to deploy a SaaS solution.

Business agility can only be accomplished through leveraging an increasing set of collaborative technology, and exposing the most relevant data across the traditional mediums of voice, video and chat. Cloud accelerates the rollout of this technology.

As cloud collaboration moves beyond early adopters in 2013, hybrid models will proliferate and customers will increasingly demand a seamless, uncompromising user experience between the cloud and the customer premises.

Increasingly, businesses will look to a world of many clouds where some services are hosted on private clouds for policy/regulatory compliance or balance sheet reasons and others are hosted by public cloud providers. Businesses will move to find a right balance between the two with hybrid cloud models.

In 2013, cloud delivery of video will enable a cost paradigm shift leading to acceleration of adoption of pervasive, any-to-any video conferencing.

Soon software capabilities will dramatically lower infrastructure and endpoint costs of video, allowing us to make any-to-any video connections between mobile, personal and room-based systems while optimally allocating resources depending on the endpoint, resulting in significantly lower costs and higher quality. 

Over the next few years, mobile phones will connect to 4G LTE networks and be fully featured devices for business collaboration, leveraging network intelligence to deliver unparalleled quality of experience for voice, messaging and video.

LTE provides sufficient bandwidth to carry voice, video and data on a single radio network. Providers will enable a foundational set of enterprise-class voice, video or messaging features via the network while enriching and unifying those experiences with a soft client or mobile browser. 

In the coming years, the Internet of Everything will connect people and "things," allowing for contextual collaboration, enabling new work styles and empowering people to accomplish the extraordinary.  

Currently, a knowledge worker may enter an online and video meeting and not recognize another attendee’s name. Today, scrolling over that person’s name may bring up recent email exchanges, providing a small amount of context going into the meeting. Now imagine a meeting solution that provides even more contextual cues such as a LinkedIn profile or enterprise or consumer social software profile.

2013 will mark the beginning of a new era in IT; the emergence of the celebrity CIO.

Successful CIOs will react to the challenges of being measured by network uptime, being increasingly concerned with service availability and the impact they make on the business. They will focus on how they can drive efficient business processes, innovation and business transformation.  The CIO’s influence and image will transform and their broadening skills will become highly prized by any business looking to drive innovation, market appeal and share value.  In turn they will become more influential, command greater recognition and wielding greater power.

As we continue seeing growth in these areas, the importance of collaboration and social interactions in the workplace continue to be prioritized as necessary components of a successful business.

Eric Schoch is the general manager of the Hosted Collaboration Business Unit for Cisco Systems Inc . He previously led product management, product marketing and licensing operations for the company's unified communications business. Prior to joining Cisco,he was with Polycom and Nortel Networks.

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