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9 UC Trends Your Customers Are Talking About

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ScanSource's Rhonda Trainor

Rhonda Trainor

**Editor’s Note: Read our list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners.**

By Rhonda Trainor, Director of Merchandising, ScanSource, and Editorial Adviser

Many longtime partners have visual images of the typical customer workplace: cubicles, hardwired phones, computers or laptops, email platforms and conference rooms with projectors or, potentially, video capabilities.

However, the ways in which people collaborate have changed, and so too should your prototypical office. Professionals are more mobile, and consumerization has simplified the way in which people communicate. Millennials are changing the face of business. As a partner, your job is to streamline the experience for customer end users, both in and out of the office. From what I’m seeing among our partners, these nine trends showcase what we should expect from today’s and tomorrow’s business workplace.

  1. Communications shift away from email. Although colleagues still prefer email for sending attachments and longer forms of communication to multiple people, instant messaging is an easier platform for simple approvals, quick questions and even group chats. Additionally, screen and file sharing are more popular and becoming the norm.
  2. The rise of BYOD and mobile workplaces mean businesses must be prepared to have their employees working from anywhere and on any device. Whether it’s a tablet or smartphone, inside a hotel room or their bedroom, the remote workforce is here to stay. While BYOD can be a headache for IT teams working to keep networks and security performing at their absolute best, employees are looking for a workplace that allows freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere.
  3. Wired hardware is almost nonexistent. Laptops and tablets will replace cumbersome desktops, while wireless systems replace traditional hardwired phones. Desk phones may not be dead yet, but users want freedom to move, even within the confines of the brick-and-mortar office environment.
  4. Web-based communications systems. As mentioned earlier, BYOD and mobile workplaces translate to users expecting to conduct business from any location. This means cloud-based applications and programs will be even more important, not just to consumers, but customers’ employees as well. VoIP-hosted systems and cloud-based email servers provide the flexibility users need — the web browser is the only requirement.
  5. Collaboration goes beyond the conference room. Today, all-in-one platforms offer document sharing, wikis, file and video sharing, social opportunities and more. This enables stakeholders to create, edit and share documents all without leaving their desk.
  6. Say hello to WebRTC. WebRTC allows web browsers to function as voice and video endpoints without needing a separate browser plug-in or app. This allows users to click-to-call from a web page or mobile app, and provides UC apps like videoconferencing and telephony to anyone. This peer-to-peer unified communication enables businesses to embed rich communications as a cost-effective method to deploy UC.
  7. Video: Not just for conferencing anymore. We’ve seen video transform from fun YouTube videos to conferencing mainstay, and now it is an even bigger medium for sharing content. As customers rely on playback for unique content, video has become a reliable and practical tool for distributing information both internally and externally. From training videos to how-to tips and manuals, the video platform is universal and useful for multiple audiences.
  8. IoT adds more devices and increases collaboration. Sometimes less isn’t more. By now it’s clear that people are not going to be using fewer devices. Partners need a plan to have the Internet of Things connect all those devices and help them work more efficiently together — that’s vital to business communications. Syncing up devices to transmit real-time data to employees throughout the workday enables interactive communications and increased output — just one of IoT’s business benefits.
  9. Beefing up security. At one time, sensitive communication took place on paper and was marked “classified.” Today, security transcends past the desktop and into the void of the internet. So look for an increase in securing communications as a trend in order for businesses to continue to communicate their proprietary information across and outside of their networks.

What big UC trends do you see developing? Tell us in the comments!

Rhonda Trainor is director of merchandising for ScanSource and a member of the Channel Partners editorial advisory board.


One comment

  1. Robert Cooper May 2, 2018 @ 12:02 pm

    Communication is seeing a gigantic shift away from email. While some people may prefer it, chat had evolved as the premier messaging format. Not only internal, but external chat has become the premium for reaching and contacting partners, suppliers, and vendors.
    As far as BYOD is concerned, it is only a problem when your users have to download disparate or multiple applications or use a VPN. True flexibility comes when the user can simply open a browser and securely sign in from anywhere. While we agree that it can be a headache for IT teams to insure security, using a BYOD with a secure-by-design platform such as Wildix, can alleviate this headache.
    Traditional wired hardware is no longer the future of telephony. With BYOD, employees can use any device they’d like, such as their mobile. While mobile phones are good, what users want is the ability to fully engage as though they’re at their desktop, from anywhere, and this requires flexibility. Using a browser makes the user mobile and available from anywhere, thus eliminating the need for the wired hardware.
    When it comes to web-based communications systems, the article says, “As mentioned earlier, BYOD and mobile workplaces translate to users expecting to conduct business from any location. This means cloud-based applications and programs will be even more important, not just to consumers, but customers’ employees as well. VoIP-hosted systems and cloud-based email servers provide the flexibility users need — the web browser is the only requirement.” We fully agree, but web-based communications should be used to handle all of the communications and collaboration requirements both internally and externally in an organization.
    For far too long Collaboration has been a conversation about internal teams and internal requirements, however, we all know business is conducted externally with partners, vendors, suppliers and CUSTOMERS. You need the ability to communicate, collaborate and engage with these people where they are – On The Web!
    Video has evolved over the years. It’s not solely for conferencing anymore. Video is great for live streaming, showcasing testimonials, demoing products, you name it. Another great feature of video is the ability to record. Miss a conference call meeting? That’s ok, because now you can be send a recording of the video conference to play back when you have time.
    IoT isn’t going away. As the article states, “Partners need a plan to have the Internet of Things connect all those devices and help them work more efficiently together — that’s vital to business communications.” Allowing multiple devices to be synced up allows for better, faster communications, and thus, better out put.
    Security is of the utmost importance in business and truly, in our daily lives. We like to keep ourselves protected from fraud and theft, and be sure that crucial information isn’t getting leaked. Paper files are a thing of the past, so be sure that whatever communications system you are using is secure by design.
    Say hello to WebRTC. Something we could not agree more with. We’ve been saying hello to WebRTC ever since we developed a WebRTC solution back in 2013. The internet is the future, and it just makes sense to take advantage of browser-to-browser communication. Click-to-call, sms, email to fax, video conferencing, screen sharing, and so much more, can all be available in one platform, that is easy to use, without needing any downloads or clients to install – and better yet, it’s cost-effective.

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