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How to navigate unified communications and collaboration
Tuesday 16 May 2017
Andrew Edison, Senior Vice President Sales, EMEA Region at Level 3 Communications
Effective communication is the lifeblood of any modern business. However, the broad and complex array of devices, operating systems, and networks, combined with increasingly distributed workforces means that traditional forms of telephony, messaging and conferencing may no longer be fit for purpose within many organisations.
The last few years has seen a new generation of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) platforms emerge, designed to address these issues.
However, there are many barriers that stand in the way of UC&C implementation. According to the 260 organisations we surveyed (in partnership with IDG Connect), the main obstacle is the high cost of initial hardware/software deployment – with 64% identifying this as a problem. Limited network bandwidth and capacity (57%) and lack of integration with existing communication and collaboration systems (56%) were also cited.
Many of these issues could, to a certain extent, be eased by cloud hosted UC&C tools leased on an on-demand, pay as you go model. The use of web-based conferencing and telephony tools and services that download software clients to the end user device can also remove any requirement to ensure integration with existing communication and collaboration systems. Especially where single platform UC&C tools replace, rather than supplement, multiple standalone platforms.
Embedding application programming interfaces (APIs) into existing applications could further minimise integration requirements. This would allow end users to initiate hosted web and audio conferencing sessions using common browsers like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.
In short, European companies evaluating UC&C platforms as well as suppliers need to carefully weigh up their application, usage and device requirements before engaging in the procurement process, particularly when it comes to making a choice between on-premises and cloud hosted solutions. They should look for strong data security protection and a broad portfolio of integrated UC&C elements to deliver flexible communications in every situation, from every device, and ideally the ability to embed UC&C tools into web browsers and other applications.
Level 3 are exhibiting at UC EXPO on stand B119.