Enterprise unified communication and collaboration (UC&C) preferences are shifting to applications outside of traditional telephony networks. Organizations are moving to all-IP networks and cloud-based services. Users increasingly prefer web and IP-based communications available via their own Internet-connected mobile devices. These trends place organizations in a better position to leverage UC&C for corporate competitiveness rather than simply employee productivity and cost reduction.
"Cloud services are disrupting many markets and traditional businesses and offer great opportunities for both the demand and supply side to reduce complexity and create a more efficient environment," says Jan van Vonno, research analyst at IDC. "Unified communications as a service solutions can be deployed in public and virtual private cloud environments and allow organizations to procure UC&C technologies in an opex model, significantly reducing the barriers to adoption."
Even larger organizations that own UC&C infrastructure may combine on-premises and cloud-based UC&C technologies to maximize return on investments.
In a blog post, Dean Bubley, founder of Disruptive Analysis, suggests two possible simultaneous outcomes. Enterprise IT departments could further ‘unify’ corporate communications platforms by integrating mobile and collaboration capabilities and blending corporate line-of-business apps and web tools. Or they could ‘de-unify’ by extending the ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) model to conferencing, contact center and other applications and cloud services.
Whichever path the IT department chooses, CIOs have to support geographically distributed employees and partners using a growing number of communications tools and mobile devices to communicate and collaborate.
For example, applications must be accessible on multiple end points and secured across transmission, access and storage. Real-time communication with partners and customers is essential too.
This brings up other key requirements such as archiving capabilities, instant messaging, wireless e-mail, enhanced security, Web 2.0 clients, and advanced search capabilities. Also, the solution must be customizable, integrate with other service offerings and based on open standards.
Here, moving to all-IP networks bring benefits, including savings and improved collaboration. The seamless and scalable cloud-based UC&C delivery model is a highly suitable option for next-generation enterprises.
Cloud delivery models enable enterprises to have software-driven, converged and scalable UC&C solutions that deliver voice, video and text communications across a variety of end points.
A key ingredient is the WebRTC technology, which underpins innovative UC&C applications and brings real-time communications (RTC) capabilities to any device and a supported web browser.
Disruptive Analysis forecasts nearly 4 billion WebRTC-supporting devices by the end of 2016. “The demand for real-time communications from any device will only continue to grow, from within both web browsers and mobile apps,” says Bubley.
At the same time, enterprises face network challenges – most notably interoperability with legacy environments while rolling out SIP based systems on the path to all IP networks.
One solution that facilitates inter-networking built on open standards and therefore extensible and future proof – is Oracle’s Unified Communications and Collaboration Solution. Seamless integration of RTC with secure, enterprise-grade services reduces application toggling and maintains context across various modes of communication, including e-mail, instant messaging, audio and video.
All in, this is good news for enterprises eager to add industry-standard UC&C capabilities to their BYOD initiatives but grappling with diverse mobile device platforms and the cost of maintaining proprietary UC client applications.
WebRTC-based capabilities in native iOS or Android client applications via the Oracle Communications Unified Communications and Collaboration solution extend voice calling, video and chat to mobile applications. In addition, “we are rapidly innovating to remove the road blocks to real-time communications to the right people at the right time on the right device,” says Brian Kracik, director Product Marketing at Oracle Communications.
Ultimately, Oracle aims to help enterprises achieve carrier-grade reliability and flexibility within their communication platform while providing a cohesive, consistent and multi-modal user experience, officials at the company say.
For example, users can start to reply to an email message, convert it into an IM session mid-stream, escalate to an audio call, and convert that call into a conference by adding other users, without switching applications or losing context. Participants can also switch devices and networks without disconnections and disruptions.
“Our focus is to enable enterprises to achieve competitive differentiation by leveraging software-driven, secure, reliable and standards based IP platform from any device, across any network”, says Kracik. “In so doing, they decrease the time needed for business interactions with each other, as well as their customers, partners and suppliers. When this happens, you have the making of more satisfying business experiences and ‘stickier’ relationships. And today, this is a significant source of competitive advantage.”
This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Oracle.