A Year in Review: Top Unified Communications Highlights of 2015
2015 was an exciting year for the unified communications industry. Over the course of the year, new trends have emerged and old technologies have been redesigned. These news highlights are quickly developing into long-term trends, so pay attention to them as the upcoming year unfolds.
Cloud-Based UC’s Rise to the Top
Everywhere you look now, UC platforms are offering cloud-based software packages. Companies want to be connected 24/7, and that means they need connectivity no matter where they are. For companies offering UC services, this means updated mobile clients and an expanded list of products.
ShoreTel’s Connect client, offering UC communications from the cloud and onsite is one notable example of this. Other examples have come from unlikely players such as Google, as well as mobile carriers like Verizon and AT&T.
UC As a Service Demand Skyrockets
This year it was all about the UCaaS market. According to Nemertes Research, in 2014, over 60% of companies had already begun adopting cloud-based UC services. By 2015, the overwhelming majority of businesses were demanding custom software suites. UC responded by offering both fully hosted platforms and custom-built, on-premise deployments, as well as hybrid options for companies not ready to fully commit to the cloud.
Market For “Social Software in the Workplace” Expands
Another trend that has continued on throughout this year is the rise in demand of social software. It shows no signs of slowing down, either, which means it will be something to continue watching through 2016. While industry leaders like Microsoft and IBM already have well-established products like Yammer, SharePoint and IBM Connections, other UCaaS providers like Cisco, Unify and even Google are continuing to vie for leadership in the newly-emerging social sphere of UC.
Cisco Transforms Project Square Into Spark
This is perhaps one of the biggest news stories of 2015. The networking behemoth is redesigning its Project Square app into something more groundbreaking. Spark began as a bare-bones, text-messaging service, but the company has major plans for this little app.
Ross Daniels, senior director of collaboration marketing, said, “When we launched Project Square, we said, ‘We’re showing you an app, but what we’re building is a platform.'”
While Spark will retain its text-messaging capabilities, by 2016 it will also have complete voice call support as well as the capability to host and attend video conferences. The real value of Spark lies in its seamless integration with existing on-premise Cisco software, making it the hottest thing to watch for the upcoming year.