In the next few years, we're really going to see the business demand for connected communications. The siloed communications we've relied on to date will slowly disappear as a more holistic approach is adopted. The challenge is creating a ubiquitous service that is easy to adopt to encourage uptake among customers that are reluctant to change from a process they are so familiar with.
I believe the transition will take the form of a base signalling plane on which we'll run our meetings. Beneath this plane there will be three - four sessions associated with it: audio, video, instant messaging and content, such as a desktop application. Right now unified communications and business video are intertwined at the same stage of development and adoption. While both technologies work well in intra-enterprise scenarios, they are not ready for seamless business to business communications.
To create the ubiquitous standards necessary for widespread adoption, service providers are tasked with providing a service that can handle the necessary inoperability issues. The goal is to make a user's experience seamless. The end result of these seamless, unified communication sessions is increased collaboration and information creation that take place in a more simplified fashion.
Many of the dedicated vendors are trying to tackle some of the challenges and trying to adhere to as many standards in encoding and formatting as possible. However, users are running into walled-gardens as they are restricted to which services they can connect.
Working to overcome this challenge will see unified communications and video become the next growth engine for voice, increasing the need for a network that can meet the demands for both bandwidth and the latency attributes associated with two-way real-time video applications. This is something I believe only a service provider can solve.
The transition to unified communications and video is here and it has the potential to revolutionise communication in the workplace, for example, producing a platform for a vertical specific application. Yet despite these opportunities for future development, the rate of adoption is heavily dependent on service providers' ability to create a standardised and holistic service that can be used by all enterprises.
John Hayduk is President, Product Management and Service Development, Tata Communications
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