Cloud computing has ushered in a new era of provisioning cycles for businesses in virtually every industry and region of the world, allowing firms to purchase IT services on an as-needed basis rather than making massive upfront investments for internally hosted solutions. Now, this same idea has spread to the unified communication market, with cloud-based services taking hold and offering organizations a new means of provisioning core collaboration tools.
Cloud-hosted UC solutions, including Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems, video conferencing tools and more, are indeed taking up a greater amount of the overall communications market with the passing of each year. In many ways, this has been another chapter in the saga of cloud computing's successful leveling of the playing field in the private sector, helping to provide smaller firms with the same powerful solutions that their larger counterparts have enjoyed for years.
Video Conferencing In FocusInformation Age recently argued that video conferencing is a specifically good example of how the cloud can work to the advantage of smaller companies in ways that were not possible only a decade ago. According to the news provider, these solutions were once only feasible for companies that had massive profits due to the upfront costs and long-term management expenses that accompanied traditional video conferencing technology.
Today, this is simply no longer the case, as business leaders can leverage cloud-based video conferencing to dramatically reduce initial expenditures and streamline maintenance over time through managed services. Information Age affirmed that the switch away from high capital expenditures on these technologies and toward operational ones that spread out the cost over time will have a major positive impact on the average small business before long.
Furthermore, remember that video conferencing tools, when hosted in the cloud, will tend to be available to a wider range of users regardless of their location at any given time than traditional, internally hosted options. This also has implications for interoperability, which the source pointed to as being critical in the grand scheme of UC management and optimization, as solutions that are not compatible will simply not function optimally.
Bridging The GapThe operative word in unified communications is indeed "unified," as one of the more progressive advantages of modern solutions in this market is their ability to interact more seamlessly than disparate systems common a couple of decades ago. Each UC tool will come with its own benefits, such as the way in which VoIP phones can reduce monthly usage costs for telephone conversations, but the real value of the technology will only be realized when the firm has completely unified the solutions.
Cloud-based UC makes this process a bit more straightforward, and can often ease the strain that would otherwise be placed on IT departments and managers when implementing these solutions and maintaining them through their respective lifecycles. With the right provider, the sky will be the limit for improvements to collaboration affordability, efficiency, reliability and overall performance.