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How will the IoT impact Unified Communications?

November 11, 2015 by

Unified communications has been impacted by several trends in corporate computing competition throughout the past decade, with enterprise mobility likely being the most obvious one, and globalization having clear effects as well. Businesses have had to race to get their UC frameworks in order and ensure flexibility to incorporate new trends as they begin to take hold of virtually every marketplace, especially as all of them will come with some implications for core communications strategies.

One of the more prominent trends that is taking place today and will have immense implications for UC is the Internet of Things, which is essentially creating an explosion of newer Web-connected devices that can be used for various collaborative purposes. Companies that have a strong UC framework in place for management and oversight purposes will be more likely to embrace this trend with ease and skill rather than being disrupted by the introduction of these novel gadgets.

What's more, studies indicate that the IoT is already evolving in and of itself, driven by the progressive advances taking place among manufacturers of relevant devices that are focused on the creation of gadgets that have greater functionality, such as the ability to host third-party apps. With so much potential for performance improvements and stronger communications contained within this trend, the time is now for businesses to get on board with progressive UC strategies that incorporate modern tools.

Spending is up International Data Corporation recently reported that the number of units shipped that connect to the IoT will increase by 163.3 percent this year compared to last, coming in at 76.1 million connected devices entering circulation in 2015. Although this type of enormous growth will not necessarily be sustainable, business leaders need to remember that this trend is highly novel and just gaining its footing today, and that the exponential increases in demand and supply will balance out once penetration has reached much higher levels.

For example, the analysts called for a sustained 22.9 percent compound annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019, and forecast 173.4 million units - or more than three times the tally this year - to be in circulation by the end of the study period. Wearables were found to be the hottest items in this trend today, and will likely continue to be as manufacturers target this popular segment and work to outshine their competitors in their marketplaces.

"Smart wearables only account for about a third of the total market today while basic wearables, led by fitness trackers, account for the rest," Jitesh Ubrani, Senior Research Analyst for IDC's Mobile Device Trackers, affirmed. "Driven by advancements in user interface (UI) and features, smart wearables are on track to surpass the lower priced, less functional basic wearable category in 2018. Smart wearables will quickly move from a smartphone accessory primarily focused on notifications to a more advanced wearable computer capable of doing more processing on its own."

When firms proactively prepare for the advent of this trend, their potential to excel in the marketplace will be greater.

Creating cohesion One of the more common challenges associated with new technology adoption and use has long been the integration of those tools into standing infrastructure, policies and processes. The prevailing catalyst for UC adoption is to ensure that all communications assets are connected and centrally managed, and these benefits can go a long way toward boosting firms' experiences with the IoT.

By working with a reliable, experienced provider of UC services, small business owners can more seamlessly begin to deploy the IoT in their companies, working to strengthen employee performances in the process.

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