Connect Communications’ Marketing Director Tom Perry looks at how the largest vendors are all targeting collaboration on the desktop.
This summer the world of Unified Communications has heated up, as the largest vendors in mobile working, “Cloud”, and collaboration have all identified this as the next area of productivity gains, and therefore the next big business opportunity. Accordingly, all are competing to own this area of the desktop. “Bring Your Own Device” has brought smartphones, tablets and apps into the working environment, and opened up Microsoft’s traditional market to other vendors, and now we are seeing some powerful “outsiders” making very credible bids for the desktop.
Significant developments in just the last few weeks are Apple’s OS7 aiming for corporate use with VPN support for apps, single sign-on and a centralised licensing tool for apps to keep corporate networks clean and tidy, and Microsoft’s Office Mobile which allows us to access, view and perform some editing of documents through an iPhone app that links the subscription-based Cloud service Office 365.
Meanwhile Google has already quietly established itself in this space with its free cloud service Google Docs, which being present on almost every desktop, can compete from a position of great strength, while Google Apps promises security, mobility, and freedom to anyone who wants to work whilst out and about using Android, iPhone, Blackberry or a Windows Phone.
Our longstanding Unified Communications partners Avaya and Shoretel have been working in this area for some time and are offering their cleverest products so far. Avaya has created well-designed products for smaller businesses with mobile workforces which will enable video conferencing from the desktop, as well as mobile and HD room system endpoints. They work on all kinds of network, with clients for PCs, Macs, and the popular iOS and Android devices, and will be good for companies with small IT departments or none at all. Shore Tel has introduced Shore Tel Dock with the ability to integrate services, soft phone, office phone and mobile phone, with a single point of contact for users accessing different communications and collaboration services. This is a brilliant philosophy and precisely what a Unified Communications strategy sets out to achieve.
There is no doubt that the UC market is changing quickly. At Connect, we believe that each vendor has something unique to offer and that each client has requirements unique to their own business. It is up to us to work with clients to find the best solution for their business, which will continue to serve them as they move forwards in this new area of Unified Communications.