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Come together: the rise of unified communications

An idea accelerating more effective collaboration is Unified Communications (UC), the blending of voice, web, video, instant messaging and other communications systems. “Anything that makes it easier for you to connect with others will deliver a better payoff,” said Paul Depperschmidt, of Cisco’s Collaboration Business
Development Group.

Speaking at ‘Next Generation UC: drive richer business outcomes and engagement’ in the Unified Communications Theatre yesterday, Depperschmidt noted that the demand for UC is coming from the bottom up: “In the past, technologies used to be pushed from the top down; now it’s coming from employees wanting to do the same things they can do on a smartphone or tablet while at work.”

Collaboration increasingly happens out of the office. By 2016, Depperschmidt said, 40% of the workforce would be mobile.“Cloud conferencing means you can meet others in your room in the cloud.”

Speaking to the ISE Daily, Depperschmidt said that while there was a compelling case for UC, challenges remained. “Cost and culture are issues, and some companies have invested in technology and don’t want to move. There’s often a period where you have to push people over the edge to, say, use video. But once they’ve done it, they don’t want to go back.”

He added: “UC is getting much easier to integrate, prices are coming down, and the ability to deploy on a large scale is easier. So you can see a lot of the barriers are coming down. People don’t want to hear about standards – they just want it to work.”