The battle for unified communications supremacy rages on. The players all recognize that this is a lucrative market segment that will continue to grow and they each want to claim as big a piece of the market as they can.
Networking hardware and IP telephony hardware vendors like Cisco, Nortel, and Avaya have been holding their own and occupy a pretty good chunk of unified communications real estate right now. But, as the power of software-powered voice and the ability to extend and expand functionality with custom applications dawns on the world, Microsoft and IBM will leave those companies in the dust.
Last Spring IBM published a list of the five trends they felt would drive the adoption and growth of unified communications. The list still seems valid today. Here is a summary of those five trends:
- Mobile devices and social networking will replace desks, desk phone, and desktop computers. More workers will operate virtually.
- Instant messaging and real-time collaboration tools will emerge as the primary communications methods, surpassing email.
- Companies will evolve beyond typical voice calls, or even basic click-to-talk functionality of soft phones and instant messaging clients and integrate new voice capabilities into innovative new business processes.
- Interoperability and open standards will continue to evolve and help break down barriers between disparate communications systems.
- Virtual meetings and conferencing functionality will radically change and transform the way companies conduct such meetings.