July 29, 2014

Don’t Forget Mobile Voice In Unified Communications Plans

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There is some new research out about the role of mobile devices in voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) applications that is worth consideration by IT organizations considered broader unified communications solutions.

The report by Juniper Research, “Mobile Voice and Video Calling: Strategic Opportunities and Business Models,” suggests that there will be approximately 640 million mobile VoIP users by 2016. Within that set of users, approximately one-fifth, or about 130 million, will be using mobile video applications, the Juniper Research white paper predicts.

Said Juniper Research analyst Anthony Cox:

“Eventually voice may become one of several options in an environment where multiple methods of communicating are possible on the same platform.”

The implications of this trend are significant for IT organizations in the process of planning or expanding their infrastructure for handling VoIP applications and for broader unified communications solutions.

Chief among those is the fact that even if your company doesn’t offer corporate-sanctioned smart phones or tablets to its employees, it will probably need to support them within the larger context of its unified communications plan. Consider that more than 60 percent of all information workers are mobile at least once or twice in a given week (according to research from Forrester Research) and you can quickly see the ramifications of NOT supporting mobile devices.

What exactly does “support” mean?

From a technical standpoint, probably the most important thing to worry about is seamless switching of a call from one place to another. That means ensuring that calls or communication sessions can be transferred from a IP-connected handset to a personal computer to a mobile phone or tablet. That handoff should be transparent to everyone, meaning that someone initiating a call shouldn’t care where the person they are calling is located at a given moment in time. Likewise, the person receiving the call shouldn’t have to worry about where they are going to be when a specific conference call or videoconference is taking place.

The Juniper Research numbers are underscored by the serious attention that many videoconferencing vendors have paid to supporting mobile platforms this year — tablets or smartphones alike. It’s another illustration of the fact that where and how people work is being transformed dramatically by the mobile technology revolution. Organizations that don’t move quickly to support that revolution could find themselves left behind.

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