Unified Communications: The Future of Collaboration in the Workplace

Sending E-mail from laptop via web application.

For many companies in 2023, the days of 100% in-office attendance are a thing of the past. Collaboration on projects and deliverables simply needed a conference room, and possibly a whiteboard to be completed. As hybrid and remote work continue to proliferate throughout the workforce, a connected communication architecture only increases in importance. Unified communications, or unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), strive to consolidate multiple methods of collaboration and conversation into a single package.

A standard UCaaS tool will utilize the cloud’s mobility and scalability to consolidate the following into a single-point interface:

  • Videoconferencing
  • Instant messaging
  • E-Mail
  • File Sharing
  • Live collaboration

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the trends surrounding UCaaS as it evolves in today’s hybrid world.

Consolidation

The introduction of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) was a revolutionary milestone in our connected world. Not only did this allow for less time and material waste when a corporation would activate (or upgrade) a product, but it allowed immediate access to several tools and platforms. A byproduct of this expansion, however, is the sheer number of SaaS platforms that an organization will need to maintain. BetterCloud reported in 2021 that on average, a company can have up to 110 different SaaS applications. As UCaaS tools continue to adapt and evolve, it is imperative that they consolidate these SaaS business functions as well as standard communication channels.

Ease of Use

As with any emerging capability in the workforce, user-friendliness is a critical piece of the innovation puzzle. From a managerial perspective, consolidating employees’ tasks, actions, requests, and communications into a single point of view sounds like a dream come true. Unfortunately, if these new features are cumbersome to operate, unapproved applications are sure to arise. Ensuring that your selected UCaaS system focuses on intuitive controls will, in turn, ensure that your employees remain on approved channels and keep your data secure.

AI Assistance

Artificial Intelligence has been a consistent topic of conversation in the tech industry for decades, but it has now crossed into the international zeitgeist. Natural language processing (NLP) models, such as ChatGPT, have made headlines for their power and accessibility. In fact, this very blog post has been written with the assistance of a tool that more than 30 million people utilize every day in Grammarly. Unlike ChatGPT, which can provide complete sentences consistent with understood prose, Grammarly utilizes NLP to recognize misspellings and provide suggestions to improve your writing. In a similar manner, AI is being utilized to autonomously convert voice into text, as well as automate note-taking during meetings. In combination with UCaaS tools, AI is providing an even more dynamic and connected workforce.

Cybersecurity

From directed attacks such as DDoS and network hacking to passive threats like social engineering or phishing, the risk in today’s connected world is higher than ever. As discussed, many companies maintain a  variety of SaaS applications and communication tools. Each one of these tools presents its own level healthyof risk, with varying degrees of exposure depending on the data they hold. The evolution of UCaaS opens the door for application-side security controls on several different applications at once. The method of security implementation can vary, but the result is securing more data with less management.

Final Thoughts

As with any industrial innovation, adoption and success rates will vary wildly. While the concept of a centralized workforce is not a new one, the application and use of these tools are still taking shape. There will be highly touted tools that never seem to work correctly, and there will be major success stories from smaller ideas. Approaching UCaaS and its uses for your company with the understanding it is a dynamic and evolving tool will lead to much higher rates of success. The idea of UCaaS will only expand from here, and staying informed about its progress may just be the key to a more efficient workforce.

Have Questions?

The TEC Integration team can help!

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Brian Jewsbury IT Manager, Custom Made Meals September 21, 2020