Unified communications has become one of the biggest enterprise buzzwords of 2015. Everyone is talking about how popular UC is right now, but hardly anyone has acknowledged that truly unified communications have not yet arrived. While many companies offer platforms that provide a variety of communication tools from one central portal, the ability to start a conversation from one channel and continue it through another has yet to be fully realized. NetSapiens is making strides in this direction through integration and interoperability.
In the past, enterprise IT decision-makers have been dissuaded from deploying UC solutions more aggressively due to the complexity of the platforms. However, relying on the abilities of disparate tools to connect employees and foster collaboration is an increasingly futile effort as a number of platforms have begun to emerge that offer a converged, seamless experience.
"UC will no more be just about an IP phone, or a soft client, or just email and presence," said Harsh Upadhyay, industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific, in an interview with Network Asia. "It will now be a business communication suite, which integrates convergence, interoperability, security and dependability with collaboration. Collaborative suites will be further enhanced to deliver business outcomes, as this would be the key consideration of CxOs prior to deploying any communication suite."
"90% of large enterprises currently engage multiple UC vendors."
According to analysts with ZK Research, more than 90 percent of large enterprises currently engage multiple UC vendors, adding needless complexity and reducing efficiency. In an effort to eliminate confusion and headache, a growing number of IT decision-makers are moving to adopt integrated UC solutions. Such a transition carries with it major considerations, however, including interoperability and centralized, enterprise-wide dial plans across PBXs and UC systems.
Integrated communications call for WebRTC
In order to address these concerns, companies will have to adopt a solution that integrates disparate communications and collaboration systems that have previously supported mobility features while also easily establishing collaboration between separate departments and branches in an affordable and efficient way. One solution that NetSapiens is beginning to introduce is WebRTC.
WebRTC offers capabilities that are way above present communications and collaboration environments. It is an application programming interface that can be added on to an existing UC platform. It operates within a WebRTC-enabled browser and is able to create real-time voice or video connections to other WebRTC devices or media servers. Best of all is its increased interoperability.
"The biggest value of WebRTC is its promise of interoperability with existing voice and video systems," wrote NetworkComputing contributor Gary Audin. "This includes devices using SIP, Jingle, XMPP, and the PSTN. What may hinder the global interoperability will be the upgrades necessary in existing devices. Alternately, gateways can be the solution to interoperability. Some are already on the market. If the existing voice and video devices using standard protocols, they will probably work with WebRTC-based devices."
WebRTC is still fairly new to the business world and will obviously be met with some amount of resistance – like any new technology would. But integration and interoperability are the future of enterprise communications, and companies that are ahead of the curve always fare better than those behind.