Clarifications and Realizations - How to Cross the Unified Communications 'Chasm'
October 22, 2012
By Allison Boccamazzo
, TMCnet Web Editor
If anybody should discuss the unified communications (UC) movement it’s 8x8 (News - Alert), Inc., whose almost unfathomable growth and demand for cloud-based UC solutions has forced them to move to a new facility that’s doubled in size to accommodate its expanding customer base, which exploded from 17,000 in mid-2009 to 30,000 businesses today.
When depicting today’s market, it seems that businesses have involuntary slumped into a gap when adopting UC, but why is that the case? In other words, what exactly is holding back businesses from adopting UC, and how can the industry accelerate that to move it across what Huw Rees, VP of business development at 8x8, calls the “chasm?”
“We have not crossed the chasm into mass adoption of unified communications yet,” Rees explains in a recent interview with TMC’s (News - Alert) Erin Harrison.
Part of this, Rees suggests, could be the way that UC is sold to end-businesses – specifically, that it’s not being ideally depicted as something which will truly improve business productivity to positively impact both their top and bottom line. “I think there are some messages about how we do [this] and also…the definition of UC is disarray. People have different ideas about what UC really is.”
“In fact, one of the best terms I saw on the Internet was that UC actually stands for ‘Universal Confusion’ as opposed to unified communications, and I think there’s some truth to that.”
In light of this, 8x8, who was named the leading provider of IP telephony and UC in 2011, has been tirelessly working to clarify these points to customers to shed light on what UC really is and how to take advantage of its benefits. The company has also been capitalizing on the momentous growth of cloud-based unified communication services, which are expected to grow at an annual rate of 9.1 percent between 2011 and 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert).
Rees exclusively detailed that he thinks mobility is a very key feature of unified communications, in addition to such things as IM and presence. Rees highlights the importance of emphasizing UC for both the end-user and UCB (Unified Communications (News - Alert) for Business), which is the business side of UC, or what Rees explains as “integrating communications into the overall business processes.”
One thing, for example, that could come to mind when thinking of UCB is integration with enterprise CRM tools offered by such companies as Salesforce.com (News
Another way to bridge this gap between UC confusion and realization is understanding influential trends such as the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon. 8x8 is undoubtedly already one step ahead of the game, as the company recently revealed the new version of its Virtual Office Mobile, an application that resides on mobile devices that now boasts a new video communications feature as well as a more resilient codec to meet the challenges of mobile network restrictions and packet loss.
And the company isn’t stopping there. “We’ve got a large portion of business users that are using mobile devices, so we’re going to continue to aggressively support mobile platforms,” Rees explains.
To hear more about 8x8’s UC involvement as well as plans for the future, check out the entire interview below. To learn more about all of 8x8’s offerings, visit www.8x8.com.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli