How Unified Communications Is Connecting With the IoT

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How Unified Communications Is Connecting With the IoT

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  May 05, 2017

Unified communications and the Internet of Things are intersecting in a variety of very interesting ways.

Avaya (News - Alert) has been talking about solutions in which a digital sign outside a conference room can recognize you based on the smartphone in your pocket, greet you, and even trigger your preferred lighting and conference room settings so everything is ready to go once you sit down for your meeting.

Volvo is integrating Skype (News - Alert) for Business into its 90 series vehicles, allowing drivers and passengers to see future meetings and join meetings using a single touch to the in-car touchscreen.

“We’ve all been there,” commented Anders Tylman-Mikiewicz, vice president of consumer connectivity services at Volvo Car Group. “Sitting in the car trying to join a conference call. You either fumble with or drop your phone while trying to connect, or you forget the long pin code to join. It’s not the best way to start an important call in the car. On top of all that your attention is not where it should be – on the road. With the addition of Skype for Business, all that goes away.”

And in mid February at ITEXPO (News - Alert), Unified Office CEO Ray Pasquale explained how the managed services provider he founded is outfitting some of its voice customers with the ability to also connect, monitor, and manage equipment like prep tables and refrigerators. The Unified Office IoT solution is called the Total Connect Now Operations Performance Suite. And it’s an add-on to Unified Office’s Visual Performance Suite.

Unified Office is bringing this solution to the quick-serve restaurant industry first. In fact, the company has been working with Domino’s Pizza in an early application of this technology.

Food service is a highly regulated industry. It’s also one that can easily lose money due to waste. TCNOPS addresses both issues by connecting and monitoring things like prep tables and refrigeration so they comply with regulations and avoid spoilage.

Unified Office will report on and do trending analysis of real-time information as part of this solution. It can also provide customers with alerts via text or whatever means a customer chooses if conditions fall outside of established benchmarks. And it provides businesses with an audit trail of what happened so they can revisit it later.

This new solution is a logical extension to Unified Office’s existing business, said Pasquale, because humans aren’t the only things that communicate – things do too.

Beyond the restaurant industry, this solution is also a match for hospitality businesses, which could use it to monitor and control in-room thermostats and HVAC systems, said Pasquale. It could enable hotels to automate thermostats so they return to a certain temperature when the customer checks out. And they could ensure system settings are always cool enough to avoid the growth of mold, for example, he said.

Unified Office has partnered with Graybar (News - Alert) and RTS to put together the TCNOPS solution. Graybar purchases and packages the needed hardware (which includes a Samsung sensor kit) and ships it to the site. Electrical contracting firm RTS then installs the hardware at the customer site. And Unified Office sells the total solution, and delivers the connectivity and analytics on an ongoing basis.

Edited by Alicia Young


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