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Unified communications to dominate by 2018

Jared Heng | Aug. 13, 2008
Growing demand for real-time collaboration between companies and customers.

Instead, knowledge workers across the enterprise will be available through messaging, chat, and other mobile devices to help meet customers needs in real time, Tan said. With UC, customers will also be able to communicate how they prefer to be reached, speeding up their access to information and people.

Tan added that the industry is moving from transactional communications to real-time collaboration between companies and customers. The convergence of all communications on IP networks and open software platforms has enabled a new UC paradigm, and is changing how individuals, groups and organisations communicate and collaborate.

Industry collaboration

According to Tan, Microsoft has made an equity investment in Aspect to accelerate UC solution delivery and adoption. Both companies will cross-license relevant intellectual property and fund joint R&D.

As part of the collaboration, Aspect will offer an end-to-end contact center solution based on Aspect Unified IP and the Microsoft UC voice over IP platform, he said.

Tan said that UC streamlines and enhances business processes that deal directly with customers, cutting operational cost.

UC and remote working

There were some 150 million remote workers worldwide in 2007, of which 77 per cent work from home at least once a week, according to JALA International.

Paul KrugerAllowing employees to work remotely can reduce the companys real estate and PC cooling costs, said Robbie Kruger (picture), chief technology officer, Asia-Pacific, Avaya (Singapore). Such arrangements also ensure business continuity should disaster disrupt the headquarters operations.

He noted that UC can facilitate remote working by giving employees ubiquitous access to the organisation, and provide visibility to the business on staff availability. I often travel out of the country where my office is based, and UC allows me to associate my mobile number with the office number.

Changing mindsets

Most organisations still see UC as a necessary evil, because they worry about lack of supporting infrastructure for such deployment, Kruger said. They also see UC as a cost rather than a means to gain competitive advantage.

In response, Avaya educates customer organisations by communicating business benefits of adopting UC. For example, UC takes latency out of processes and frees up staff to handle other tasks, Kruger said.

He added that UC can also facilitate just-in-time manufacturing, further reducing inventory costs. When applied to emergency medical services, hospitals can quickly find the nearest available nurse to attend to each patient. In the contact centre, UC increases the chances of first-time call resolution by granting customers quick access to appropriate enterprise expertise.

Asia-Pacific adoption

While most Asia-Pacific enterprises are adopting components of UC like unified messaging, they are not at the stage of using UC to re-design business processes for competitive advantage, Kruger said.

 

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