Mobile apps take 'center stage' in unified communications

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Mobility took "center stage" in unified communications offerings last year as employees demanded to use their personal mobile devices at work, observes Cindy Whelan, principal analyst for business network and wholesale services at Current Analysis.

UC vendors 8x8, Broadview, Comcast and Cbeyond all added mobile apps to support cloud-based UC features for Apple and Android mobile devices, including presence and instant messaging, call routing, Outlook integration and extension dialing, Whelan relates in a blog.

In addition, last year XO launched XO WorkTime, a containerization solution that enables Voice over Internet Protocol customers to switch between work and personal containers on their devices.

"As we move into 2014, mobility and BYOD will be key elements in the growth of UC solutions as carriers find ways to deliver services and features to the mobile workforce," Whelan says.

In addition, cloud and hosted UC solutions expanded in the mid-market level in 2014. "This shift can be attributed, at least in part, to marketing and education from service providers and telecom experts: as companies learn about these services and gain an understanding of how the services operate, and the carrier can demonstrate strong service availability metrics, the move to a hosted solution may seem less of a risk and more of a sound business decision," explains Whelan.

"It's not exactly going out on a limb to say that mobility and hosted solutions will play a leading role in UC service evolution in 2014. This is not to say that premises-based solutions are not in demand, but for mid-market companies looking for predictable costs along with service flexibility, hosted solutions will often fit the bill," Whelan concludes.

For more:
- read Whelan's blog

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