UC 10 years on: Mobile Disruption
By Guillaume Privat, Director, Adobe Connect
Continuing our blog serie on looking back at Unified Communications. Today, we will explore how mobile disrupted the overall UC space.
Do you remember the Cius ? The Cius was Cisco’s attempt to harness mobile into its UC play. Launched in 2011, the Cisco android tablet was end-of-lifed in late 2012.
UC solutions and ecosystems were initially developed, with the PC and deskphone in mind. They were PC-centric: workforce mobility meant people would carry a laptop around; calls to their extension would route either to their IP-phone on their desk or the “communicator” client on their laptop. UC solutions were very centralized and completely controlled by IT: IT would control which version of the software would be deployed and which functionalities (and even bandwidth amount) would be allocated to which employee.
This view of UC was rendered completely moot by 2 mega trends: BYOD and consumerization of IT.
Smartphone first and tablets second changed what mobility meant. Most sales rep, support technicians stopped carrying around laptop and instead could do most of their tasks on the road with just a tablet or a smartphone. Starting at the top of the organization, most of these new devices were not even purchased and managed by IT, but brought by the employees: this ushered the Bring Your Own Device trend. Many traditional vendor were incredulous. Surely IT would not let unsecure device access confidential and sensitive information outside. Vendors thought that there was a play to create a corporate standard for tablets approved and managed by IT: Cisco’s tried it with the Cius, Blackberry with the Playbook. Today still, UC vendors do not have a good answer to give users all the UC functionalities across tablets and smartphones.
And users did not wait for them. That was the start of the second trend: consumerization of IT. The app store model offered by Apple, Google, or Amazon enabled every individual to purchase any app that could make their work easier or improve their productivity. Sharepoint did not work on mobile? Users went and opened Box.net or Dropbox account. They used Skype, Tango or FaceTime for video / audio, etc… On the Connect team, we embraced that trends and develop the first fully functional web conferencing offering allowing not only to participate but also host meetings on Android and iOS. Users have selected on a best of breed model the app that compose their own individual UC stack. Most IT organization have deployed BYOD policy and are working to create catalog of approved apps that users can select from.
But most UC solutions are now how you communicate / collaborate when you are at your desk !
Join the conversation. Have UC solutions enabled mobility in your organization ? You can comment below or reply on Twitter @gprivat.