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The end of hardware: Is software the future of Unified Communications?

Unified Communications Consultant

We ask our consultants, with software on the rise, does hardware still have its place in the future of the unified communications industry?

 

Is software taking over?

 

Although we aren’t quite at a point where we can dispose of our desk phones and video endpoints, there is a clear trend emerging as companies are increasingly investing into flexible software solutions and cloud-based strategies, whilst simultaneously rejecting the increased capital expenditure that arises from a hardware-based infrastructure.

 

The new age of digital transformation is placing organisations under a huge amount of pressure to evolve at an ever-increasing pace in order to stay ahead of the game in terms of customer service and employee collaboration. Customers and employees want to see more communication platforms, along with increased personalisation and greater accuracy. These new demands are lending increased popularity to cloud-based solutions, which are specifically designed to be naturally flexible and scalable in ways that hardware solutions are not.

 

Does this mean the end for hardware?

 

In terms of hardware’s role in the unified communications space, the rise of software does not necessarily point to obsolescence by default. For example, whilst the use of video endpoints may be in decline, the popularity of video calls is at an all-time high, with 87% of professionals saying they feel more connected with their peers through the utilisation of video conferencing systems. This shows that users may not be abandoning the video endpoint entirely, but merely searching for more modern and versatile options when it comes to hosting video meetings.

 

What about SIP endpoints?

 

SIP endpoints are also showing signs of increased popularity within the unified communications space. SIP endpoints are faster to set up and easier to program than previous protocols and companies such as Cisco are flooding the SIP space with a comprehensive range of conferencing solutions.

 

The question, however, is for just how long SIP endpoints will continue to dominate the unified communications space. As the new age of remote working sees BYOD (bring your own device) becoming a reality for more and more companies, a study by Gartner showed that 50% of US employees were using their own devices in the workplace by the end of 2017.

 

When executed properly, BYOD can lead to increased productivity, reduced operational costs and a heightened sense of morale amongst employees. However, the issue of security must be considered, along with the question of just how businesses can ensure compliance when executing a strategy which incorporates BYOD.

 

How is the future of Unified Communications looking?

 

Whilst there remains to be a place for hardware in the unified communications space, it is undeniable that many companies are moving more and more aggressively towards software-focused strategies. As organisations of all shapes and sizes begin to abandon their legacy platforms in favour of UCaaS (unified communications as a service), and even CCaaS (contact centre as a service), strategies, it is likely that hardware purchases will continue to decrease in the future.

 

For the foreseeable, the future of unified communications will not involve the total abandonment of hardware, but instead will rely upon finding the right way in which to incorporate hardware in new, software-focused infrastructures.

 

Ask a Unified Communications Consultant

 

If you require advice on how your unified communications infrastructure can be prepared for the move to software, you may wish to contact a Unified Communications Consultant. For independent advice, contact 4C Strategies today on 01858 438938, or email webenquiries@4c.co.uk.

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