Voice is Still the Killer App

Stephen Mulligan
On: 15 Apr 2016
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Look, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been a staunch, vocal and unapologetic advocate for Unified Communications (UC) goodies like Instant Messaging, Presence, Video, Social Media, etc. for nearly 10 years now. Just read my other blog posts if you don’t believe me. And those UC tools have a really important role to play in speeding up communications, improving productivity and giving users a choice as to how they communicate to suit their location, device and connectivity. But. But.. BUT…!

It seems that (shock horror, stop the presses) even in the new hyper-connected, cyber-social world people still want to talk. I know, hard to believe, right? More and more these days, as I meet with customers and discuss their communications requirements, it is becoming apparent that talking is still incredibly important when it comes to dealing with customers and colleagues alike. What I’m hearing loud and clear (pardon the pun) is that a quality voice product is still extremely important to them. Yes, the other tools are great to have, but the whole thing must revolve around a flexible, easy to use and simple to manage high quality voice solution.

Gartner’s 2015 report on Enterprise Telephony references a couple of interesting trends on the topic…

“An increasing number of IT decision makers are evaluating the potential value of cloud telephony”

Moving telephony to the cloud makes complete sense. Why would you want to host your own phone system when you can pay a service provider a monthly fee for a simple, evergreen solution and avoid all the overhead and hassle? You’ve got a business to run, let someone else deal with the phone system.

“Suppliers are bundling their communications licenses and capabilities including voice, presence, IM, conferencing and mobility functionalities … Buyers likely will be overpaying for features that a minority of users access”

Bundles can be great if the common-use features are those being bundled. Flexible licensing is key here – you pay for what you want your users to use.

“With users becoming more mobile, organisations are interested in connecting incoming corporate telephony calls at the desktop with mobile devices”

Have you heard of Single Number Reach (SNR)? It’s where your landline and mobile ring simultaneously when someone calls your landline. You can answer the call on either. Furthermore, a CPN (Corporate Private Network) can make the mobile leg of those SNR calls on-net.

All that said, I don’t think UC is going anywhere just yet. According to their latest 2015 Hype Cycle report, Gartner categorises Unified Communications and Collaboration as being at the “Climbing the Slope” phase; i.e., coming up out of the “Trough of Disillusionment”. If you’re familiar with this model, this means it’s heading next for the Plateau of Productivity where it finally reaches its potential and becomes a mainstream technology (aww, they grow up so fast… sniff).

But, for the moment at least, dry your eyes man, Voice is still the killer app. I mean, even Microsoft are finally adding voice into Office 365.