The Mobilization of Collaboration

Carl Weinschenk

The mobilization of everything continues. Indeed, it sometimes seems so natural that the shift goes unnoticed. Until recently, two key areas of interest for enterprise communicators-mobility and collaboration-rarely overlapped. If a collaborative meeting was going on, most participants would make it a point to be at their desks with fully functional, high-horse power computers. Folks on the road likely would dial in to hear what was going on, but couldn't take part in the same way as their deskbound compatriots. Passive attendance, however, is considerably better than missing the meeting entirely.

 

The advent of high capacity mobile networks, smartphones and a generation of high-tech youngsters entering the workforce has changed all that. Now everybody expects to collaborate, via sophisticated unified communications platforms, on a much more equal basis no matter where they are or what type of device they are using. In short, both the users and the technology have changed.

 

Vendors, service providers and carriers are making this possible. Cisco is well positioned by its core networking business and the unified communications/collaboration assets it has assiduously amassed during the past few years. This week, the company further codified the effort by unveiling Collaboration in Motion, an initiative that eWeek reports will combine services from WebEx and the company's Unified Communications, Unified Wireless Network and Advanced Services units.


Cisco, of course, isn't the only company moving in this direction. UC Strategies' Art Rosenberg points to a press release last week from Sprint which spelled out the ways in which its "Now Network" can be used to facilitate the important, but difficult, shift from an essentially stationary deployment to one in which people are truly distributed and in motion. Rosenberg discusses the importance of mobility and the significance of Sprint's moves.

 

The mobilization of UC and collaboration is nothing new, of course. It is hard to overestimate the challenge. On one hand, designers are dealing with a highly eclectic and varied number of form factors and operating systems and networks. There also are significant security and management issues. The good news is that Cisco, Sprint and a whole host of other very smart companies filled with very smart people are on the case.



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