Shoretel CEO Sees Unified Communications Heading to the Cloud

    Despite all the hype, unified communications (UC) hasn’t lived up its promise of being a transformational technology and it probably won’t until it’s delivered via the cloud as a service.

    That’s the basic conclusion Shoretel CEO Peter Blackmore came to during a speech delivered at the ITEXPO West conference this week. Even with the latest offerings on the market, UC products are still too difficult to deploy and support.

    The good news, says Blackmore, is that UC technology deployments in the cloud will make significant strides in adoption as UC technologies become more accessible in the cloud over the next 20 months. Blackmore doesn’t expect on-premise solutions to disappear entirely, but the mix between on-premise and cloud computing solutions will definitely lean towards the cloud, says Blackmore.

    A key driver of that shift will be greater use of videoconferencing in the cloud, which will either be coupled with or tightly integrated with a variety of UC services. Other key drivers are the advent of SIP trunking and the rise of bring your own device (BYOD) in the enterprise. The former makes it easier to integrate services, while the latter creates an incentive for end users to access cloud UC services from both inside and outside the office, says Blackmore.

    What customers at a bare minimum will demand, adds Blackmore, is an experience that is roughly equivalent to what they can avail themselves as consumers of services offered by companies such as Apple and Google. Unfortunately, this may all prove to be a cold comfort to all the IT people who have in recent years pulled their hair out trying to make UC work within their organization. At least before too long UC will be mostly someone else’s problem.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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