2014 really was the year that was. Information Technology (IT) has for quite a while threatened to play such a fundamental role in our lives that we would struggle to function without it. In my opinion 2014 was the tipping point year where the silos between “technology” at home, play or work blurred into one – “a SMART one”. Through 2014 something SMART with a processor, memory, storage and a battery at its heart became the secondary brain that the developed/developing world leveraged to optimise and enhance “living”. Personal & work smartphones became just “smartphones” as BYOD moved from a disruptive marketing fad to an important catalyst for end user behavioural change within organisations. Mobile working, once the poor relation of “working in the office” became the must have work mode through 2014 opening the door to transformed organisational working outcomes through 2015 – watch this one as it should be the biggest technology user led transformation yet.
The internet of “stuff” (I’m bonding the Internet or Things and Everything) with sensor packed connected devices always on and transmitting data across the wireless airspace emerged as the new battleground for customer service and market control. The IOT/IOE topic gained a head of steam through 2014 but watch it fly through 2015 as connected devices leverage harmonised data to really behave in a “human SMART” manner. And as I briefly continue with the key stories of 2014, I will be remiss not to discuss the shift from “cloud HYPE” to “cloud RIPE” as cloud service providers on mass utilising software-defined datacenter, network and security ideals presented an increasing portfolio of real world, customer validated services that deliver essential outcomes to a now captive and receptive enterprise audience. Cloud is now here ………..
Phew – all in all there was an abundance of IT good news through 2014 that should act as a springboard for greater things through 2015. But was it all good news? Back to the recap, an ever increasing population of mobile device users, generating masses of then stored or transmitted information, talking to sensors that transmit or store masses of information, that interact with enterprise IT systems that process and store a mass of information and so on and so on must be a good thing. When leveraged for beneficial personal, customer, enterprise or society based reasons the potential to drive value is unparalleled. However that same footprint of rich, relevant, always increasing data/information is equally digital gold for hackers who aim to utilise it in completely different manner.
The result, 2014 also saw a rise to unprecedented levels of one of the biggest concerns now at the executive top table, “security breaches”. With hacks now the norm within end user, offline / online enterprises and even nation states, 2014 and the mass of data moving freely around the heavily digitised world changed the importance personal consumers and enterprise organisations placed on information security. Since the dawn of the modern IT era, IT security has been just that “security for IT devices” often developed and managed by technologists. 2015 will see a major acceleration of a trend already permeating the enterprise with IT security a fundamental core of “enterprise information security” (that adopts a holistic view of enterprise end to end business security posture that includes IT). Security not a top priority through 2015? – not an option!
But no more talk about 2014, 2015 is here and its now. If 2014 was a dry run for the new face of people centric, end user fulfilling IT, 2015 is the year to make it happen. The end user is now king and long live the king (and queen). Stay tuned as we continue with this topic – (well at least for another 11 months).
Until next time.
As a recent joiner to Computacenter, it’s no secret I am no spring chicken. I have worked in this industry for close on thirty years so this has given me a great perspective on the changes we have seen take place. When thinking back I can recall the Car Phone morphed into the Mobile Phone , and then into the Smart Phone.
The Web has gone through numerous phases of development, at the start of this century there was a lot of noise about Web 2.0 and what this meant for Web Services. Unified communications is no different , we really saw this technology emerge in the early “noughties” and the big innovators were our colleagues at Cisco. They realized that being able to use the same network for both Voice and data made sense. It took a number of years before what was called Call Manager became widely accepted but today we recognise this as IP telephony (IPT) and we see this as industrial strength, mature and low risk solution.
Unified communications has reached the second major phase it is development. We should call this “UC 2.0”. This type of multi-media UC emerged from about 2006/7 but really has only become more widely recognised in the last three years. Microsoft were probably the first to move into the second phase of UC development. The same trend of increasing services and value is occurring, both Microsoft and Cisco recognise that the modern workplace can leverage a range of Collaborative services and this increasingly means in a mobile and remotely connected world.
“UC 2.0” offers Instant Messenger, Presence , Desktop Conferencing, Audio Conferencing , Unified In-Box, Voice Telephony and Video Conferencing. It can be accessed from anywhere where an internet connection can be made available. It still supports the traditional handset but many use a “soft phone” – as it is so portable! One key element is the ability to transition between these different media seamlessly, this is probably in my view one of the key ingredients of “UC 2.0”.
With further convergence of technology Smart Phones make excellent platforms for using UC, and both vendors support a wide range of devices. We also see a convergence of traditional Telepresence and UC platforms.
This multi-media world, supports a less hierarchical command and control style of organisation. Virtual teams can be quickly brought together, people can work from almost anywhere in the world companies can exchange a range of communications between each other securely, this helps strong business partnership and enhance the business value chain. At Computacenter many of our managed services customers can now contact us via Instant Messenger for example. As I said I like to refer to this as UC 2.0 , does this work for you?