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BYOD May Put The Unified In Communications

Employee-owned tablets and smartphones may be the key to making videoconferencing pervasive and useful to business, says Avaya.

The third element: BYOD (and BYO application) mean a greater volume of multimedia content and mobile devices must be accommodated on the network. As a result, he said, many businesses are assessing their networks to ensure they have the network capacity to operate effectively. As they look to boost their network capacity, many are also attracted by the promise of high-quality videoconferencing.

Unified communications (UC) is the familiar name for this technology, but Moulton suggested "democratization of video" is a better way to describe the coming together of multiple communications media in one useful whole. "Businesses now require non-proprietary, truly open solutions so they can make the most of the systems they already have," he said. "So 2013 is the year where 'rip and replace' becomes 'enable and enhance,' and interoperability across multivendor UC and videoconferencing solutions and devices on the desktop and on mobile is set to take off."

Here's the product pitch bit. You can't hook up even your snazziest and jazziest 128-GB iPad straight to the enterprise network. Things like Facetime and Skype are great, he said, but aren't secure, don't offer easy ways to share content and documents and, most critically, are poor at recording interactions (a deal-killer for any kind of regulated or compliance-sensitive industry).

The solution, Moulton said, is to invest in a multimedia conference unit (MCU), install that in the network and then buy software to link it to your employee's desktops or laptops. That way, he promised, we finally would get some real UC, as a team member can choose to respond to an instant message with a video call, take part in an internal meeting with remote colleagues via smartphone, and share presentations on the run. In other words, all the benefits of video as a flavor of the desktop experience, not an extra or a toy for the executives.

And the real business reason to do all this? "Voice-driven teleconferences go on and on," he says. "When someone goes on mute, you have no idea what they are really up to. But with video ... everyone works and the conference gets done a whole lot quicker."

That could be the real reason 2013 does finally become "video year" for some teams.

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Drew Conry-Murray
Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
2/8/2013 | 8:42:34 PM
re: BYOD May Put The Unified In Communications
I think technology is only part of videoconferencing's problem. Even if it was easy and cheap to do work-related VC, I wouldn't. I find videoconferencing to be intrusive, and it would make me cringe every time I had to use it. I wouldn't be surprised if other people feel the same. I'm sure the big UC vendors can overcome the technology and cost issues. They'll have a harder time overcoming users' ingrained reluctance.

Drew Conry-Murray
Editor, Network Computing
User Rank: Apprentice
2/21/2013 | 6:52:37 PM
re: BYOD May Put The Unified In Communications
I agree that BYOD is allowing for more communication and more unification. In our healthcare facility, we had an old system that didn't allow for unified communication due to HIPAA compliance requirements. Once we got a HIPAA compliance text messaging app (Tigertext) we were able to impliment a limited BYOD policy and unify some of of our BYOD communication while maintaining HIPAA compliance.
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