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The top 5 UC tech trends enterprises should know

While the future of UC tech is hard to predict, Nemertes Research analyst Irwin Lazar takes an educated guess in his top 5 predictions for 2015.

Any good analyst makes bold -- and sometimes accurate -- predictions.  In no particular order, here are five items...

IT leaders should expect to see in the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market segment in 2015.

1. WebRTC will arrive.

WebRTC, the technology that turns a Web browser into a voice, video or screen-sharing endpoint, has garnered a lot of media attention and hype.  After more than two years, it has become a household word in the UC arena; however, enterprise deployments of WebRTC remain rare.  Sure, there are dozens of apps leveraging it, but according to Nemertes' benchmark research, just 3.4% of IT leaders deployed WebRTC in 2014. Deployments will accelerate in 2015, thanks to the combination of adopted video standards and broader availability of WebRTC-based capabilities from larger UC vendors.

2. Cloud video will dominate.

 While just 18% of companies are using cloud-based video-conferencing services, Nemertes research shows that number will hit nearly 30% by the end of 2015.  Cloud video's low capital cost, easy extensibility to business partners and customers, and increasingly available options mean it will only become more popular.

3. Mobile messaging will enter the UC realm.

I admit, I'm cheating a bit on this one, as companies like Cisco and Unify have already introduced apps that combine UC with mobile messaging, document sharing and persistent workspaces. Meanwhile, a lot of end-user workgroups are kicking the tires on apps like HipChat, Glip, Slack and many more.  I think these types of apps will become an integral part of collaboration planning in 2015, thanks to their ability to integrate a variety of disparate collaboration channels into a unified, synchronous and asynchronous workspace.

4. The PSTN will die.

By the end of 2015, just 17.6% of companies won't have SIP trunking for PSTN access.  That means the PSTN as we know it, digitally based, will continue to wither and likely begin to die once and for all in 2015.  It also means a growing market for session border control and SIP application servers.

5. Net neutrality, data caps and provider squabbles will cause enterprise pain. 

We're already seeing examples of mobile data caps, disputes over SMS carriage and residential throttling impact enterprise plans for mobile video, customer notification systems and telework.  These problems will only get bigger in 2015 as service and content providers -- and the U.S. government -- squabble over establishing the rules that govern Internet traffic.  IT leaders will see their best laid plans negatively impacted by rising costs and unreliable services until rules -- and subsequent court fights -- are settled.

So there you have it. Five UC predictions for 2015 that are bound to go wrong; or maybe, just maybe, I'll get them right this time.

Next Steps

Advice on replacing PSTN with SIP trunking

What to expect from a WebRTC application

How to pick the best video conferencing system

This was last published in December 2014

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In many ways, WebRTC is already here. Apps like Join.me do a pretty good job of this. While I can't speak for larger organizations, it works quite nicely for graphical pairing (with applications like screen and tmux doing a pretty nice job on the command line, though with those having a secondary voice communication like X-Lite is needed.
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