IoT and UC—When Their Worlds Collide

By WPG AmericasFebruary 23, 2016

It’s always exciting to see new opportunities arise when two technologies enter each other’s orbits—something that’s happening with Unified Communications (UC) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Especially when it comes to collaboration and communication in the enterprise space, there exists plenty of possibilities of interplay between IoT and UC. But, how exactly do their paths cross?

In a recent report, Frost & Sullivan identified IoT as one of the “mega trends” that’s supporting UC market growth in APAC. For IoT to deliver on its promises of improved data-driven collaboration and better business outcomes, it will require a robust and integrated platform like unified communications.

Besides, UC itself aims to solve one of the longstanding obstacles to efficient communication with the enterprise—lack of connected dots between different processes. Therefore, when UC joins hands with IoT, we can expect a seamless flow of information and intelligence between devices, employees in various departments in an organization, and its customers.

IoT and UC – The Next Power Couple in the Enterprise Collaboration Space? 

As businesses are increasingly becoming global and/or virtual, they are looking for better ways to collaborate with their employees, clients, and partners across the world. Employees’ workplace demands are giving rise to new business realities such as remote work, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and so on. There’s a growing emphasis on working from anywhere and still being able to collaborate with colleagues and business units just as effectively.

UC, with its ability to support anywhere-anytime collaboration and more, has emerged as an excellent communication and collaboration tool for modern businesses. Plus, UC as a solution that integrates several communication applications—email, voice, video, text, chat—into one platform, removes integration and multi-vendor management headaches from the equation.

UC also makes it possible for manufacturers to access IoT data from any device—a factor that has several use cases in the enterprise. For instance, data from IoT devices could also transform customer service in ways nothing short of revolutionary. Today’s devices are increasingly attaining self-diagnose capabilities, which will enable them to immediately notify the contact centre of the issue, often before the customer realizes. IoT data from video surveillance and equipment monitoring sensors can be used to alert personnel to dangerous situations to improve employee and customer safety. In all these use cases, information can be communicated easily and efficiently to every concerned process within an organization seamlessly when UC is integrated with a company’s IoT strategies.

UC and IoT Supports the Changing Ways Customers Prefer to Communicate with Brands

Let’s think of a scenario. With an estimated annual buying power of $200 billion, millennials are an attractive consumer segment for brands and businesses. However, just like their attitude towards work, their purchase preferences and the way they buy is different from older generations. For instance, millennial shoppers tend to be more familiar with and in favor of interacting with brands via several communication channels instead of relying on just emails and phone calls like their parents. Companies are under a growing pressure to offer customer service across all these channels, failing which they risk appearing less customer-friendly to millennial consumers.

However, not just millennials but customers, regardless of their generation, demand faster resolution times and are less tolerant of delays. UC helps improve customer service and contact center operations by letting agents resolve a specific issue through the most appropriate and effective channel. Also the “presence” feature allows agents to check whether a colleague is available before transferring the resolution call, eliminating the long wait times. IoT fits perfectly in this space because machine-to-human link of the IoT helps initiate the customer service process even before the customer senses the problem and most importantly, through devices they already own.

In a world where unified communications has become an enterprise necessity and IoT presents opportunities and challenges of a hyper-connected future, UC-IOT integration could be a logical step for businesses wanting to take their enterprise collaboration to the next level.