Last week, 16th and 17th May, Six Degrees exhibited at the UC Expo – the largest Unified Communications and Collaboration event in Europe. Here are our 5 key takeaways from the event:

1) Improving Productivity was the key topic in terms of business drivers for Unified Communications.

There was much debate around the digital workplace and acknowledgement that the proliferation of tools can actually drive us to be less productive. A top tip from an industry expert was that we need to strike a balance between “we” and “me”. So being in the office can be great for collaboration and communication, however to convert that in to productive outcomes, contemplation and concentration are also needed – and thus the opportunity to work in a way, place, or time of choosing will produce the best outcome. We also heard how in countries such as Germany who have full employment, the need to offer flexible and agile working has become part of the competition for attracting and retaining the best people.

2) Cloud Your Way:

According to research carried out by some providers, 70% of businesses globally still have on-premise solutions. However over 80% have a strategy to move to the Cloud.  Peak cloud migration is happening now and for large enterprises, smooth transition and the ability to run hybrid solutions so that networks can be maintained during that move, are crucial.  Rather than a big bang, many businesses want a more elegant approach to cloud – but at the same time – once the decision is made – or in the case of end of life of existing equipment or indeed a brand new startup with no incumbent tech, there is no reason not to go full cloud as soon as possible.

3) Have you really got a Solutions Provider or just a comms supplier?

Lots of small specialists – not many providers focussed purely on business solutions that can provide a comprehensive solution with network connectivity, full telephony, Cloud, UCaaS (with hybrid deployment option) and complimentary OTT services with flexible approach to integrations and selecting best of breed partners for additional services – all wrapped up with Solution Architects, Account Managers and Service Manager support with enterprise-grade SLA’s underpinning the service.

4) UCaaS is the new Netflix!

Think about it. Can you carry around your cable or satellite TV box in your pocket?  How quickly did you adopt WhatsApp – did anyone show you how to use it? Ease of use and convenience for consumption are absolute musts for successful adoption of cloud services. A single platform and experience rather than the complexity of multiple PBX assets and contracts to manage – siloed data, security, application sprawl, costs, shadow IT – the list goes on. Focussing on your core business is key to your success and the headache of choosing, implementing, running and maintaining next-generation UC is probably not how you want to use your precious IT resource.

5) AI is firmly on the Unified Communications roadmap.

While it may yet be unclear exactly how this will link into UC – we will need to work that out! We humans are constantly building new ways of collaborating and therefore generate more and more data to deal with. Humans are limited in terms of what we can interpret. The exponential growth of data from all the ways we communicate is a growing challenge with UC.  Rather than AI, if we instead think of as the less sinister Machine Learning, we can start to realise the real benefits along the lines of:

  1. Freeing up people from tedious tasks
  2. Removing human error
  3. Speeding up analysis and interpretation of data.

You can find more information about our Unified Communications solutions here; or if you’d like to discuss any specific questions you might have about how we could help drive your own productivity and digital communications strategy, please get in contact