The Unified Communications (UC) market over the last decade has seen technological variations bring software-defined solutions to expand the reach and features promoting applicability to modern requirements. The global UC market size was valued at USD 56.33 billion in 2018 and is projected to record a CAGR of 16.8% for the period of 5 years from 2019 to 2025. UC solutions in modern times are not just restricted to specific telecommunication equipment or a certain user; rather, every employee is provided with access to real-time services of conferencing, messaging, data sharing, and phone communication using various devices. UC has been utilized by businesses to better streamline the processes with the integration of AI with UC solutions, bringing the required digital transformation every organization demands in the environment of global technological change.
Technology change has been the most prominent part of UC development; AI and Machine Learning (ML) in the communication sector are creating better opportunities for team collaboration bringing machine-to-human interaction. The algorithms are identifying the most common scenarios that might arise in business workflow, ergo training bots, and virtual assistants to overcome such challenges. In 2018, Cisco Systems, Inc. announced that it would integrate AI capabilities in its UC platform for improving customer experience.
This is just an overview of how the current customer experience users will have with the UC solutions, but underneath many of these solutions lies the problem that many businesses might face with the growing technology. So, as technology changes, organizations’ approach toward the UC strategy is beginning to transform. Organizations need to have a strategy to address several of the questions surrounding UC security, VoIP compliance, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks. Here are 4 of the most standout questions every business needs to answer before adopting UC solutions:
1. Security of UC
UC consists of various data sources using different mediums to transfer information. Each of the tools, such as voice, video, and messaging, are facing different threats. IT teams managing security are bound to face various threats and need to build a secure network to connect all the communication channels. The main challenge every IT team faces and should work toward alleviating is content security, Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks, and protection from service hijacking. Many IT experts feel that encryption is one of the ways they can prevent hackers from stealing information while monitoring Voice over IP traffic. Most businesses have deployed a security feature of firewall in their products to combat many of the security threats.
2. SIP trunking
Traditional and cloud SIP trunks differ in the way of their maintenance and management. The end-user organizations manage traditional SIP trunks while the cloud SIP trunks are often managed and monitored by the provider. Traditional SIP trunks require network configurations, and the organizations need to consider network configuration for better call quality. Organizations with remote workers will need to provide the users with VPN to give them access to cloud SIP trunks that offer flexibility to all.
3. Location tracking requirements that VoIP must meet
Provisions for emergency calling services have changed with the rise in smartphones, as they have become more prevalent in organizations. The changes in the services are meant to provide organizations with emergency services that receive the current location from VoIP calls or mobile devices. Enhanced 911 (E911) is a set of requirements that explicitly address various opportunities in terms of location tracking for mobile devices. Organizations on multiple levels need to work with VoIP providers to see what E911 options are available and contact various E911 providers to check the local regulations.
4. Mitigating VoIP security threats
VoIP is vulnerable to several of the risks, and various threats such as distributed DDoS attacks along with evil twin attacks and man-in-the-middle attacks. IT teams need to deploy measures to defend various VoIP systems; even a good firewall can prevent the DDoS attacks boarding a VoIP system with massive amounts of data. To mitigate the man-in-the-middle attacks and call jacking, organizations should use VPNs and encryption to prevent the interception of SIP traffic.
UC trends businesses should watch out in 2020,
1. Skype for business online is set to be integrated. Along with that, organizations need a migration plan before 2021. Developing a pilot program will assist the companies in testing the Teams’ implementation plan before having a complete roll out for the entire company. Organizations are even evaluating a better migration technology compared to Teams. Currently, in Teams, the telephonic features are not yet available, and it depends on how important they are to the business.
2. The current growing debate between Microsoft and Cisco for business communication will be on the rise in 2020 and will not be dying down anytime soon. Currently, both the vendors are pushing their Teams platform, and this struggle is better for the organizations. It will provide them with different capabilities, security features, and pricing options to improve business communication. UC vendors are, in fact, turning to AI to enhance and provide better services using various virtual assistants, automation, and real-time transcription. AI-driven smart cameras can add different capabilities such as background blur, object identification, and even automatic zooming capabilities based on image identification. AI and ML can help in the adoption of UC, affecting employee skills and job responsibilities, while virtual assistants also deliver automation, eliminating the mundane tasks, to help employees to focus more on projects.
Organizations are trying to integrate cloud with their UC systems; the combination is enabling the different levels of employees to access the same communication capabilities. Organizations need to carefully evaluate their existing communication infrastructure that will assist in determining the approach toward cloud-based UC. Adding cloud capabilities will mean that the business can reduce its investment toward staffing, including the collaboration and development teams. With AI and ML already setting the tone for businesses, the challenge lies in the fact that with every technological development, there will be added security scenarios to solve.
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