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Taking a second look at the top 12 communications trends

By Diane Royer, senior marketing manager, Avaya, special to Network World
October 01, 2012 05:06 PM ET

Network World - This vendor-written piece has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

Back in February I blogged about "12 Communication Trends for 2012," and this year's trends generated so much interest we decided to take a midyear review. Here are the 12 broken down into hits, near hits and misses, along with commentary:

Hits

#1: Mobility raises the expectation of availability: It's not hard to find evidence that mobile connectivity is changing what consumers want from businesses and what employers expect from their people. It's the smartphone, tablet or other mobile device you're holding in your hand.

PEW STUDY: Half of US adults now own a smartphone or tablet

# 4: Businesses advance from social media to social business: Companies are increasingly using social media not only as a listening post but as a springboard to action. Establishing a command center dedicated to monitoring and responding to social media and social networking activity is becoming commonplace.

# 7: Social interactions expose customer care's flaws: Regardless of how much activity they generate on their own, businesses are inescapably immersed in the social media world. If they provide bad products or service, they'll hear about it in the social sphere.

Near Hits

#2: Contact centers test the value of voice: People are now accustomed to finding information they need online or by using interactive voice response (IVR) systems. But sometimes they really want or need to talk with someone. Businesses are increasingly taking a multimodal view that embraces the full scope of interactions, from a customer's query to an online chat to live human interaction.

#5: Social media and customer care enter into an arranged marriage: Not that long ago, the customer care team and the social media team in most organizations operated on separate tracks. Now, it's increasingly likely that each knows what the other is doing and that the two work together.

#6: The SIP bar is raised again: Organizations have been taking a stepwise approach to deploying Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology, typically starting with the money-saving move of installing SIP trunks. Having used SIP as the foundation to streamline enterprise networks or extend advanced communications to their small and midsize businesses, SIP users are now entering the next phase of adoption: deployment of SIP-enabled applications.

# 9: Continuous connectivity drives communications support services: If you wait for someone to report a problem with mission-critical communications, you may already be too late. Issue response can only be accelerated so much, so it's imperative to head off trouble before it happens.

# 10: Clients take control of managed services: Organizations are continuing to take a more active role in deciding whether to enter a managed service relationship. Key questions they are asking in this process include: Are our IT operating costs predictable? Do we have the IT staff we need?

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