The morphing of VoIP into Unified Communications, Collaboration and beyond

VoIP has grown up to become ‘collaboration’ and this will be nothing short of a revolution in how we all do our jobs.

Now that all of your communication methods can be combined, or unified into a single system that is interoperable with other systems, what happens next?

Today, the shift is from simply using IP based voice communications to actually creating an immersive communications experience. Video, presence, enterprise social networking and that new term collaboration are moving in to stay. I write this with the understanding that many may not believe it. After all, video over IP has been around for awhile, and the promise of high quality video conferencing has been pretty elusive. Sitting in a meeting looking at a person on a tv who looks like they are made of small squares that keep disappearing and reappearing, with a message that keeps popping up, "buffering, please wait" was many people’s first video impression. Clearly, it was a something that needed work, and today, it is an order of magnitude more advanced in quality and experience.

The work going on now to create this immersive communications experience is really quite impressive. We are seeing every new piece of consumer hardware come equipped with a social media side, linking to existing social media networks, or in some cases, allowing people to build their own. We are seeing this expectation of constant communication seeping into the enterprise as well.

As someone who's been configuring and using voice and video technologies through this transition, I can say that we are at a time once again when technology is changing day-to-day life and work. Telepresence systems cut travel budgets, enhance conversations with visual cues you simply cannot experience on a phone, and offer new opportunities in business, education, medicine, etc. Collaboration software such as enterprise focused social networks allow groups to work together in an instant and feature-rich environment. And finally, businesses can greater leverage their developed IP infrastructure, meaning engineers can design and implement new and exciting technologies.

Reaching this point may have taken some time, but I believe collaboration and it's effects are as revolutionary as the first phone call made over an IP network.

So now the question is, what do you see as the future of collaboration technology and where will it take you, personally, at home or at work?

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