IT Road Map of Unified Communications Until 2013 — Creating “New Experiences” in Communication
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Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI: Tokyo; Akihisa Fujinuma, Chairman and President, CEO & COO) announces an IT Road Map* forecasting developments of Unified Communications until 2013. Unified Communications refers to software technology that unifies complicated, diverse communication media into a single system, while making the best use of the advantages of each system. This technology enables seamless and efficient use of these media.
Today, business activities employ a variety of communication media that are free from time and place restrictions. These include mobile phones, electronic mail, telephone software for PCs, web conferencing and instant messaging. However, because these tools are often used as separate products and in different ways, a complicated communication environment is often created within a company.
In the future, in linkage with IP contact centers and business applications for fields such as distribution and finance, Unified Communications technology will enable “intelligent routing” to automatically connect the most suitable persons at optimal timing via optimal communication media. In increasingly diversified business environments, Unified Communications offer ample potentialities for creating new experiences (value) and largely changing work style.
Until 2008: Era of single-function communication for each usage purpose
New communication styles that are not bound by time and place will gain recognition in business activities such as web conferencing that integrates voice, video and data, instant messaging that offers a higher real-time attribute than electronic mail and enables conversation based on typed text, telephone software for PCs that enables use of a company’s extension numbers even from business trip destinations, and the presence function that enables checking the status of the person with whom one wants to contact (whether at the desk, outside the office, during a meeting, and so on). However, because each means of communication is not fully integrated, companies will simply introduce software that only meets their needs and usage purposes.
2009 to 2011: Dawning phase of Unified Communications
Leading vendors will begin to evolve Unified Communications on a full-scale basis in the Japanese market, which will lead to the start of the unification and/or linkage of communication media such as web conferencing, instant messaging, telephone software and presence settings. In particular, users will experience new, unprecedented value in a style of communication that enables them to check the status of a person with whom they want to contact and to use the optimal communication medium. However, Unified Communications during this phase will be centered on PCs, and will pose some inconveniences such as “restricting use to locations where PCs are installed,” “requiring peripheral devices such as headsets,” and “failing to offer conversations with a high sense of realism.” Accordingly, only those companies that have specific needs will introduce this technology.
In and after 2012: Spreading phase of Unified Communications
During this phase, Unified Communications will be widely used for business activities. A major factor behind such expected widespread use is the increasing trend now seen in Europe and the US towards the use of mobile phones equipped with PC software. If mobile phones that everyone always has at hand can be used as part of Unified Communications, seamless and efficient communication will be enabled at any time and anywhere, largely changing work style.
Furthermore, progress in technology will bring about two new types of experience (value). The one value relates to the linkage between IP contact centers, business applications for fields such as distribution and finance and Unified Communications. Such linkage will enable intelligent routing to connect the most suitable persons at optimal timing via optimal communication media based on customer information (purchase history, contact history, etc.) and alert information (inadequate inventory, emergencies, etc.). While communication is now most often originated by a person, it will become possible for a system to originate communication. The other value is the spread of communication offering a high sense of presence nearly equivalent to face-to-face conversation by using large-screen displays. During this phase, the performance of wired and wireless connections will be further improved as represented by NGN (next generation networking) and WiMAX (worldwide interoperability for microwave access), and prices of large-screen displays will be reduced. These factors will promote the penetration of such communication.
IT Road Map: The IT road map is designed to provide NRI’s forecast of trends in information technology over the next five years with the aim of supporting companies in making decisions on IT strategies. NRI’s Information Technology Research Department publishes this report semiannually.