The Closing of the Social Age

by Jeff Wiener on November 8, 2012

The social age isn’t dead, in fact far from it—it’s moved quickly from a niche periphery to one of the key focal points in today’s business sector. But saying the social age has come to a close speaks to the fact that its become ubiquitously ingrained in our thinking; you either have a social presence, or you need one, but there’s no longer any question that you must have one. Simply put, like the age of the telephone or Internet, once it’s woven into the fabric of our lives, the epoch ends and another begins.

In fact, while we’re talking about the end of epochs, let’s include cloud computing and mobile to that list as well. Like social networking, both the cloud and mobile are no longer burgeoning optional technologies, both having become integral parts of any successful business strategy in this modern technological age.

But as history has shown us, when one age comes to close another invariably begins, and as businesses have resigned themselves to the reality of social, cloud, and mobile technologies, the age of unified communications is finally upon us.

While I’m sure there are a plethora of candidates for the next technological age, as I look at the telecommunications industry, the direction of technology, and the needs of the modern business, I can’t help but think that in the next three or four years unified communications will finally be taken seriously, one day becoming yet another thread in the tapestry of the modern business strategy.

When I talk about unified communications what I mean is pervasive and instant multi-platform communication and syncretisation, the ability to communicate with customers directly one-on-one from wherever you happen to be on whatever device you happen to have. It continues to surprise me how necessary the telecommunications sector finds unified communication strategies, and just how much the business world tends to ignore them. As CRM Buyer columnist Denis Pombriant quipped in an article earlier this year, “Unified communications is the most important solution we’re all ignoring these days.”

As communication channels continue to grow, the need to access those channels—be it voice, video, social, mobile, email etc…–instantaneously is becoming ever more important, particularly given the fact, as I’ve written about extensively before, that the modern desktop handset is quickly going the way of the Dodo bird.

Simply put, while unified communications is certainly nothing new, with products like Avaya’s IP Office 8.1 already offering a unified communications strategy (Avaya’s Flare Experience), its still not viewed as an essential tool for the modern business, meaning the age of unified communications has begun, an age that will likely end in the realization you can’t effectively manage your connected everything reality without a unified communications platform.

To better manage this connected everything future, where every workplace device from security cameras, to air conditioning, to computers and phones will soon be networked, unified communications promises a brave new world of connectivity and integration, where users can use any device they choose to fulfill most any communications need. So if perhaps you were a latecomer to the social, mobile, or cloud age, don’t let the unified communications epoch pass you by.

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