eve – unified communications for the uncertain

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Mark Saunders, Marketing Director at leading Gloucestershire based communications service provider, 9 Group,  reflects on the advent and progress of unified communications (UC), while pondering how a new disruptive cloud based communications and collaboration platform, called eve, could represent a tempting option for the modern business.


My loyal reader will recall my fulminating discourse last month, entitled digital transformation for the discerning, so I thought, why not be mildly alluring and focus my gaze on another communications industry buzz phrase this month; unified communications.  In the same way that I have already questioned whether a single customer has ever actually asked to be digitally transformed, I remain healthily sceptical as to whether anyone in business has truly ever expressed an ardent, or even fervent desire to have their communications unified.  So why the fuss and bother then?


The notion that the scorching pace of communications technology enables us to do things which may have no real business application or customer demand is of course, nothing new.  Industry veterans, like your correspondent, remember with dwindling affection BT’s trailblazing introduction of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) in the mid-1980s, which promised much, but was rapidly rechristened as “it still does nothing,” or “I still don’t need (it).”  Thankfully it is to be laid to rest by BT by 2025 and replaced by the snappily monikered Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP.


Turning back to UC, my old nemesis, the emerging millennial decision maker, may well have a case to answer yet again.  I have made note previously of the disruption caused by these youthful and restless titans, who have all grown up with a bewildering array of communication tools, apart from the humble fixed or mobile telephone.   My twenty plus year old daughter has always been puzzled by the idea of making a call to the fixed line number of someone who you did not know would actually be there.  This affinity for presence based communication and an engrained familiarity with social media, presents employers with real challenges. The millennial may tolerate e mail and remain faithful to the occasional text message, but there is no lasting appetite for dated communications technology from the Instagram, Snapchat and who knows Whats App next generation.


Hoping not to labour my theme too much, your next aspiring superstar apparently values role mobility and flexibility in the same category as basic pay, when choosing an employer.  So, not only do you need to pander to the modern communication foibles of these acolytes, you need to make it seamless, and frictionless for them to operate where they are, not just in the office where you might once have worked.  Making sure that these types of remote interactions and information sharing can be delivered from a single reliable platform, which is both hugely capable and seriously secure, is the distilled essence of unified communications.


Why is this trend not just a niche curiosity that I can safely choose to ignore for now?  Well, enabling your staff and customers to interact with your organisation by using the platform and media of their choice, not yours, may well be a decisive differentiator and enabler for the successful business in the next decade, so perhaps we all need to treat this stuff seriously.


Now for the sneaky sales bit.  At 9, we have developed our own hosted communication platform, in conjunction with globally proven vendors, such as Mitel, Cisco and Oracle.  When we were searching for an identity for this new product, we eschewed the ABC 456X nomenclature beloved of the traditional  communications hardware world and gave our product a name, a personality and a female gender.  Hence, we created eve, which is short for “exceptional voice everywhere,” a supremely capable platform with bags of integration and collaboration features, so that voice calls can be made across a range of fixed and mobile devices, tasks visibly managed and business information accessed, discussed or shared in a secure manner, irrespective of location.  Transformative?  Definitely.  A modern tool for the modern office millennial you might say.