Despite all the ways technology is changing the way we communicate, some of the basics are still as true today as they were a couple hundred years ago. Jeff Pulver, the social media guru, made that point in a conversation we had regarding my guest blog at his Pulver.com site.
Jeff noted that just as our ancestors did, we still do business by meeting in person, by exchanging information, and by ongoing communication. Of course, we communicate in seconds while our ancestors communicated via letters delivered by people on horses, days and weeks after the letters were written. So there’s a bit of a change there. But as Jeff put it, “the platforms change, but certain basic needs don’t go away, regardless of the platform.”
The way I see it, that’s a good argument for Unified Communications. As technologically advanced as it may be, UC still addresses those basic needs. We still “meet” to do business, although with UC you can arrange a video meeting in an instant. Or you can determine the presence of the various individuals, and message each of them in the way that works best for them in order to set up a face-to-face meeting in the third floor conference room in an hour. One of them might get a text, another a call at her desk, someone else an e-mail, and another a mobile call.
We still exchange information, and UC streamlines that by enabling on-the-fly collaboration on a shared project, or by providing simultaneous access to an information source in the course of a video meeting. And as social media gets involved, maybe that information source is an internal company wiki or an intranet-based Facebook-style application.
As the next generation of employees enters the workforce, they’re going to take this style of communication for granted, compared with us “veterans” who have done a fair amount of evolving over the last 15 to 20 years. The enterprise network is going to have to evolve, too, in order to take advantage of the potential of UC and social media. SIP trunking (VoIP for business), mobile integration, and increased use of wireless to enable working anywhere and anytime are among the changes enterprises will need to incorporate. Even with all that, we’re still going to be addressing those basic needs – we’re just going to do it better and more quickly and efficiently.