Unified Communications and the Edge: The Value of IoT Integration



    Unified communications (UC) has been around for 20+ years. And at this point, messaging, video, voice, and mobile are the norm for business communications. Service providers have capitalized on that innovation and have started to look ahead.

    Now, service providers are looking for ways to make the most out of Internet of Things (IoT) innovation. More and more devices are being deployed at the edge, and with increasing levels of intelligence.

    These systems and services shouldn’t exist in vacuums, though. You may be comfortable with your UC services and eager to focus on IoT innovation, but the real value comes from seamless integration.

    Workforce Productivity vs. Backend Efficiency

    At first glance, it may not seem like your unified communications and IoT systems have much in common.

    On the one hand, you have UC services that are entirely focused on facilitating collaboration to improve workforce productivity. With the right combination of services and accessibility, you can ensure that employees can interact with one another in the most efficient manner, whether it’s asynchronous, synchronous, in-office, or on the move.

    However, IoT investments are generally focused on technology and machine-to-machine communication. You deploy widespread intelligent edge devices to unlock deeper, more valuable data streams. And when you have sensors and other equipment sending data directly to your backend systems, you can gain insights into your business (and customers) that will help improve efficiency.

    That separation of focus—people vs. technology—is what makes UC and IoT seem like such disparate investments. In reality, that’s the whole point—using IoT technology can boost UC value and make a workforce even more productive.

    Use Cases for IoT and UC Integration

    The processes of data collection, analysis, and action don’t have to be separated. In many cases, IoT data streams are analyzed as their own entities and a unique system is used to generate valuable insights.

    Communications service providers and businesses leveraging IoT and UC will gain more value by consolidating these data streams and delivering key insight directly to collaboration tools.

    By integrating these systems, your main advantage will become rapid response times. In the age of digital transformation, businesses across all industries can’t afford the typical lag time between data collection and execution of actionable insights. The use cases are endless, but these are two use cases specifically for CSPs:

    • Troubleshooting is one of the most challenging aspects of the service provider business. Customers often don’t have the insights you need to pinpoint a problem. But with intelligent edges, you can collect the data points necessary to spot problems. And when you go a step further with UC integration, you can proactively send alerts to service representatives and account managers to stay ahead of customer communication.
    • From a security standpoint, it’s not enough to simply have monitoring solutions and innovative protection software in place. Attackers find unique ways to circumvent defenses every day—especially when it comes to communications systems. Without direct access to service data and security incidents, your IT team won’t be able to proactively address attacks. UC integration means you can have alerts sent directly to the appropriate teams for faster resolution.

    These are two internal use cases for UC-IoT integration. But when you consider the value for your customers, the applications grow exponentially. Being able to empower the workforce with IoT-generated insights can drastically improve business for both you and your customers.

    The key to integrating UC and IoT is having a backbone of support capable of bridging the gap between the two. That’s where Network Edge Orchestration comes into play.




    Article reposted with permission from John Macario of Ribbon Communications