BYOD and UC: Destined for Each Other

It's always interesting to see when new business trends collide, and I think we are witnessing one such mashup right now between unified communications and "bring your own device," or BYOD. Both are new movements affecting enterprise IT in different ways, but if they can be brought together, the synergy possible makes for a better world for mobile corporate collaboration.

My thinking on the collision came from reading about a new survey from Ovum that  shows enterprises are positively betting on both UC and BYOD, with both still at the start of the mass-adoption curve. You can read a writeup of the survey over at eWeek.

The premise behind UC has been somewhat of a holy grail for a long time, at least ever since somebody looked around and saw a cell phone text message, an email screen, and an office phone with voice mail. Add in social media and other forms of communication and it's easy to see how knowledge workers could get overwhelmed just trying to keep up with messages. Though the search for the one single messaging system goes on, software and services are emerging daily to help unify communications, allowing for things like instant conferencing from a single device screen.

On the actual device side, BYOD is just starting to gain real power, after pretty much starting out as "executives want to get email on their iPads." Now more people from all parts of the enterprise are finding the device that helps them be most productive, and they want to use it for supported work. The collision happens when a UC campaign meets a device that may not be supported by a particular service or software.

The good news is, many UC vendors have already picked up on the problem and are moving as fast as they can to support as many of the top platforms as they can. When they finally get there, the combination of BYOD and UC will really take off, since one main benefit of UC is being able to have rich communications no matter where you are or what device you are using. We're still not there yet, but the combination of these two trends seems inevitable.

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