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In this era of digitization, multimedia and cloud, the network
needs to evolve from connectivity to business continuity.

The topic of network evolution is certainly hot right now. It’s something the networking industry has been discussing for the better part of two decades. In the past, however, when it came to the network IT leaders had an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude. Even though the network didn’t run optimally, it wasn’t really hurting the business, so it stayed as it was.

But today in this era of cloud services, mobility and converged networks, traditional networks are no longer adequate. The network architecture currently in place is static in nature and highly under utilized. ZK Research estimates that traditional networks have an average utilization rate of 25 to 35%. What’s worse is that it’s actually hurting the performance of real-time, cloud and bandwidth intensive applications. If IT is ever to achieve the level of agility and dynamism required to enable businesses to become digital organizations, the network must now evolve.

By acquiring Glip, this cloud communications
company lands a spot in the emerging ‘workstream
collaboration and communications’ market.

Last week, as reported on No Jitter, RingCentral acquired Glip to move into what’s broadly known as the business messaging market. The solutions in this product class actually do much more than messaging and, after hours of discussions, my fellow industry watcher Dave Michels, TalkingPointz analyst, and I have settled on the name of “workstream collaboration and communications,” or WCC.

As Dave pointed out on Monday in his No Jitter post, “Making Enterprise Communications More Than Unified,” WCC solutions are designed for distributed and agile teams that need to make decisions or complete tasks quickly. Another important thing to understand about WCC is that the tools are rarely deployed as an IT initiative. Rather, the adoption tends to be viral by workers who want to use the tool instead of having the tool thrust upon them.

Three new solutions address the workplace of the future.

We’ve seen a lot of chatter on No Jitter and elsewhere about the changing business environment and the concept of the workplace of the future. Opinions differ on what that “workplace” looks like, but visualizing something that’s so much more than a physical space is hard. This is really about an experience or a way to work, which vendors must keep in mind as they design tools for use in the workplace of the future.

Polycom understands this mandate, as evidenced in three new RealPresence Platform solutions it announced this morning at InfoComm 2015. It designed the new products specifically to address the workplace of the future by improving the user experience and productivity of collaborative engagements.

Here’s a look at the new offerings.

The winning UC&C vendors in the digital era will be those that create
agile back ends that allow for rapid development of mobile apps.

With Cisco Live 2015 underway in San Diego this week, I can’t help but think of digital transformation — a significant theme in the keynote of outgoing CEO John Chambers — in context of unified communications and collaboration.

In his keynote, Chambers talked at length about the impact that digitization has had and will have over the next decade. He highlighted a handful of organizations, including poster children Airbnb and Uber, born in the digital era that have, in short order, disrupted some well-established industries.

Now business disruption is certainly nothing new; history is filled with new companies that grow at the expense of a legacy mainstay. Think of the way WalMart disrupted retail. Sears, K-Mart, and others have not been the same since.

Cisco Spark and other tools of its class provide maximum value for
small, agile teams working on fast projects or toward quick decisions.

Over the past couple of years, as I’ve noted previously here on No Jitter, we’ve seen the emergence of a new type of UC tool that is about what some industry watchers call “mobile, social collaboration” and others think of as “any-time communications.” Acano coSpaces, Cisco Spark, and Unify Circuit are specific examples, and you can find others from companies like Biba, Interactive Intelligence, and Slack. The concept behind these tools is easy enough to grasp, but really understanding what makes them different is difficult unless you’ve actually used them as intended.

My first two experiences with this class of tool didn’t exactly sell me on its value.

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