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GCN : March 2013
hen it comes to uni ed communications, don't talk to your employees about the infrastructure. What they want to hear is how integrating voice, video and data traf c will make it easier for them to do their jobs. Organizations that miss that point also will miss out on the real bene t of UC. It all comes down to access. Employees who are used to nding and sharing information on the y in their personal lives are looking to do the same at work. "In a nutshell, UC is about provid- ing users with ubiquitous access to their communications capabilities," wrote Rob Arnold, a senior analyst at market research rm Frost and Sul- livan, on the rm's blog. That means being able to work "from nearly anywhere and anytime they need." Organizations that get that point are now investing in collaboration tools that create a virtual work- place, one that employees can take with them wherever they go. NASA, for example, is developing a desktop mobile videoconferencing system known as DMV. The DMV service, being rolled out in conjunc- tion with a voice-over-IP system, will enable employees to collaborate whether they are in a conference room, at their desk or using a mobile device from a remote location. In time, the space agency plans to provide an extensive collabora- tion suite that integrates email, voice mail, instant messaging, texting and similar tools. The suite, according to a NASA newsletter, will enable employees to manage these various channels seamlessly and create what experts refer to as "presence." In a traditional work environment, employees working at home or on the road always need to be aware of the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome. If they cannot be found at their desks or in the hallway, they might nd their co-workers making decisions or doing work without consulting them. But a virtual workplace, built on the foundation of UC, makes it possible for employees working re- motely to stay in constant contact with their co-workers and never drop out of sight. At the National Institutes of Health, presence is not just a concept but a built-in feature of its UC technology. At the heart of its system is the NIH Enterprise Reg- istry, which makes it possible for users to indicate their availability ("presence status") through any UC solution, according to the agency's enterprise architecture. Ultimately, the emergence of a virtual workplace will make it easier for more employees to telework, Arnold said. He believes that many people choose not to telework consistently because they lack the necessary tools. UC, fully realized, should x that. "UC technology facilitates effec- tive teleworking," he wrote. Indeed, analysts at the Yankee Group warn organizations not to ignore one of the most important pieces of a UC strategy: mobil- ity. "[Forty-nine] percent of UC decision-makers say mobile UC is just as important as desktop UC, if not more so," according to a recent Yankee Group report. Sponsored Report UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS Beyond telework: The making of the virtual workplace FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to GCN.com/2013UnifiedComm 2. Budget woes strengthen unified communications business case 3. A new way of doing business 4. Videoconferencing comes of age 5. Agencies get serious about voice over IP Other Unified Communications Report Articles