Claims that email is dead regularly recur in the tech space, including in the channel. Yet even with the rise of social media, instant messaging and videoconferencing, it's not entirely true. Millions of businesses across the globe still rely on email – even though I would argue that it is undoubtedly a dying technology as businesses discover new ways to work.
It's strange given the pace of change in technology in general that a communication method that originated in the 1970s still dominates the business environment to such an extent. Yet in many companies email isn't paving the way like it used to.
Countless bouncebacks, overly aggressive spam filters, clogged inboxes, and unwieldy attachments are just a few commonplace user gripes. Meanwhile, the tone of an email can be easily misconstrued, and many find formalities unnecessary – also causing inadvertent offence to some. Sorting through one's inbox, too, takes up precious time.
Today's "always-on" workforce is seeking alternatives. BYOD, mobility, collaboration technologies and flexible working will dictate the future of communications.
More companies will choose to unify their communication technologies using software, particularly those built on WebRTC that will enable the web browser to participate in audio, video and data communications sans plug-ins, applications or downloads of any kind. VARs of course can help here.
Businesses will have to amalgamate all the channels of communication into one single, unified interface. Social feeds, instant messaging, video, voice, collaboration and more will need to be able to be switched between seamlessly, depending on bandwidth capabilities.
Seamless voice and video communication would encourage more human interaction, instead of allowing staff to hide behind a keyboard, and the email problems highlighted above would disappear.
Moving to a single pane of communication and collaboration benefits the end user and creates a significant opportunity for VARs, not only to sell consultancy around an exciting work technology, but to reduce integration headaches with a single software platform coupled to simple wired hardware or a mobile device.
This would be a far cry from traditional multi-component, multi-program systems which struggle to work together and require numerous switching between applications.
Vendor partnerships, through education and sharing of best practice, will help VARs improve their sales narrative.
Tony Smith is sales director for indirect channel at Unify
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