Editor's Note: Communication is no longer just between people. As the use of smart machines and machine learning rises in organizations, users must now also communicate with those machines. Unified communications must expand to aid users in communicating with smart machines as part of their business processes. ZK Research analyst Zeus Kerravala explains how internet of things (IoT) communications and systems can help UC enable this expansion.
Most people think of unified communications and internet of things as two different technologies, but I believe that the marriage of UC and IoT systems can drive exponential value to customers than each technology could alone. From a high-level perspective, one way to think about the coming together of the two is that UC is used for communication with people and IoT enables devices to communicate with devices. If you put the two together, what do you get?
UC and IoT systems enable people and devices to communicate with each other. Now, you may be wondering, "Why on Earth would I want people to communicate with devices or devices to communicate with people?" The answer is that it can change the way we communicate, the way customer service is done, and create entirely new experiences.
For example, consider the case of a connected refrigerator in your home. If the UC and IoT systems are linked together, when the connected refrigerator needs a new filter it could automatically order one from the manufacturing plant because it communicates back there. As soon as that's done, it could send a text message or a message in some kind of team collaboration tool to the consumer and a technical support person. When the filter is delivered, the technical support person could automatically be notified and a conference call could be automatically set up to walk the customer through how to change the filter.
Another example would be more of a business case. Consider having all your factory floor equipment connected together. If there were any kind of equipment failures, messages could be sent to a centralized messaging system, a conference call automatically set up for all the responsible parties, and then automatically start the call that next morning.
If you're a unified communication administrator, you should be thinking right now about how IoT systems and all these connected devices can change the way you communicate with workers and customers, because I believe that's going to be the future.
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The IT challenges of bringing collaboration and IoT together
Test your knowledge of IoT systems
Dig Deeper on IoT APIs, Applications and Software
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