Despite the proliferation of unified communications (UC) technologies — and the partners selling them — we continue to see some partners slow to adopt UC. Why? And what are some trends in UC that partners should watch out for as technologies like SD-WAN advance? We asked these questions, and more, of Colin Johnston, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Star2Star Communications. See our exchange below to get the scoop on what Johnston has been noticing in the channel, and how Star2Star reacts.
Keenan: What are some of the more prominent trends you are noticing with unified communications lately?
Johnston: The largest and most recent impact on the unified communications space would have to be SD-WAN, which has taken the industry by storm. As an innovative solution provider, Star2Star has already been implementing voice-optimized traffic shaping since its inception through our patented StarBox® Cloud Connection Manager (CCM), so it’s interesting to see how SD-WAN has become such a hot topic. The ability to now incorporate a solution that handles all data traffic is a great step forward for UC.
Keenan: How would you address partners that have not yet adopted UC?
Johnston: Partners that are currently managing their customer networks and not actively selling a UC solution are leaving money on the table. In almost every case, partners that sell UC can offer a superior service to their customers at very competitive price points that allow for significant revenue margins.
As our world moves toward the Internet of Everything (IoE) era, the choice that some channel entities will have to make becomes clearer. Sell UC; it has and will continue to become the way we communicate and stay connected in the future.
Keenan: How is unified communications impacting other technological developments in the channel?
Johnston: Communication Enablement Platforms (CEP) have become a huge springboard for growth in tech. They encompass everything from the Internet of Things (IoT) integrations to Point of Sale (POS) software. It seems like every technology solution is somehow attempting to incorporate unified communications into their various platforms.
UC has become the glue that connects modern business platforms together. It allows for better customer service, more informed decisions, and better data and metrics to plan and predict company decisions. And there’s much more than just these benefits; the true potential of Communication Enablement Platforms has yet to be seen.
Keenan: Are there any specific trends in security you’re noticing?
Johnston: There has been a focus on security from the very beginning with UC. Take our StarBox® CCM: it acts as a firewall and monitors data traffic as it goes through the system. Our new hosted solution, StarSystemTM Hosted, also comes with built-in security with TLS encryption for call data. In the general market, the recent developments with utilizing blockchain for voice data also come to mind when thinking of specific security trends.