Business today gets done online, and the digital transformation of large enterprises is driving nearly every single transaction to the cloud, the web, mobile apps and more.
The virtualization of these digital enterprises is creating substantial gains in employee productivity, with an unprecedented number of them “dialing in” from remote locations, and a parallel growth in the number of on-site workers in offices, hospitals and medical clinics, classrooms and public venues staying connected using business workflow apps as companions.
Interacting with other people and with CRM, ERP and other enterprise systems is now happening constantly and contextually, and enterprises recognize that by leveraging information, access to data, management systems, measurement systems and artificial intelligence they can create enterprise value in at least three ways by:
- Operating more efficiently (lowering costs)
- Offering more competitive products and services (increasing sales)
- Continually evolving and growing based on having data and analytics (driving innovation)
None of this is possible today and in the future without improving and securing the way businesses communicate and operate. Even non-profit organizations and government agencies are experiencing tremendous leaps in what they can accomplish when they are masters of communications and collaboration.
Here are a few real-world examples of how enterprises in four of the largest vertical industries are taking advantage of the rapid advancements in unified communications (UC) and embedded communications applications.
The experience of entering an emergency room is never good. IBM Watson is helping make the experience better for patients, more efficient for physicians, nurses and technicians, and ultimately a lot more affordable for hospitals and ER clinics. This is a perfect example of how work gets done more efficiently by integrating real-time voice, video and messaging into an application that helps diagnose a patient within minutes, leveraging existing investments in enterprise systems (in this case, electronic medical records), and interoperating with imaging and other clinical data to speed up the process and reduce administrative burdens.
TeleMedCo is working with IBM Watson and a Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) solution to enable voice, video or text messages to immediately be sent to the patient’s cardiologist, for example, or route the message to another cardiologist who is available based on presence. That physician can then connect with the ER doctor and patient and consult in real-time in an emergency. The solution clearly illustrates how what is being done manually today can be automated in the future, including the AI processing power of Watson to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis and provide support for the attending medical professionals.
Many U.S. governmental bodies, from military bases all the way up to the Pentagon, still use 20-year-old and in some cases 30-plus-year-old technology as the heart of their communications systems. A good number of these systems have far exceeded their life expectancy, but are still heavily relied upon as critical communications components for the organizations they serve.
We are seeing a number of governmental agencies leverage new real-time communications technology that will allow them to preserve the value of their existing technology investments while seamlessly migrating to state-of-the-art UC architectures. Not only can end users keep using the communications tools they are already familiar with, but real-time communications technology is enabling these agencies to future-proof their communications capabilities.
The benefits for these governmental agencies are numerous - from improving communications abilities, to streamlining administration, saving staff time and reducing costs. Additionally, in many cases thousands of square feet of data center space can be repurposed while saving tens of thousands of dollars in system and HVAC power consumption. Investments in resilient IP-based technology can also be fully leveraged to replace aging copper wiring. These savings can in turn be re-directed to invest in other mission-critical areas.
Real-time trading is the lifeblood of global financial markets, and without secure real-time communications applications, trading can literally stop. Millions of dollars can be lost in a millisecond, and thus the world’s largest banks, exchanges, trading firms, hedge funds and other market participants spend more on connectivity and communications applications than any other vertical.
Managing risk and reputation is mission critical, but there is little appetite for the costly, locked-in technologies that were required ten years ago. The cloud is replacing turn of the century infrastructure, replacing bespoke “heavy metal” boxes with VMs running at high speed and scale for applications including voice trading.
One large financial services organization with more than 3,000 customers implemented a global SIP network (dramatically reducing the cost of what used to be private lines, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) technology, “circuits” and redundant connections required for resilience and compliance), along with a unified communications application customized to perform for busy global traders.
Security and performance are key for this market leader, who is dedicated to keeping trading partners connected over one of the largest private global IP networks in the world. This organization is already beginning to virtualize traders’ workflow and anticipate the upcoming millennial traders who prefer working from their desktops and mobile devices to the old-world set up of physical turrets and handsets.
Communications service providers are leveraging enterprise session border controllers, SIP trunking (increasingly as a service) and unified communications to bring the largest institutions of higher learning improved communications and security capabilities at a time when more and more research and teaching is being done online.
In fact, educational institutions are one of the largest consumers of capacity, with massive data collection projects and a requirement to support cross-facility academic collaboration to support the students, faculty and staff with real-time communications applications.
Additionally, we are seeing more and more demand for support of digital learning initiatives, as even the most traditional universities are launching online degrees. Another area experiencing significant growth is the corporate learning space, where leading organizations are investing more in conducting virtual training programs. One innovator in this area is Bradio, which offers a cloud-based learning platform to optimize delivery of mobile training and social learning. This SaaS desktop and mobile learning pioneer has added new embedded real-time communications features to its platform to deliver a more competitive product, including peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.
What’s Next in the New Year?
These use cases represent the tip of the iceberg, and I’m sharing them as a way to illustrate how incredibly exciting unified and embedded real-time communications technology – running like clockwork over secure IP networks – is and will continue to be over the coming years and decades.
Patrick Joggerst, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Ribbon Communications
Image Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock