UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

United we stand

11 April 2017

No longer just a ‘marketing buzzword’, unified communications are now considered to be the norm for enterprise communications. But there are still challenges ahead, as JAMES HAYES finds out.

Using instant messaging, presence, video, web meetings are now all common ways to connect with co-workers and customers. UC is therefore said to be a reality and represents the way most people work.

Using instant messaging, presence, video, web meetings are now all common ways to connect with co-workers and customers. UC is therefore said to be a reality and represents the way most people work.

Start spreading the news (via your messaging medium of choice) that unified communications has at last established itself as the core enterprise application it always wanted to be.

It’s taken time. Only a year ago Networking+ reported that UC’s prospects for mainstream take-up were still uncertain (see ‘Unifying UC’ feature, Apr 2016). But successively upward market forecasts, along with a stream of customer contracts, indicate that investment in UC solutions has grown across a range of public and privates sector verticals, and that demand is worldwide.

Analysts’ predictions for growth are upbeat. Grand View Research expects the worldwide UC market to be worth $143.49bn by 2024, with uptake propelled by factors such as international enterprise expansion, public sector efficiency drives, and increased needs for real-time inter-organisational information exchange.

Rival research firm Global Market Insights takes a slightly conservative view of growth. It expects a rise in mobile device uptake to drive UC demand over the next five years and forecasts a market value of $96bn by 2023 – still a figure that other application sectors would envy.

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PUBLIC WI-FI

Making the connection

15 March 2017

Most of us now expect wireless connectivity everywhere we go. JAMES HAYES discovers how the network experts are performing miracles to make this happen.

Blackpool’s iconic tower came into its own when TNP needed a high location to install the town’s Wi-Fi equipment.

PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Blackpool’s iconic tower came into its own when TNP needed a high location to install the town’s Wi-Fi equipment.

PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The days of the hotspot finder – once invaluable to anyone searching for public Wi-Fi availability at an unfamiliar destination – are numbered.

For anyone wanting to work or play via wireless broadband, the expectation now is that in urban (and many suburban) areas there will be plenty of free-to-use, public Wi-Fi networks that can be easily accessed.

Indications are that the Wi-Fi proliferation has not by any means peaked. Even what existed before is now being expanded as legacy Wi-Fi networks are being upgraded to cope with escalating demand.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Skim through the news pages of Networking+ over the last year or so and you’ll see that Aberdeenshire, Camden, Harrow, Twickenham, Watford, are among just some of the many municipal authorities that are paving their town centre streets with Wi-Fi.

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SECURITY

Protecting the corridors of power

15 April 2015

picture: google data centre

Google recently allowed the media a sneak peak inside its colossal data centres. The company builds its own custom servers and probably has better security than the NSA.

Ask most professionals about the security of data centres and most would agree that everything that can be done to protect customer data is being done. But what, if anything, can be done to stop the most determined hackers?

An unprecedented wave of massive data breaches over the last few years has raised questions about the security and privacy of information held on any computer anywhere on a network, including that which is kept under lock and key at high-security data centres.

One of the most recent high-profile examples is the attack on Sony Pictures, which was hacked in the run-up to last Christmas. Sensitive corporate data, as well as yet-to-be released films, were suddenly made public. The incident led to the now infamous controversy over The Interview, the satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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