How wireless technology is accelerating the unified communication transformation

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With UCaaS solutions like Verizon Mobile for Microsoft Teams (VMMT), companies can better manage device compliance and enhance efficiency all while enabling a truly mobile experience. Here, two Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) – professionals recognized by Microsoft for their expertise in Microsoft programs and significant contributions to the community – explore how upgrading unified communications tools and services could transform business.

Whether traveling for a conference or working from home, conducting business on the go can be challenging as you switch between Wi-Fi to cellular data and back again. A bad connection, or worse, a dropped signal can result in lost time, lower productivity and cost inefficiencies. To avoid these potential issues, it is in a business’s best interest to invest in unified communications technologies that work hard for both the user and the company. This means enabling and empowering employees to work wherever necessary without compromising security or compliance standards.

With that in mind, we spoke with two Microsoft MVPs and unified communication/collaboration experts who consult for Verizon, Christian Buckley of CollabTalk and Adam Ball of Cloud Revolution, to learn more about the evolution of unified communications and what businesses should consider as they make their next upgrades.

Q: How has unified communications evolved to stay up-to-date with hybrid work?

  • Ball - Unified Communications is constantly evolving, and we saw it accelerate during the pandemic. More and more features get released every month. Many of these features are specifically focused on empowering hybrid work. By empowering, I mean, ensuring that hybrid workers can feel included in a meeting. Whether it is making it easier to be present via video, or simply representing yourself via an avatar so that you can be seen, it is easier than ever to be a remote worker. In addition, for when employees do go into an office, new features such as QR codes make it simple to find a desk when working in a “hoteling” situation.

  • Buckley - There have been so many improvements to Unified Communications brought on by the adoption of Cloud, including enhanced security capabilities and an improved user experience, but first and foremost I have to point to something that’s actually been around since the mid-1990’s: support for asynchronous communication through chat-based tools. While you could argue that email and forums/message boards can also be classified as asynchronous tools, it was the integration of chat tools into our enterprise applications that truly made this technology ubiquitous.

    After chat, we’ve seen a massive evolution in integrated capabilities that provide us with voice, video, messaging and collaboration tools on a single platform. For example, platforms like Microsoft Teams not only allow chat and voice communication, but also video meetings, file sharing, and integration with other software tools, providing a one-stop-shop for all communication needs.

    And finally, it’s amazing how quickly AI and machine learning are increasingly being integrated into UC systems, helping to automate routine tasks, providing deeper insights into our communication data, and improving features like voice recognition and transcription services.

Q: How can technology help strike the balance between true mobile flexibility and secure communication?

  • Ball - Technology is probably the lynchpin in allowing true mobile flexibility. Companies need to ensure that their data remains secure. This is becoming more and more critical in the wake of breaches where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is lost. In order to allow employees to work remotely, technology needs to be at such a level where users don’t really need to think about it. Security (and most other processes) suffer when relying on the human element. When security can truly become seamless, everyone can benefit.

  • Buckley - In the past, communications security often meant a challenging user experience. While using the extra layer of security provided by multi-factor authentication adds additional clicks to the sign-in process, and virtual private networks (VPNs) can impact connection speeds, overall end-users understand that securing communications has become increasingly important. Many unified communication tools now incorporate end-to-end encryption to secure messages, calls, and file transfers. Platforms like Microsoft Teams have developed robust security measures, including data encryption, compliance certifications, and data loss prevention. And now there are programs like VMMT that improve that user experience even more by maintaining sound security standards while enhancing the quality of connection on uses like voice calls.

    From an enterprise administration standpoint, there are numerous Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions available that enable businesses to manage, monitor, and secure mobile devices from a single, centralized platform. They often include features for enforcing security policies, managing apps, tracking device location, and remotely wiping data if a device is lost or stolen. And they can do all of this without “owning” the devices, giving employees the flexibility to use a company device or to stick with their personal device.

Q: Why should companies invest in unified communication services that enforce secure and compliant business policies for employee communications on all devices, particularly mobile?

  • Ball - Based on the legal and financial ramifications that companies face when data loss occurs (i.e. a breach or a stolen laptop), companies need to be thinking about how they enforce secure communications and compliance. As we see more and more regulations like GDPR, CCDP, etc., I believe we will see companies move back from a BYOD model to requiring all data to be kept on business owned devices. When the business owns the device, it can determine the security solution for it. It also allows for streamlining of services by having consistent platforms. Tools like Intune from Microsoft can allow organizations a simple method of ensuring compliance with standards for all platforms easily. This tool is included when organizations purchase Microsoft 365 E3 or E5. Whether a business chooses to make this migration back to company owned assets or not, ensuring security is a necessity.

  • Buckley - It’s unfortunate that too many companies fail to make the necessary investments in security until after they’ve experienced some kind of security failure. In the current digital age, investing in secure and compliant unified communication tools is not just an option but a necessity for businesses. It protects both the company's and clients' sensitive information, ensures regulatory compliance, and ultimately supports successful business operations.

    Many industries are subject to regulations that require them to protect certain types of data. Organizations in healthcare, finance, and public sectors need secure communication tools that meet these regulatory standards to avoid penalties and maintain their reputation.

    Mobile devices can be easily lost or stolen, and they're susceptible to cyberattacks. By implementing secure communication policies and tools, companies can protect sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, secure communication tools often include features like encryption and data loss prevention (DLP) that can stop sensitive data from being shared unintentionally.

Q: Where do you see businesses seeing the biggest benefits of upgrading unified communication capabilities and tools?

  • Ball - First, by upgrading from a legacy system to a Cloud-based system, organizations benefit from not having to manage and maintain the core infrastructure. This allows for them to focus on the application and how it can benefit the business. Removing the commodity aspects can have massive financial benefits. Second, by moving to a Cloud-based system, organizations gain the benefit that the Cloud system can provide security at scale. This is the idea that -- without a Cloud-based system -- any individual organization won’t see all the attacks and therefore could become vulnerable due to lack of visibility. Third, similar to the idea of security at scale, a Cloud provider can provide new features like AI that can only be achieved by large datasets. Individual organizations won’t have enough users to provide the datasets needed for things like Copilot.

  • Buckley - The greatest benefit in my opinion is around work flexibility and productivity. As UC solutions are often Cloud-based, they allow employees to communicate and collaborate from anywhere, anytime. Unified Communications tools also bring together various communication channels (voice, video, chat, email) and collaboration tools (file sharing, whiteboarding, etc.) into a single platform. These integrations reduce time spent switching between different tools, improving productivity and efficiency as well as supporting remote workforces and flexible working arrangements.

    But there is also the potential cost savings. UC tools can enhance collaboration between teams, departments, and even between different geographical locations. The ability to use video conferencing, instant messaging, and shared workspaces can make collaboration more immediate and effective. By unifying these communication channels, businesses can reduce the need for multiple service providers, lowering their overall communication costs. Because many UC solutions are subscription-based and scalable, businesses can better manage costs by paying only for what they need, when they need it.

About the contributor(s):

Christian Buckley is a Microsoft Regional Director (RD) and M365 Apps & Services MVP. He is the Director of Partner Management for North America and Asia-Pacific at Rencore, is on the board for, and runs the award-winning CollabTalk Podcast. You can find him online at and @buckleyplanet

Adam Ball is a Microsoft MVP and earned his first award in 2014. Having architected and led the delivery teams for Communications and Collaboration projects for some of the world’s most notable companies, Adam is consistently focused on delivering on excellent experience for end-users. A noted speaker, Adam has had the privilege of speaking multiple times at Microsoft Ignite and VMWorld.

The contributors have been compensated by Verizon for this article.

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