Vertical Industry Communications: Exploring Foundational Services

Foundational UC services exist in almost every industry. Often referenced as "cross-industry," these are communications functions either shared by most employees or specific to non-employee communications capabilities such as those associated with facilities, devices, alarms, and so on.

 

The major categories are:

  • Technologies shared by all or most employee-based Usage Profiles, such as:
  •        - Online meeting software for voice, video, and document/application sharing
           - Meeting room audio, video, and sharing devices, usually connecting to online meetings
           - Shared phones and computers in break rooms or on communal desks for shift-based workers or non-office workers in the Field, Retail, and Production Usage Profiles
  • Common-area communications devices, such as phones in lobbies, hallways, breakrooms, parking lots, and elevators as well as kiosks in public areas or receptionist areas
  • Work-from-home communications capabilities
  • Communication network connections for various types of devices, such as paging systems, fax machines, alarms or monitors, and interfaces to special-purpose systems such as radios

These communication technologies are important, or even crucial, to an organization's operations and safety as well as for compliance with regulations in some industries or geographies. Here are highlights of these categories.

Online Meeting Software
All vertical industries depend on online meeting software for department meetings, training programs, and general management communications. Some industries require online meeting software for additional purposes, such as for shared work in collaborative teams or for remote customer interactions and presentations in the sales and service functions. However, the online meeting capability those particular profiles need is increasingly a built-in feature of the application software already used as the primary working tool in each of those functions.

Foundational online meeting software provides:

  • Audio, video, and/or screen sharing via a computer application, browser, tablet, and smartphone. Of course, performance may vary based on the quality of the wired or wireless connection to the device. Some online meeting software will adjust the transmission rate to accommodate the available bandwidth, which may be important depending on the expected usage situations for this foundational service.
  •        - Audio participation in online meetings via an on-premises PBX and via a public switched telephone network (PSTN) that includes both landlines and cellular voice connections
           - The need for all-audio meeting options, which require a rich set of push-button controls for the host and the participants, is declining
  • The ability for meeting room devices to join the online meeting for meetings that include two or more rooms or that may include a blend of meeting room, user device, and phone participation
  • A variety of typical controls such as password access, user authentication, mute-all or individual mute by the meeting host, session recording, and statistical reports

Increasingly, online meetings are provided as cloud-based services, though some organizations continue to operate their conferencing systems on premises. The latter case is usually due to a cost analysis related to bandwidth, which is driven by the meeting types (see below) and the geographic distribution patterns of meeting participants (a scenario with mostly on-premises users favors an on-premises meeting service, while an environment with mostly off-premises users favors a cloud-based meeting service).