January 1, 2013 Budgeting & Reducing Costs, Mobility, Phone Systems, The Cloud, Virtualization With the start of every New Year, there are countless “Top” lists predicting what will be the year’s biggest and most significant technology trends. There’s always a lot to grasp on these lists, so let’s take a moment to briefly break down a few of the “Top Trends”, specifically ones that impact your business’ communications technology. Mobile Devices Loom Large – Gartner predicts that 2013 is the year mobile devices will overtake PCs as the most common Web access tool. So with more and more employees utilizing mobile phones to check email (at the very least), it’s critical that your business finds a way to unify the communication experience across devices. Companies seeking to do this often invest in unified communications technologies, which enable employees to have a uniform experience when it comes to call logs, instant messages, notes, activities and more as they move from laptop to desktop, from work phone to mobile. Some even allow employees to transition calls from their desk phone to their mobile, and vise versa, mid-call without skipping a beat. Unified communications technology makes the increasingly common presence of mobile phones in the workplace a positive aspect for businesses, as employees can maintain a high level of productivity regardless of where they’re operating or when. Everything “as a Service” – The Cloud and virtualization are changing the way businesses utilize and manage IT infrastructure. The Cloud provides businesses with convenient, on-demand network access to a variety of configurable resources, such as servers, storage, and more. And while Cloud-based services have been around (in rudimentary form) for quite some time, they’re now more secure and encompass more solution options than ever before, causing software, infrastructure and platform “as a service” offerings to emerge and flourish. For businesses, these services can mean scalability, easy system management, a smaller on-premise data center, and reduced costs. When coupled with server and voice virtualization, which consolidate hardware by running multiple virtual machines on the same server, Cloud-based services provide even greater cost savings, maximized of IT resources and more. As a result, many are turning to the Cloud and virtualization, either for just a portion of their data or their whole infrastructure. Budget and Planning Strategies – In 2013, businesses will (we hope) set aside more time towards planning future technology strategies. Why do we hope this? Because while the Cloud and mobile devices will likely impact your business in some way, shape or form over the coming months, there are some issues that will definitely effect your technology. These require long-term preparation and strategies (not that the Cloud and mobile device plans don’t). Here’s one such issue: IPv6 – The last of the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses has been allocated. And though it’s scary to realize that these IP addresses will soon be exhausted, it’s reassuring to know that IPv4’s successor — IPv6 — is ready to go and offers far more numerical addresses that version 4. However, transitioning to IPv6 isn’t as simple as a blink of the eye. All the equipment from your cable modem, router and computer must support IPv6. If your cable modem and router are less then 2 years old, it should be fine. And any computer from Windows XP on is also ready for IPv6. (If you’re interested in checking your IPv6 readiness, visit this site: http://test-ipv6.com.) While these topics don’t include every trend out there, they encompass the big ones that can really make a difference when it comes to your business’ communications technology. For more information, or details on what you can do to plan your 2013 technology calendar, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.