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Connecting IoT and UC&C

The Wainhouse Research Blog

News & Views
on Unified Communications & Collaboration


Connecting IoT and UC&C

By: -
6 Jun 2017

The "Internet of Things" - or IoT - is the concept of connecting everyday physical objects and devices embedded with electronics ("anything with an on and off switch") with the internet so that data can be collected, exchanged, processed, and potentially acted on.   While consumer IoT apps such as a smart refrigerator chatting with your neighborhood store may take some time, using smart thermostats to optimize energy consumption and an Amazon Echo to control lights and appliances are increasingly common.  Industrial IoT apps such as placing sensors on manufacturing floors to detect malfunctions and using GPS-based location reporting to manage transportation fleet scheduling are in place and proving to save money.

Separately, Team Messaging solutions (such as Slack, HipChat, Cisco Spark and Mitel MiTeam) are proving the value of workflow integration by providing notification management, "bots", and other integration points that can work with other applications.  These integrations enable workflows to be processed directly in the application itself (no need to fire up another app) and, as needed, start a real-time collaboration (RTC) session with the right team members to make progress on or resolve an issue.  These integrations can be triggered by real-time events and notifications - such as a customer support inquiry, the completion of a software build, etc.

At the Mitel Elite conference last week in San Antonio Texas, the company demonstrated an application that effectively brings IoT, messaging, and collaboration together.  At the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris, each defibrillator is equipped with a network-connected sensor in its door. When a door is opened, an application sends a notification to emergency response team members (on whatever device they happen to be using) containing the location of the defibrillator.  The response team can then instantly discuss and dispatch the appropriate resources using chat or RTC as needed.

What's really interesting is the moving parts that make this possible. The automated notification system was implemented by HubOne, a Mitel solution provider.  The HubOne application listens for notifications, then, using Mitel APIs, engages the response team via text and/or audio using existing Mitel UC infrastructure.

As IoT devices and sensors proliferate, they are becoming potential trigger points for notifications, workflows, and RTC sessions.  A power outage opens a chat with the right facilities people.  Your home thermostat triggers a video call with your spouse.  You get the idea.

Thus IoT becomes VERY relevant as an integration point to the UC&C industry. Keep your eyes open for interesting devices, applications, and the middleware (cloudware?) needed to implement an effective workflow - hopefully without being a programmer. With the right tools and devices in place, the possibilities are infinite.

Al Hurren, Mitel's Vice President of R&D presenting the company's "Reference Architecture" for integrating with IoT devices at the Mitel Elite event