Microsoft Targets “Dual Users” For Mobile UC
"UC" never made much headway as a label on its own. It needed a description of all its functional components. Then it needed a way to be incorporated within any mode of person-to-person communications. Lately, however, mobility has become the environment where UC flexibility really has become practical for any type of end user or "mobile app," not just those within a particular organization.
Many of you know how long I have been promoting the "dual persona" concept for mobile devices, since users will only want to carry one device for both business and personal applications. Well, guess what, Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, has refocused the direction of the company as a "cloud-first and mobile-first" company by dropping "devices" from its future role starting in FY15, and has used the term "dual user" as a key concept. This will be particularly important for mobile users with smartphones and tablets.
This change in direction doesn't mean a complete "separation" between devices and service software, but rather that Microsoft will concentrate on providing the software tools for mobile (and desktop) end users in "cloud" services to any and all endpoint devices that user BYOD will demand. It means that Microsoft won't try to compete at the device hardware or connectivity level, but will primarily target the mobile applications that end users will need for both their business and personal needs. That's where the key concept of a "dual user" will be aggressively supported by integrating those different user application roles on a single device.
Not sure what Microsoft will do with its current investment in smartphones and tablets, but it looks like it wants to support all kinds of application software for everyone on any device. Clearly, that would mean focusing on very flexible user interfaces that would support "mobile apps" in any language, on different mobile OS's, and would be UC-enabled to facilitate both person-to-person contacts and proactive notification contacts from automated, personalized business processes to individual end users.
This new focus may also impact the role that Lync will play as a UC platform, since it will impact all types of end users that an organization will be involved with, not just internal employees. This announcement further shifts Microsoft away from being a hardware vendor, to concentrate on their software strengths at all levels of application development and operation.
Since almost everything is becoming SaaS, both business and communication applications will be in one big ballpark that Microsoft can dominate, so stay tuned!