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Cloud-based unified communication is just another example in the evolution of technology.

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The evolution of markets and technology are self-evident all around us. Just look at these three examples:

Personal Productivity Software - When Lotus first came out with the Lotus 123 spreadsheet, they launched the era of "personal productivity software." Maybe they didn't see it that way... maybe they were just trying to make a better "pencil and paper" table matrix. Regardless of their intent, the result changed forever the way we did business, personal and professional. In fact, soon after, WordPerfect released its word processing software, CorelDraw released its graphics application and DBase offered its personal database application. Each company grew fast to become a multi-million dollar "leader" in their segment of the personal productivity marketplace.

Then along came a certain company with no experience in personal productivity software and introduced "Office," which integrated word processing, spreadsheet, graphics and eventually database functionality into a single unified application. The critics were quick to judge: "They will never be as good as Lotus, et al; they will never succeed because the other companies have the lion's share of the market; it will never work together well." Fast forward to today... none of the single function companies even exist today and Office is the clear winner and king of the hill in the ‘unified productivity’ space.

SmartPhones - Remember when your belt or pocket purse had a separate cell phone, pager, PDA, camera, video camcorder... OK maybe you didn't "strap on"/stow a camera or video camcorder everywhere you went, but wish you had a camera to capture those, ‘they won’t believe this’ moments. Those were the days! Each device touted its superior functionality.

Then along came the smartphone (hello iOS and Android) and the world changed again. Everything you could possibly need to communicate all in the palm of your hand. You always have to have the nay-sayers: a smartphone camera will never be as good as a separate camera, no one will ever use their phone as anything but a phone, and, people will always want to use separate devices to keep their work separate from their personal! Of course, that was before the 40 megapixel smartphone camera came, before Google maps, before Candy Crush made its appearance, and so much more!

Multi-function Printers - Finally in the, "here we go again category," remember when HP introduced the multi-function printer/fax/scanner to much criticism: They will never print as well as a separate printer! Does this sound like a broken record? Multi-function printers are now the largest category of printers in the world!

History is a funny thing.... hard to contradict, hard to buck, especially when there's a fundamental "optimization" occurring.

So what does all this have to do with cloud services? Well, it's not 1999 anymore. It's 2016 and cloud services have been around for a while now (thank you salesforce.com). In fact, now there are several functional areas that are delivered from the cloud: file sharing, communications, collaboration, call centers, CRM. Sound familiar? Several single function services all enjoying success in the market.

But wait, along comes PanTerra Networks with a cloud-based unified communications service that includes instant message, real-time presence, web meetings, video conferencing, business analytics, ip phones, and file sharing, all in a single seamlessly integrated cloud solution. Of course, there are the nay-sayers: cloud-based unified communications will never be as good as separate on-premises services. Well, that remains to be seen, but if history is any judge, I know what side I'm betting on!

The communication and collaboration features PanTerra offers its customers to intelligently and seamlessly conduct business undeniably improves responsiveness, increases the productivity of their employees and promotes efficiency so that they can make better decisions to improve their bottom line. Like smartphones, personal productivity software and multi-function printers, unified cloud service providers are a logical and evolutionary progression to the cloud! Sit back and enjoy the ride, the Unified Cloud Services generation is going to be exciting!