There has been a mini-boom in tablet computer news and rumors during the past few weeks. This is inevitable in light of the great success of the iPad, which is a perfect UC end point. The big picture is refreshingly simple: What is good for tablets is good for UC – and Apple's attention is good.
Articles by Carl Weinschenk
A survey from ShoreTel reveals just how concerned IT professionals are about complexity, both for end users and for those in charge of the care and feeding of the systems. Vice President of Marketing Kevin Gavin tells Site Editor Carl Weinschenk that folks fear the cost, wasted time and other problems associated with complexity.
The company doesn't throw the term around, but many of the moves Google has made during the past few years are aimed at unified communications and collaboration. Frost & Sullivan analyst Doroto Oviedo tells Site Editor Carl Weinschenk that the company is aiming squarely at the SMB market.
Companies in the news this week are Mitel, Enventis, Cisco, Park Nicollet Health Services, HickoryTech, AT&T, CounterPath, NEC, AltiGen Communications, ShoreTel, Network Equipment Technologies, Inceptio A/S, Hempel Group, Microsoft, PanTerra Networks, Cistera Networks, Dialogic and the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum.
There are fascinating technologies on the landscape, such as virtual reality and 3D. For the UC industry, the most exciting element may not be the technologies themselves, however. It may be that modern telecommunications and IT systems are in reality huge UC platforms into which these new applications will neatly fit.
Google is a heavyweight in any sector in which it chooses to compete. It has set its sights on unified communications. UC, however, is a tricky field. The added complexity in this case is that Google hasn't announced its strategy. A report from Frost & Sullivan delineates the company's strategy and suggests, as others have, that its prime targets, at this point, are small and medium-sized businesses.
Companies in the news this week are Network Equipment Technologies, Unified Communications Interoperability Forum, Frost & Sullivan, Android, 2Web Technologies, Marratech, GrandCentral, Gizmo5, Google, Sipera, Cisco, LG-Ericsson, IVCi, LifeSize, Logitech, TAMCO, Teliris, Global Crossing, CoroWare and Aretta.
Unified Communications is a bigger security challenge than the sum of the discrete services that make it up. Since crackers can go after the elements that link the services and applications together, attacks can take down the entire network. Dan York, author of The Seven Deadliest Unified Communications Attacks, tells site editor Carl Weinschenk that many existing tools can be leveraged to secure new UC systems.
It's no secret that unified communications has a lot of potential -- and that it hasn't lived up to the hype. There are some good signs, however: Vendors are working together instead of trying to develop a platform on their own and the recession has driven home the importance of efficiency. The key remains convincing the folks who sign the checks that not all advantages have to be validated to down to the penny.
Companies in the news this week also include GIA Glowpoint, snom, 4PSA, IntelePeer, Enabling Technologies, IceWarp, Kaspersky Lab, ShoreGroup, Cisco, Apptix, CoroWare and Spae.
There are no standards controlling unified communications. Until there are, deals -- such as the one announced this week between Polycom and Microsoft -- will have an extra layer of nuance as vendors vie to create the framework that eventually will be adopted by the entire industry.
The massive ash cloud that enveloped large parts of Europe this spring provided a great platform for telepresence and teleconferencing. A followup survey conducted for HP showed that executives are becoming comfortable with the concept. Site Editor Carl Weinschenk spoke with Darren Podrabsky, the marketing manager for HP Halo, about the survey and, more broadly, the relationship between conferencing and UC.
Companies in the news this week are Microsoft, BlackBerry, Android, Apple, Avaya, Cisco, IBM, Arrow Electronics, Shared Technologies, Apptix, 3CX, Intermedia, Mitel, Polycom, McAfee, Intellicomm, Damaka, Sprint, HTC, Global Crossing, Teliris, AudioCodes, NEC, Siemens Enterprise Communications, Alcatel-Lucent SAP, Mitel, Aastra, ShoreTel,TeleWare, Toshiba, Interactive Intelligence and Nortel.
Microsoft took top honors in Gartner's Magic Quandrant for unified communications, which was released last week. The firm's commentary, however, seems to obliquely suggest that the category hasn't made much progress in establishing itself. It describes a list of challenges -- from marketplace confusion to misuse of the UC label -- that should be in the past.