What unified communications is comprised of is confusing to end users – and even to those in the field. It's possible, however, to avoid the headache by focusing like a laser on what the platform should accomplish, not definitions of what telecom/IT category it fits into. Whether to go with a "best of breed" or single vendor approach is a related and important question.
Articles by Carl Weinschenk
Also in the news this week: Plantronics, BroadSoft, Fonality, Partnerpedia, CommuniGate, Logicalis, Direct Visual Limited, The United States Department of Agriculture, Cisco, Plantronics, Alfresco, Microsoft, Siemens Enterprise Communications, HP and Ingram Micro.
Apptix's cloud-based offering builds on a Microsoft Exchange/SharePoint/OCS base and offers all the elements generally associated with unified communications, including voice. Vice President of Product and Software Development James Bond suggests that the efficiencies of hosted unified communications are allowing it to supersede the on-premise approach.
In an informal survey run at a November webinar, Mitel found that 34 percent of respondents think voice virtualization is an important technique. That was good news for the company. Stephen Beamish, Mitel's vice president of marketing and business development, tells Carl Weinschenk that the company has been working on the concept with VMware for two years.
Other companies in the news are Cisco, Providea, IDC, Mitel, ShoreTel, O2, 2e2, In-Stat, Sennheiser, Polycom, Windstream, eZuce and SIP Print.
Presence, which always has been a big part of unified communications, may grow in importance. By expanding the role of presence, vendors and service providers can introduce value-added services – and perhaps define unified communications in a way that finally is understandable to end users.
The benefits to SMBs of UC -- and its telepresence element -- don't differ conceptually from enterprises. There is an additional advantage for small companies, however: While enterprises already have big profiles, UC can help the SMBs seem, and act, bigger than they are.
Other newsmakers this week include: WorkSpace Communications, Microsoft, Telus, Genband, Clarus Systems, Cisco, HP, Tango Networks, CyberTech, Alteva, In-Stat, VoxOx, TelCentris, OnRelay, Swisscom, Ancero and Integrated Network Consulting
Social media is exploding in importance as a way to improve the relationship between a company and its customers, employees, vendors and partners. Integrating these tools – which can run on UC platforms – is not easy.
Newsmakers this week include Vertical Communications, ePlus Technology, HP, Microsoft, Unified Communications SAP, Andrea Electronics, Avaya, Konftel, Intellicomm, Apptix, Microsoft, D2 Technologies, Freescale, Android, BMO Capital Markets, Polycom, Clearfly and Estech Systems.
Verizon Business is making its move and doing so across international lines. The company, which earned the top spot in ABI Research's assessment of hosted VoIP and UC vendors, last month began offering service to its eleventh European country.
The year ahead will see significant changes to the world of unified communications, according to Avaya's Ajay Kapoor. Among the most noteworthy will be the integration of consumer equipment and services into corporate UC platforms.