Where is unified communications headed? Will it
eventually break out of the corporate space and attract the
attention of business operators? If so, who will provide the
First there was IP telephony. It enabled large corporations to
use their private network to share data and voice, mainly to cut
costs. Soon after we started talking about unified messaging,
getting all our email and voicemail in the same inbox. Then came
unified communications (UC) which is easily described as ... er,
anyone got a quick answer to that one?
In this week's Twisted Wire we hear that UC is so yesterday.
Cisco's Peter Hughes says we don't call it that anymore.
Even though we seem to struggle with a definition (or name) for
unified communications it continues to grow in strength. Telstra
has recently launched a link between its IP Telephony solution
and Microsoft Office. Telstra's Philip Jones is excited by what it
offers and where it can go in the future, but it is, of course,
suited to larger businesses rather than SMEs.
Wherever UC goes there is the risk of confusing potential
customers even further. Is the problem we seem to have in
describing and quantifying the benefits of UC stopping it gaining
ground amongst small business users? Ovum's Evan Kirchheimer and
Peter Hall say, because prospective customers don't already have
an IP system, mobile operators have an opportunity to fill this
gap, substituting the fixed line phone with a UC-connected mobile
device. It needs to be easy to understand and useful, of
Cisco's Peter Hughes says he thinks it's a long time before
businesses get rid of their fixed line, saying we can expect more
devices to be connected to a UC solution, not less. He points to
this video as an example of how devices can work together.
Have a listen to this week's Twisted Wire, then tell us what
your thoughts are on the future of unified communications.
Is it just a tool for larger corporate customers?
Can mobile providers really play a part in this space?
Will telcos be able to provide something usable?
How do you sell it?
What's the real sales proposition?
Is it essential for the survival of
Do they need to start offering this sort of rich
functionality to escape dwindling call revenues?