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UC as an evolution of IT and telecom

An analysis contends that UC is the convergence of six communication products areas -- some of which have existed have existed for years and alongside others that are recent entries

Convergence & VoIP Alert By and Steve Taylor, Network World
June 29, 2010 02:12 PM ET
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VoIP, unified messaging, products and services

Network World - This week, we take time to highlight a white paper hosted on Webtorials and authored by our long-time colleague Gary Audin on best practices to migrate to unified communications. In his analysis, Audin contends that UC is really the convergence of six communication products areas -- some of which have existed for years and others that are recent entries. He points out that UC is really part of the evolution of IT and telecom into one common set of features and functions and not a brand-new "just emerging" concept.

The six areas Audin includes in his analysis are:

* The evolution of the legacy PBX into the IP telephony system.

* The development of the softphone as part of the IP-based PBX offerings.

* Integrating voice mail and e-mail.

* Changing the e-mail function to a desktop management tool.

* Multiple forms of conferencing such as Web, voice and video.

* Instant messaging services and capabilities.

Audin's approach to UC migration is sound: he rightfully asserts that there is no single method for enabling an institution to implement UC migration, and that UC should be thought of as a menu, not a single entity. He advises that institutions deploying UC should select those functions and features it perceives as valuable. He also points to the pitfalls of some approaches, and that the fact that there are multiple approaches to UC should be an immediate signal that the vendor community has a number of different UC solutions -- making it difficult to compare products.

As for suggesting best practices for the migration timeline, Audin suggests five sequential steps, starting with a sound IT staff and network foundation as a critical step to UC implementation success, making any needed upgrades to the IP network, deploying VoIP/IP telephony, adding in unified messaging and presence, and finally moving to full UC implementation.

For more details on Audin's advice and analysis and a full copy of the white paper, please click here. Our thanks to Webtorials and to Audin for sharing this valuable resource free of charge.

Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.

Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. Larry Hettick, an independent analyst and consultant, is a 30-year industry veteran. He has covered VoIP and UC at Network World for 12 years.

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