5 trends for unified communications

* Unified communications move beyond being a horizontal application to one focused on the contact center

Now we've had time to digest the announcements made at VoiceCon 2008, there are five sets of trends that we've observed. These include perspectives on pure-play VoIP, the move from horizontal to vertical to role-based solutions, unified communications and contact center convergence, and the yet-to-emerge importance of mobile VoIP and mobile unified communications.

1. Pure-play VoIP is so “yesterday.” The chorus of voices singing about how VoIP “is not a matter of if but when” seems to be relegated to the back of the auditorium, probably because VoIP adoption is pretty much a done deal for most enterprises - or at least a deal in progress.

2. User roles within a vertical market are evolving: When VoIP and IP telephony application first emerged, vendors focused on voice as a horizontal application, followed by a focus on vertical applications and vertical markets. The industry seems now to have taken the focus one step further to look at the roles of individual players within a vertical market.

3. Unified communications is so “today.” With development largely done and marketing and sales campaigns already focused, now enterprises are in the middle of defining how unified communications can bring benefit to business processes. The biggest unified communications news coming out of VoiceCon was Microsoft and IBM agreeing to work on interoperability. Still missing is the answer to how to bring unified communications benefit for inter-company, business-to-business processes.

4. Unified communications in the contact center: Unified communications systems have moved beyond being a horizontal enterprise application to focus on the contact center market, perhaps opening the door for unified communications targeted toward business-to-business and business-to-consumer opportunities.

5. Mobile VoIP and Mobile unified communications: Mobile VoIP is so “tomorrow.” We're waiting for service providers and enterprise communications systems suppliers to work together to take advantage of 3G wireless infrastructure builds. And, while announcements from Nortel and others show that mobile unified communications is on the drawing board, mobile unified communications is still in the distant future.

As always, if you agree or disagree with our observations feel free to send us an e-mail or post your comments in the comments box below.

Next time: Optimus talks about the importance of systems integration, consulting, and VAR support for UC deployments.

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