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Arthur M. Rosenberg

[July 26, 2004]

Unified-View (Part 2)

By Art Rosenberg

Instant Messaging Finally Making Its way Into Unified Communications

Back | (Part 2)

IM As Part of UM for the Residence Market

The Comcast Cable announcement reflects yet another perspective of communications convergence, this time from the residence market, where cable is starting to make inroads on the telco turf. The residence market is not just about consumers, but is increasingly including both the SOHO and teleworker users that are business communications oriented. Comcast is looking at unified communications, including IM, to provide the same enhanced telecommunications functionality needed by enterprise users, rather than just the lower pricing that VoIP (define - news - alert) will enable all service providers to offer. 

As reported in the press, “Comcast subscribers can look forward to video chat, unified messaging (getting all e-mail, instant messages and voice messages in one place, whether on Comcast.net (news - alert) or on digital cable, including caller ID on the TV and a call log that lists each message by time and type), videoconferencing and videophones.” Integrating IM with other forms of asynchronous messaging under the umbrella of unified messaging is certainly valid, but it’s real-time role for text chat and dependency on presence management should tie it closer to call management options.  

We also expect to see convergence between the residence market services and wireless handsets, since the same personalized user needs for contact mobility will apply to residence users, consumers or business, as it does for the enterprise environment. Whether it will be WiFi (define - news - alert) in the home, or wireless carrier services, in our book, the wireless mobility shoe has to drop along with any form of wired network access.

And What Do Enterprise Telecom Managers Think About IM?

We always look at both sides of the coin to evaluate the progress of technology migration, i.e., what the industry is offering vs. what the markets are ready to use. In this case, we look at our most recent survey of enterprise telecommunications management, to rate their perspective of the importance of IM and presence.

Although “communications convergence” would suggest significant interest in IM as a complementary mode of real-time contact that should interwork with traditional telephone calling, the survey results show that IM is not of great interest (yet) to the voice telecommunications folks in the enterprise.

Arthur M. Rosenberg


This may be a result of the lack of industry-wide standards and the aforementioned inability for the technology providers to support interoperability.  It also may reflect the lack of convergence between voice communications and text messaging within most enterprise today. With the rise of VoIP and IP Telephony, we are finally starting to see more offerings of unified messaging and “one-number” contact services.

So, although IM is being heavily used on the services side, it is only now going to become a practical responsibility for enterprise communications management. Stay tuned!    

What Do You Think?

How much responsibility should the enterprise take for IM service? Should it be a combination of public services and in-house servers? Who in the IT department should be managing IM usage? How should IM interwork with both email and phone calls? What role should presence play in routing a contact initiator towards IM, email, or a phone connection? How will enterprise IM text messaging interwork with Push-to-Talk voice services for both mobile and desktop users? How will security be unified and enforced across all inter-enterprise communications activities?      

Let us know your opinions by sending them to artr@ix.netcom.com


 Art Rosenberg is a veteran of the computer and communications industry and formed The Unified-View to provide strategic consulting to technology and service providers, as well as to enterprise organizations, in migrating towards converged wired and wireless unified communications. He focuses on practical user requirements, implementation issues, and new benefits of multi-modal communication technologies for individual end users, both as consumers and as members of enterprise working groups. The latter includes identifying new responsibilities for enterprise communications management to support changing operational usage needs most cost-effectively.

Considered to be an objective industry thought leader, Art Rosenberg has been publishing their highly-acclaimed syndicated column on unified messaging and unified communications for over four years to a worldwide audience of consultancies, technology providers, service providers, and enterprise technology managers. He is a popular speaker at leading technology conferences and organized the first programs in the industry focused on the subject of unified messaging/communications. The Unified-View's website (www.unified-view.com) is also considered to be a leading source for information on the evolution of unified communications.

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