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March 19, 2008

IBM's Rhodin Predicts Unified Communications Trends

By Greg Galitzine, Group Editorial Director

Mike Rhodin, General Manager of IBM (News - Alert) Lotus software predicted five future trends that he believes will “increase demand for the fast-growing unified communications (UC) market and reshape the way businesses and workers communicate and collaborate worldwide.”

Rhodin made five predictions in a keynote address at an industry conference today:
  • The Virtual Workplace will become the rule.
  • Instant Messaging and other real-time collaboration tools will become the norm, bypassing e-mail.
  • Companies will move beyond phone calls to collaborative business processes
  • Interoperability and open standards will tear down proprietary walls across business and public domains.
  • New meeting models will emerge.
According to recent market estimates by research firm IDC (News - Alert), the unified communications market will reach $17 billion in worldwide revenue in 2011, growing at 38 percent compounded annually from 2007.
As such, Rhodin explained that IBM sees UC as the next significant frontier for growth. IBM recently announced an initiative that will see the company invest a billion dollars to meet the growing demand that UC is expected to generate.
The UC market is growing, said Rhodin, “…driven by employees’ changing habits and the increasing need for immediate access to information and people.”
IBM is working to make unified communications capabilities available to users across a wide range of environments, including Lotus Sametime, Notes, and Connections, as well as Microsoft’s (News - Alert) Outlook and Office, and across a variety of business applications and line-of-business specific applications.
IBM is also investing in social networking and technology to enable easy collaboration among employees, and has over 70 researchers and more than 1,300 IBM software developers and technical experts contributing to the effort.
Among the elements of this new strategy, IBM has a new offering, billed as “Enterprise Adaptability” services, include a unique way of measuring the return on investment of a company’s forays into social networking, as well as ways of automatically identifying key talent, and other social network analysis.
According to IBM, Enterprise Adaptability is an important part of the company’s overall consulting and software portfolio, in that it empowers clients with tools to help them identify experts within their organizations, or with their partners and customers.
Furthermore, IBM’s Venture Capital program is working to uncover promising new innovations in unified communications and make efforts to bring these new solutions to life.
IBM is enjoying widespread adoption of their unified communications and collaboration platform and services. The firm has announced that IDEA Cellular (News - Alert), a leading cellular operator and an Aditya Birla Group Company, is deploying a unique unified communications and collaboration solution with IBM and Cisco (News - Alert) designed to “help boost employee productivity and enhance business growth.” IBM is responsible for the services, assets and skills and for integrating the solution into the company’s existing environment.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

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Featured Speakers

Mike Rhodin
General Manager, Lotus Software, IBM
Session Title:
Communicate and Collaborate at the Speed of Business
Wednesday, March 19 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
David Marshak,
Senior Product Manager, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC�), IBM
Session Title:
Presence: Cornerstone of Enterprise Communications?
Wednesday, March 19 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Terrence Hickey:
Global Business Services Solution Executive, Contact Centers, IBM
Session Title:
Contact Center Executive Forum
Monday, March 17 1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

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