This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
Unified communications is following a somewhat similar trajectory to mobile communications, Raymond P. Dolan, president and CEO at Sonus Networks (News - Alert), indicated during his keynote speech at the recent ITEXPO Austin event. That, of course, is somewhat encouraging, given that mobile has taken off like a rocket and is now a multibillion dollar industry, while many see UC as still sitting on the launch pad – or having taken off, but still feeling gravity’s pull.
During his speech at the TMC (News - Alert) event, Dolan – a former leader at mobile companies including Bell Atlantic/NYNEX Mobile, PacTel Cellular and QUALCOMM – laid out the 20-year journey of mobile data devices, discussing the evolution from pagers to the iPhone (News - Alert) and other smartphone devices; mentioning it was once considered a bold prediction to suggest that there would at some point be 10 million cellular users worldwide; and noting that not too many years ago the hottest topics in the mobile space had to do with which air interface protocol carriers should embrace, how they might work together, and whether a protocol called WAP was the key to supporting walled gardens for mobile Internet users.
Referencing the mobile industry’s transition from figuring out how to address protocol-related issues to deciding how to allow for interoperability and simplicity, and just generally understanding industry barriers to widespread adoption, Dolan commented: “Does that sound familiar to us in the UC space? You bet.”
Like those in the mobile space, he indicated, those in the UC arena need to understand what problems they are solving with their solutions, they need to drive simplicity, and they want to get to scale as soon and possible.
One key problem UC can help address, he added, is the ability to locate and connect with people to move forward workflow. Although we already live in a collaborative work environment, he said, studies indicate that 16 percent of work projects are delayed due to impeded access to decision makers.
“If we could track a package 20 years ago, why can’t we track [a person] now?” asked Dolan, whose speech followed one by Robert B. Carter, executive vice president of information services, and CIO, at FedEx.
Session initiation protocol will be a catalyst to allow for flexibility, productivity, scale and simplicity around UC, Dolan added.
SIP was initially embraced by organizations as a way to significantly reduce their connectivity costs, he said, adding that SIP delivers ROI in six to nine months and savings of up to 70 percent as compared with TDM connectivity. But SIP-based UC infrastructure, he said, also has been shown to improve productivity more than 23 percent. And it is the session border controller, which can live within business or carrier networks, that is foundational to setting up, conducting and tearing down SIP sessions with security, interworking and QoS, he said. As people move to cloud-based UC, he said, SIP and SBCs will become the network layer to allow for scalability, flexibility, reliability and simplicity – including federation among different vendors’ and business users’ UC solutions.
“Federation of these UC environments is going to become essential,” he said.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi