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March 14, 2007

Gartner Group Notes Top Conferencing, Presence and other Unified Communications Vendors

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Senior Editor

IT research and advisory firm Gartner recently published its “Framework for Unified Communications” research note, detailing a framework for the broad set of technologies that make up unified communications (UC) as well as providing guidance for companies looking to invest in UC products and applications.
Gartner defined UC as products (equipment, software, services) as “those that enhance individual, workgroup and organizational productivity by enabling and facilitating the control, management, integration and use of multiple enterprise communication methods.”
According to Gartner, UC can be divided into six broad technology groups:
  • Live communications (e.g. real-time voice or video calls)
  • Conferencing (e.g. audio-conferencing, Web conferencing)
  • Messaging (e.g. e-mail, voicemail)
  • Clients and endpoints (e.g. desktop clients, smartphones)
  • Support applications (e.g. presence)
Each of these categories can be broken down further, of course. Gartner did so in its report, noting for many sub-categories specific vendors that ranked high according to the firm’s research. This information is summarized below.
Live Communications
Voice – Alcatel, Avaya (News - Alert), Cisco, Nortel
Instant messaging – IBM, Microsoft, Jabber
Video telephony – Polycom, Tanberg, Cisco, Avaya
Audio-conferencing and Web conferencing – Avaya, Nortel (News - Alert), Cisco, Interwise, Polycom
Converged conferencing – Interwise, Polycom
E-mail – Micrsofot, IBM, Novell, Mirapoint
Voicemail – Avaya, AVST, Cisco, IP Unity, Nortel
Unified messaging – AVST, Avaya, Cisco, Nortel, CommuniGate Systems (News - Alert)
Clients and Endpoints
Desktop communicator clients – Microsoft (News - Alert) Communicator, Cisco Communicator
Softphones and SIP phones – Cisco, Nortel, Avaya
Multimodal UC Support Applications
Notification and applications – niche vendors like Recipriz and Invoq Systems, unified messaging vendors such as AVST
Personal assistants – Avaya, AVST, Cisco, Nortel, Siemens (News - Alert), TeleWare
Communications-enabled business processes – Siemens, Nortel, Cisco
Mobility Solutions
Collaboration solutions – IBM, Microsoft, Open Text
Contact centers – Genesys, Avaya, Nortel, Cisco
Directories – Microsoft, Sun, Novell, open-source LDAP directories
For more information about the various segments of the UC universe, please visit the following channels and communities: Conference Phones, Unified Communications, Presence, Internet Communications, and VoIP for Enterprise. On these channels you can learn more about UC generally and specifically the solutions offered by some of the companies mentioned in Gartner’s report.
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Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.

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