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May 14, 2010

Verizon: Application Integration the Coming Revolution

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

A recent report from Verizon (News - Alert) Business' UC practice manager, Ben Green, has found that "the need to integrate mainstream enterprise applications such as ERP and CRM with unified communications services and make them accessible from any device, anywhere will drive all these applications into the cloud over the next few years."

Industry observer Stuart Corner writes that "Green says the 'unified communications as a service' platform of the future will provide a full suite of communications services, such as hosted IP telephony, voicemail, e-mail, instant messaging and presence, but more importantly will interface readily to other applications such as ERP and CRM, virtualized and running in the cloud."

He sees this integration as 'the next revolution' in unified communications services, Corner writes, but "predicts that it will likely be around 2015 before the first large scale adoptions take place," adding that widespread availability of SIP trunking "will also be key to delivering this functionality from the cloud."

Green said that Verizon Business (News - Alert) will have this available throughout most of Asia Pacific. As Corner says, the company will offer SIP trunking to Australian customers later this year.

Verizon Business's strategy, Corner says, will be "to support these applications on premises or in the cloud, and progressively to migrate them to a virtualized environment in the cloud and integrate them with UC offerings."

Verizon Business claims to have identified and quantified these gains in its 'Meetings Around The World' study first undertaken in 2006 and repeated recently.

'That study proved a linkage between a company's investment in collaboration technology and the direct productivity benefits that users gained,' Corner cites Green as saying. 'It showed that collaboration is twice as important as a company's strategic orientation - how aggressively a company goes after its target market…and six times as important as market forces.

This naturally will affect other markets as well. When it comes to VoIP termination services, some of the key benefits businesses should be aware of , according to Eric Levitt, CEO at Endstream Communications (News - Alert), are that VoIP customers are typically eligible for lower rates, because VoIP infrastructure is less expensive for the carrier to maintain and deploy.

"A good quality VoIP call can be as good or better than a traditional analog call, and sometimes even better than a digital call," he said.

VoIP equipment is easier to deploy for customers because they only need to maintain a single plant for network infrastructure, he noted, adding that because of the nature of IP networks, "it's easier to centralize the PBX (News - Alert) across an enterprise, and even centralize inbound trunks from carriers."

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David's articles, please visit his columnist page . He also blogs for TMCnet here .

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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