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Arthur M. Rosenberg

[September 5, 2003]

Unified-View (Part 2)

By Art Rosenberg

More Communications Convergence In The Year Ahead

Back | (Part 2)

        The Convergence of the Desktop and Handheld Devices

The enterprise IP-PBX providers have recently made various accommodations for extending the facilities of the office desktop phone to handheld wireless devices. In 2003, Avaya, Motorola and Proxim announced their plans to provide seamless voice call handovers between cellular services and on-premises Wi-Fi Access Points. Other technology providers are following suit, setting the stage for greater interoperability between multi-modal handheld and desktop communication devices.

As screen-based IP phones, both wired and wireless, support all forms of personalized communications access (voice calls, text/voice messaging), they will be able to provide practical call and message management activities, including unified presence, availability and modality controls for the power of personalized, anywhere and  always on communication. That is why we see SIP phones, rather than just IP phones, being key to enabling greater productivity benefits to both contact initiators and recipients. (What Do Users Want From Converged Communications? Business Communications Review, November, 2003)

        Communications Security

Just as the vulnerabilities of the public Internet have required the enterprise to put up firewalls to protect both information applications and e-mail systems from a variety of destructive attacks by hackers, the migration of voice communications into software-based servers and device clients in an IP infrastructure has introduced new security requirements into the traditional telecommunications world. Not only does this mean new technology responsibilities for the enterprise communication application servers, but also another layer of end-user support for both wired and wireless device client software. This may mark 2004 as the year of new voice communications security, particularly for wireless communication devices.

        Enterprise UC migrations and enterprise ROIs: Who is in charge?

While IP-based communication technology is still evolving, network infrastructure convergence is having an impact on traditional organizational responsibilities. In particular, as enterprise migration to VoIP infrastructures increases in 2004, voice-oriented telecom management has to readjust its role in supporting voice communication applications within the context of converged voice and data networking.

In our recent enterprise survey on converged communications migration, the decision-making for VoIP and IP telephony is still controlled by executive and telecom management, while IP networks, including Wi-Fi and VPN access, are decided by data network management. However, 41 percent of the respondents, mostly telecommunications managers, indicated that administrative responsibilities to support all end-user communications are starting to be consolidated within their organizations. We would like to see the management and support of all forms of asynchronous messaging and synchronous voice calls and messaging come together to more effectively support new multi-modal communication devices. 

Another trend that started in 2003 is the shift in enterprise emphasis on cost-reducing ROI to one of increasing productivity for both individuals and working groups in order to justify the implementation of converged communications technologies. While both micro-productivity for individuals and macro-productivity for groups are important, the latter will be the responsibility of business unit/departmental management, rather than technology managers who can only control technology infrastructure costs. We should therefore expect to see increased teamwork in the coming year between the two areas of management in making planning decisions about converged network infrastructure and dependent communication applications and communication devices.

        Will Wireless Mobility and Scalable IP Become The Great Equalizers For The SMB Market?

Scalable converged communications at the enterprise (Customer Premise Equipment) and wireless carrier levels mean greater flexibility and opportunities for supporting enterprise end users, regardless of the size and location of these users. Services like IP Centrex, Wi-Fi and wireless handheld communications can now be more easily provided to customers, and with the power of remote self-provisioning, managed and controlled more directly by enterprise users. As the leading carriers have started their migration to VoIP, we should expect some interesting developments from them in the coming year.

These new services will open the enterprise market to migration strategies that exploit pilot testing and selective migrations from services to CPE for branch offices or departments, when and where appropriate within the large, distributed enterprise. For the small to medium enterprise, the leading telecommunication providers like Avaya, Nortel, Siemens and Mitel have scaled down their IP product offerings so that smaller businesses can have the same new communication applications for their end users as the big customers. The migration for the smaller enterprise is actually a lot easier because of the lack of major legacy investments to protect.

So, 2004 appears to be a continuation of the evolving technology towards converged, multi-modal communication application products for the enterprise market, as well as for consumer service providers. The real trick this year will be to start migrating end users and new multi-modal communication devices to new converged communication functionalities of enterprise and carrier technology offerings.

What Do You Think?
We have tried to highlight the communication technology trends and issues that will affect enterprise organizations in the coming year. What do you think will be the major change that we see in the technology and in the marketplace in 2004? Will enterprises shift some of their old responsibilities for wired desktops to wireless service providers? Will combined multi-modal user interfaces using new standards like SALT happen this year?

Let us know your thoughts by sending your comments to comments@unified-view.com. You can also participate in our forums.

The Unified-View has started a comprehensive survey initiative to track the migration of enterprise organizations towards converged communications management. The ongoing survey is accessible through CommWeb and is open to enterprise technology managers responsible for current telephone or messaging communications and their migration to a converged network infrastructure and multi-modal communication devices.

Participants in this study will be rewarded with up-to-date perspective reports of how enterprise organizations are selectively migrating from their current communication technologies to support various user needs for enterprise-wide mobility and multi-modal communications.

To participate in this survey now, go to: http://cmp.inquisiteasp.com/surveys/e42wy8 and be sure to type in TMC as your Group Identification Code on the first page.

White Paper
Dont forget to pull down your free copy of our latest white paper, Migrating to Enterprise-wide Communications: The Branch Office Dilemma, on enterprise-wide communication applications in a distributed enterprise. Simply go to our Web site www.unified-view.com, fill out the form, and download the paper.

Art Rosenberg and David Zimmer are veterans 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. They focus 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 objective industry thought leaders, Art Rosenberg and David Zimmer have 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. Both principals are popular speakers 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.

Copyright 2004 The Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

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