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
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,
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
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.
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
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 email@example.com. You
can also participate in our forums.
ENTERPRISE SURVEY OF CONVERGED COMMUNICATIONS MIGRATION
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
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.
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