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October 02, 2012

Building a Strong Basis for Unified Communications in the Cloud

By Stefanie Mosca, TMCnet Managing Editor

To get the Cloud Communications Expo rolling today, Peter Bernstein, senior editor at TMC, moderated the first session of this week’s conference, Building a Strong Basis for Unified Communications (News - Alert) in the Cloud, which included an experienced panel of four industry veterans in the telecom space.

According to Dean Parker, president, CEO, Callis (News - Alert) Communications, with the shift from traditional strategies to the cloud, IT departments are becoming more like IT consultants as they are expected to know just about everything. Most companies migrating to cloud-based technologies are looking for specialized solutions that don’t require a lot of support but at the same time gives them the confidence that their product can stand on its own two feet in the competitive marketplace.

Adam Cole, CEO, Votela, added that the reason behind the demand in the shift to the cloud lies behind companies putting out stronger products with richer feature sets and data centers that are finally solid enough to handle these applications. “Every customer wants the latest technologies, but they aren’t all willing to spend the money on them,” Cole said. And for that exact reason, moving to the cloud is not only the right choice for the alternative UC platform, but it is the more affordable one as well.

 Many industry veterans argue that “the cloud” has actually been a part of the industry since the ‘70s; it just wasn’t called the cloud. Parker argued that in the past, the same offering was referred to as hosted, however, Cole disagreed. Cole shared with the audience that instead, Votela refers to cloud-based offerings as a full, multi-tenant solution, while a hosted solution encompasses a single tenant solution in the data center.

It seems everyone on the panel had their own version of what the cloud really entails. David Scult, CEO of Fonality (News - Alert), had his own opinion. Scult mentioned that cloud technology was previously referred to as Centrix in the telecom world. He added that the difference in the technology now is the delivery method has changed due to advancements in tech as it has become more of a business model change than a shift in the technology model.

Jeff Wissing, Netvanta UC senior product manager, enterprise networks division at ADTRAN (News - Alert) credited the change in unified communications to the introduction of the mobile workforce and the BYOD phenomenon, which integrates a “collage of apps, delivery models and best of breed features.” Wissing added that above all the customer wants the choice to deliver their UC when, where and the way they want it, whether premise-based, cloud-based or a hybrid model. And since customer is always right, service providers and manufacturers are forced to address these growing demands in the market by providing a solution that offers it all, or a customized version of what the customer is looking for.

Nevertheless, with the panelists’ differences in opinion when it comes to what truly builds a basis for a unified communications experience in the cloud, one thing is for sure, it makes for an interesting discussion and only builds on the notion that the hype around ‘the cloud’ will continue to penetrate our industry.

Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with ITEXPO Austin 2012 happening now in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud Communications Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey
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