Editor's Notes

All Together Now

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the Aug. 2011 issue of Unified Communications Magazine

It’s July 8 as I’m writing this, and an interesting story posted today on TMCnet, the website/online community hub of Unified Communications Magazine parent TMC, drew me in with the headline: Is Social Software a Substitute for Unified Communications?

The piece talks about how some of the big guns in communications these days, namely Facebook (News - Alert) and Google, are now offering video chat “that looks and feels like videoconferencing”.

Of course, Facebook is the poster child of the social media movement, and its video chat feature (powered by Skype (News - Alert)) is engrained in its core business, providing an easy interface through which users can initiate and get information related to those video communications. The search giant, meanwhile, recently launched Google+ Hangouts, a similar video chat offering, but this one with a multi-person (up to 10) video-call capability.

TMC contributor Gary Kim writes that: “Social media is complementary to UC in the sense of providing context for voice and video calls by providing context.” Meanwhile, he says, social software can be used to append profile or contact tags on documents or discussion threads.And he goes on to quote Matt Tucker, CTO for social business software outfit Jive Software (News - Alert), saying that: “I think it's more likely that UC gets subsumed into social than the other way around.”

Another source in the story, this one from IBM (News - Alert), talks about how while the above types of tools enable video chat with folks you might not necessarily know, UC tends to be used in scenarios with existing contacts and colleagues.

Whatever the case, I think it’s clear that the lines continue to blur in terms of what is a consumer or business device or service; what is a social network or unified communications interaction (if there ever was a distinction between the two, which I’m not so sure there ever was); what is a UC or VoIP solution (given so many call center companies, hosted service providers and others now offer such full-featured communications capabilities); and even (with Facebook “friend”ing) what is a personal or professional communication or contact.

In light of the new alchemy of communications, TMC decided now is the perfect time to do some mixing of its own. So Unified Communications isbecoming a regular section in INTERNET TELEPHONY, TMC’s flagship publication, starting in September. I hope you’ll join us as we move to this new, and more frequent (monthly as opposed to every other month) home.

As you look forward to September, also consider attending ITEXPO (News - Alert), TMC’s biannual trade show. ITEXPO West will take place Sept. 13-15 at The Austin Convention Center in hip and groovy Austin, Texas.

I’ve never been to Austin, but it’s been on my bucket list for a few years now, so I’m really looking forward it. Of course, Austin is not only the home of the incredible ITEXPO West 2011, it’s also known for its lively food and music scene.

The Travel Channel recently aired an Anthony Bourdain show in which he visited some of the awesome food trucks in Austin, so you might want to look for that. Our show also immediately precedes the Austin City Limits Music Festival, so if you want to come for ITEXPO and stay for the weekend you can catch Stevie Wonder and a bevy of other great acts. And, to get you in an Austin state of mind, you might want to check out music from local bluegrass band The Bad Livers or Old 97s (not from Austin, but a great band that I heard first made its mark at Austin’s famed South by Southwest festival).

See you in Austin!

Edited by Stefania Viscusi