TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



tmc logo
March 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 3
Inside Networking

UC Software-Centric Unification

Everyone is talking about unification of the user experience, making it easy to escalate communications from point-point IMs to telephony to video to rich multimedia conferencing. However, if unification only takes place at the client level, you may still be faced with a complex set of disparate systems in the back end: voicemail, email, audio conferencing, web conferencing, video conferencing, IM/presence and telephony.

In addition, the whole industry is moving towards integration of unified communications into business applications and processes. This is all about decreasing the human delay that today slows down these processes. This is truly transformational.

Unification of the UC infrastructure around software is critical from both business and IT perspectives. The ability to integrate unified communications with business processes can be severely hampered, unless the unified communications ‘application’ can flexibly integrate with business applications. The business case of unifying the client experience can be blown away, if traditional technology silos are maintained in the IT infrastructure.

The IT industry has developed an open framework to provide a flexible building block approach to application development. It’s called the Service Oriented Architecture or SOA. SOA is based on a style of architecture that uses loosely-coupled services and components, and provides a modular ‘develop once, and re-use many times’ approach to application development. A method for implementing SOA is Web Services, an extremely pervasive and widely adopted technology. Adopting a SOA and Web Services framework for communications enablement of business processes allows enterprises to fully leverage a large developer ecosystem for business advantage.

This probably sounds very reasonable to you. But one notable vendor has adopted a network-centric vertically integrated approach, which is diametrically opposed to a software centric approach. Such a network-centric approach creates interdependencies between the network infrastructure and applications that could make communications enablement difficult.

Presenting a consistent set of services (e.g. click to connect, notification, presence queries) allows business processes to be communications enabled, in a way that is independent of the underlying infrastructure. Furthermore, these services can be defined in such a way as to be provided by infrastructures from many vendors and spanning enterprise and service provider environments.

Enterprises should assess how various unified communications suppliers can unify the user experience with tight integration with desktop applications and how they propose to unify the unified communications IT infrastructure. A software-centric approach to unification of the unified communications infrastructure provides enterprises the agility to accelerate application innovation and leads to the next level of data center consolidation. IT

Tony Rybczynski is Director of Strategic Enterprise Technologies at Nortel. He has over 20 years experience in the application of packet network technology. For more information, please visit

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas