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Sunday, November 11, 2007

More on Enterprise Mobile UC and Googles Mobile OS

Copyright © 2007 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

November 11, 2007

How Can Enterprise Mobile UC Applications and Mobile Operators Benefit From Google’s Android Mobile OS?

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

Everyone with an interest in mobile communications is talking about the Google announcement this past week of its Android open source mobile OS. An “open” mobile OS can open the doors to not only increased consumer usage of different types “smart phones” for multimodal information access, personal contacts, and entertainment needs, but also to support enterprise-controlled mobile business applications (especially Communications Enabled Business Processes or CEBP) for their increasingly mobile employees, business partners, and, of course, their mobile customers.

Unlike Apple’s iPhone announcement at the beginning of this year, which highlighted the iPhone’s beautiful design and form factor to attract consumers, Google aimed at the software infrastructure that will support ANY device design and mobile application that a consumer might want. This leaves the door open for both handset makers and application developers to compete with their own creations for the personalized needs of individual users. Such needs, however, may well be for business usage that must interoperate with enterprise applications.

The U.S. Wireless Carriers – A “Fly in The Ointment?”

My first reaction to the open source approach at the OS level was that it could help lower the costs of both mobile multimodal devices and network services across the board to expand usage in both the consumer and business markets. I also suggested that because the flexibility of adding personalized user applications can add more usage revenue to carriers and service providers, coupled with the potential added carrier revenue from advertising on the smart phone visual interface, the Google announcement would help remove or minimize the traditional “walled gardens” of the wireless carriers. Freedom to access enterprise-controlled applications will be critical to support business users who will want a single, multimodal mobile device and access service for both personal and business use.

Skeptics voiced concern that the wireless carriers, who get most of their revenue directly from individual subscribers, will still “lock up” any phone device that uses the Android mobile OS, in order to control their traditional consumer service offerings. However, because many of those same subscribers are also business users, their multimodal capabilities must really support enterprise UC applications. So, not only will carrier restrictions on mobile devices be disturbing to consumers, as already reported from AT&T’s iPhone experience, but they also stand in the way of carriers generating more usage revenue from mobile business applications that demand device independence. That’s “Cutting your nose off to spite your face!”

Exploiting Multimodal Smart Phones For Mobile Business Users

IP telephony developments have already introduced the notion of mobile phones being able to exploit premise-based wired VoIP and Wi-Fi connections, as well as cellular services from wireless carriers. With capabilities first demonstrated by Avaya with cell phones from Nokia and Motorola under the label of “Extension to Cellular,” what is now referred to as Fixed Mobile Convergence allows business users to use their office number and PBX features from their cell phone, while their personal cell phone number still provided direct access for personal calls on the same mobile device. In addition, cellular connections can be automatically switched to a lower-cost Wi-Fi connection when in range of a premise–based Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) or femtocell.

Now that the mobile communication stakes have jumped up from just voice calls to multimodal communications and business process applications, its time to reconsider the role of mobile devices for both consumer and business UC applications. This is necessary not only to provide personalized flexibility for all individual user communication needs, but also to separate the technology responsibilities of the enterprise for business communications from the particular multimodal mobile device (and network service) that an end user chooses for both personal and business accessibility.

Mobile Enterprise Applications – “Join Them, Don’t Fight Them!”

Inasmuch as the carriers have always wanted to get “wholesale” group subscriptions from the enterprise markets, the software move into open mobile device operating systems can enable enterprise-controlled software clients to share a subscriber’s mobile device. On the other hand, enterprise organizations always want to maintain security control over access to their applications and information from mobile employees, as well as over their business usage charges. With a mobile OS on the device that supports multiple software clients controlled by application servers belonging to either the mobile operator or to an enterprise, everyone, including the individual end users, can be satisfied.

So, with recent consumer FMC announcements from carriers such as BT in the UK and T-Mobile and Sprint in the U.S., combined with the flexibility of new, multimodal mobile devices and mobile operating systems, the path to converged, but manageable, business and personal communications looks promising. This trend will be further reinforced by consumers who bring FMC into their home environments through services like HomeZone from Wanadoo.

What Do You Think?

So, what do you think will happen will mobile devices and services at this point in the UC enterprise evolution game? Will business organizations follow the lead of their Web experiences or stick with traditional wired, premise-based telephony thinking?

You can contact me at: or .

My Take on Microsoft’s Approach to UC Migration

I authored a recent white paper describing UC ROIs and practical approaches to enterprise transition planning that highlight Microsoft’s UC product positioning for simplifying the challenge of evolving to UC. Rather than start with replacing existing wired desktop phone systems, the UC evolution can start with adding IM/presence management, unified messaging, mobile devices, and IP softphones. You can download a copy of the white paper by going to the UC Strategies web site at:

You might want to now consider the impact of Google’s mobile OS move upon Microsoft’s UC strategy. Microsoft UC applications can still play nice with devices that exploit open Android OS capabilities.

New UC Blogs at UC

Check out my contributions to the new UC Blogs on the UC Strategies web site, where it will be easy for you to put your two cents in on the controversial issues facing enterprise migration to UC. Remember, UC is NOT just about telephony or person-to-person communications!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Google's Android Announcement and Mobile UC

Copyright © 2007 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

November 9, 2007

The Battle For Enterprise Mobile UC – Google’s Android Mobile OS

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

The two big changes that are disrupting traditional business communications are the Internet and wireless end user mobility. Both of these capabilities are also driving the evolution of unified communications (UC). Google’s big announcement this week about it’s open-source mobile OS (“Android”) Open Handset Alliance, is theoretically challenging Microsoft, Symbian, etc., about their role in mobile UC and business applications, as well as the business models that will control mobile service offerings.

First, by going the open source route, it will help break down the traditional “walled gardens” of the carriers. Secondly, with Google’s well-established dominance of web-search and associated advertising revenues to monetize mobile information content, their approach will fit in nicely with new, multimodal “smart phones.” Couple that with enabling their offerings to be free or much lower costs, guess what service providers and subscribers will opt for!

For another market perspective of the open source impact of the Android announcement, check out this Research Alert from Saugatuck Technology at:

So, how will that affect enterprise UC users?

As I have frequently stated in my Unified-View column, mobile business users are the ones who will get maximum benefit from the flexibility of UC because their contact modality will be constantly changing. Sometimes they will need a visual interface, sometimes they will need a hands-free/eyes-free speech interface (driving a car). More recently, with improved speech recognition as a convenient form of input, interactive interfaces can now be a more efficient combination of speech input, text input, and visual output (multimodal interface).

As I have also stated frequently, UC flexibility must support mobile device independence, and as business users start using mobile consumer services and devices that can support business applications, they will expect enterprise UC to support their mobile device of preference. Enterprise security issues can be software controlled with enterprise-provided software clients installed on those open devices to take care of any information or user communication access that is in the governance responsibility of the enterprise. Personal, consumer services (entertainment, social contacts, etc.) can still remain functional, even if the business features are shut down by an enterprise.

What this really means, then, is that mobile devices will become the personalized choice and responsibility of business end users as long as the device operating system enables separate control over business information and communication activities from personal stuff. That kind of mobile security management technology is already available from a number of providers, so the concept just needs a proper operational environment in the form of multimodal devices and an open, mobile OS that supports it all.

New Mobile Device Coming Soon - What Will End Users Go For?

The question now is, what impact will the Google offering have upon personalized, handheld mobile devices, and which combination of mobile device and mobile OS will end users go for? Microsoft has already reacted to the announcement, as well as some bloggers who have made critical comments to the effect that that is all that it is at this point, an announcement. Some critics said similar things about Microsoft’s venture into UC with OCS 2007. However, at this point in the evolution of UC technology, we are looking for both long term direction as well as short term availability of technology that can be both useful and future-proofed.

What Do You Think?

So, what do you think will happen will mobile devices and services at this point in the UC enterprise evolution game? Will they follow the lead of the Web experience or continue with traditional enterprise telephony CPE thinking?

You can contact me at: or (310) 395-2360.

My Take on Microsoft’s Approach to UC Migration

I authored a recent white paper describing UC ROIs and practical approaches to enterprise transition planning that highlight Microsoft’s UC product positioning for simplifying the challenge of evolving to UC. Rather than start with replacing existing wired desktop phone systems, the UC evolution can start with adding IM/presence management, unified messaging, mobile devices, and IP softphones. You can download a copy of the white paper by going to the UC Strategies web site at:

You might want to consider the impact of Googles mobile OS move upon Microsoft’s UC strategy.

New UC Blogs at UC

This article also kicks off my first contribution to a new blog venue focused on business UC evolution. So check it out!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Using Hosted Services to Migrate to UC

Copyright © 2007 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

October 26, 2007

Feedback From A Large Enterprise on The Role of Hosted UC Services

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

As you can tell from all the press that is being generated by Microsoft’s entry into the world of unified communications, which includes IP telephony, SIP, and VoIP networking, there are many perspectives being thrown at enterprise IT organizations as to how and why they should move forward in migrating to UC. For the smaller business enterprises, the pressure is also starting to build for the VAR channels to jump on the moving UC train. But, the old CPE VAR game may have to change; because it is no longer a matter of selling just CPE-based TDM telephone applications and wired desktop phones, but also device-independent, hosted/managed IP-based UC service options as well.

What About Large Enterprises?

The new complexity of UC, coupled with personalized mobile devices, is bringing the migration challenge to medium and large enterprise organizations as well, and hosted/managed services can play a useful role for them in “crossing the chasm” to UC. One of the highlights of Microsoft’s OCS Launch in San Francisco on October 16th, was the participation of large end users who were trialing the new technology. I not only had the opportunity to hear the presentation given by Rolf Hansmann, Head of Common Services Architecture and New Technologies, for Sanofi Aventis, one of the world’s largest global pharmaceutical companies, but also discussed practical UC implementation issues with him.

As already reported, Hansmann made a clear case for both collaborative interaction speed and flexibility, as well as for complete security, in his company’s development cycle for new pharmaceutical products, the value of which is enormous to their bottom line. However, in a personal conversation following his talk, he acknowledged the potential need and value of using secure, hosted services, while at this time relying on complete control through premise-based technology,

Here is an email exchange that followed up on my conversation with him at the Microsoft OCS Launch.

From: Arthur M. Rosenberg []
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2007 4:
08 AM
To: Hansmann, Rolf PH/DE
Subject: Good meeting you


I enjoyed hearing your presentation at the Microsoft Launch in San Francisco, as well talking with you afterwards.

I have long been focused on the end users' needs as a prerequisite for what the enterprise must supply in the way of technology services. I certainly appreciate your concerns for information security and I think that can be done by managing information access and limiting personal storage of such data. However, once a person knows the information, how can you possibly prevent them from giving it to someone else in some form or another? There obviously has to some amount of "trust," as well as tracking of individual communication activities.

In addition to security concerns, I think making business contacts more efficient, simplified, and flexible is a general need that UC will help make possible. Given that UC technology will provide such improvements, the next big question is how the enterprise should "migrate" to that future.

I am providing a link to my Microsoft UC white paper that was published back in July. While I certainly appreciate your concerns for having premise-based control over all information and communication activity, I think we are heading towards a hosted/managed service environment that will facilitate the migration to new communication applications, regardless of where the server and client software end up residing.

I am also providing a link to my latest article in BCR magazine that addresses the need for hosted/managed services because of the greater complexity of the UC technologies. Of course it will be most applicable to the SMB market, which doesn't have much in-house IT expertise at all, but I think even larger organizations will find it difficult to create or maintain all that constantly evolving software that gets tied into UC. On the other hand, who will you trust to do that in the future? (You have already mentioned your disappointment with some “UC” software offerings so far, along with high hopes for Microsoft’s OCS.)

I welcome your comments as a "hands-on," real-world enterprise user, and was glad to hear that in your environment, there is beginning to be a "viral" acceptance of UC capabilities from end users. Are you collecting any metrics of productivity yet?

Hope you had a safe trip home.

Best regards,

Art Rosenberg,

The Unified-View

From: Rolf.Hansmann,
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2007 4:
08 AM
Arthur M. Rosenberg []
Subject: RE: Good meeting You


For me, it was also a pleasure to meet you. I see from all your comments that great minds are thinking very similarly. This is true for almost all areas we talked about and the ones you mention in the eMail. The discussion about the combination of technical security measures and personal trust is one of my favourite discussions with security departments.

I already told them that for total technical security, we can block the network, but for keeping all the secrets a large organization has, we would need to kill all the employees knowing the secrets! (Social hacking is still the easiest way to get information.) So you are absolutely right! In the real world there are two different kinds of boys: one sort puts the nice marbles into the pocket, looks at them at home, and does not show them to anyone else. The other kind of boys take their marbles to the schoolyard and play with the other boys. Yes, this includes the risk of losing marbles, but it is the only way to win more as well.

So, for me security in the confidentiality area is a balance you always need to work on. Do not make it too easy for the competition (and the Chinese) to get your secrets, but do not stop the flow of creative juices within your own organisation. I think Microsoft OCS (MOCS) found a perfect balance for doing this with its Transport Layer Security. It is hard for the IT people to install it, but there are zero additional hurdles for end users to use it.

This leads me to the other part of your eMail and thinking - the external service idea for UC and other services. I am with Dilbert. He said that what we can count on for the next decade is inexperience and ignorance - and that is what will make your ideas useful. IT personnel, mainly the higher levels, often have no clue these days about new technology details and architecture. They are able to address budgets and they are able to reorganize their staffs. Then, IT middle management follows and often do not even try to innovate, but also focus on reducing operational budgets. If organizations would stop concentrating of saving operational cost and concentrate on understanding how IT technology is changing, almost every implementation project could be done for a minimum savings of 10 times less up to a maximum factor of some thousand times cheaper.

In Germany there is the Hercules project claiming to provide non-military communication for the Bundeswehr, our army personnel. They already spent 8 billion € on that for 100,000 people in Germany and claim that they need more money. Comparable projects in the business world do the same thing for 100,000 people worldwide for 5 million €. So my take is, that if IT management would be able to understand the new, “smart” infrastructures and consultants would head in the same direction, they would save tremendous amounts of money in implementations.

Under those circumstances, I would bet on using an internal smart infrastructure as we are doing (and proving with this that we are a good IT managers). But, under the current reality in many organizations, I would agree with you in your BCR article and say, “Given the inexperience of most IT organizations in implementing large but smart and cheap infrastructures, it might be better to start with an external service for commodity functions.”

Regarding productivity metrics, I need to say it is too early to have them for Microsoft OCS. We can speak about Exchange Conferencing here and we do have some of those activity statistics, which can be the baseline to calculate ROI savings from usage of that application.

I need to repeat: I enjoyed the discussion with you and I enjoy continuing that by eMail.


Bill Gates Leads Microsoft Into UC and IP Telephony

Copyright © 2007 Unified-View, All Rights Reserved Worldwide

October 20, 2007

Bill Gates Grabs the Multimodal Torch of UC

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

Microsoft’s highly promoted Launch of it’s Office Communication Server 2007 in San Francisco last week was well attended and well documented in the technology press. There should really have been no “new” surprises, since Microsoft has been well publicizing and testing its strategic unified communications (UC) technologies directions for quite a while now, and it has long acknowledged that they are far from being completely finished.

So, the big deal really is about how seriously they are ready to move into the traditional small and large business telephony markets with UC software vs. hardware. Perhaps the biggest indicator of this serious thrust was having Bill Gates take the lead for Microsoft in publicly challenging the diminishing role of hardware-based PBXs and their proprietary desktop telephones in providing voice communications to business organizations and application processes as part of the new, converged world of flexible, “multimodal” unified communications.

Microsoft is not merely saying they have new and better software products that will handle IP telephony and voice messaging traditionally supplied by the telecommunications industry, but emphasizing that they are also supporting the new paradigms of multimodal “presence” management, and more intelligent, “contextual” contact initiation within an enterprise. However, they are still working on making standards-based “federated” presence for telephony available across both enterprise and consumer boundaries to enable what I have dubbed “transmodal communication” to provide increased flexibility and efficiencies for individual and business process productivity.

All this is in addition to reducing the basic costs of implementing and supporting traditional business telephony needs. Inasmuch as Microsoft is already perceived as a leader in the increasingly dominant use of business text messaging (email, IM), it is now moving help to drop the UC shoe on the future role of IP telephony and voice and video conferencing.

Simplifying UC Complexities for End Users

Because extending the capabilities of telephony under the umbrella of multimodal UC also increases the procedural complexity of business communications, Microsoft has focused on the goal of simplicity for its converged UC software products. Keeping the user interface simple is dependent on exploiting both visual interfaces and speech recognition, and both forms of communication interaction were demonstrated during the launch program, including both self-provisioning management and operational usage features. The bottom line of Microsoft’s UC launch was not merely to focus on IP telephony capabilities, but as Bill Gates repeatedly mentioned, to support the flexibility of “multimodal communications.”

Although he didn’t use my term of “transmodal communication,” Gates and other Microsoft speakers frequently described just that in the many examples given of coming UC flexibility. That is where end users can dynamically escalate from one form of business contact to another (asynchronous messages to IM to phone calls to multi-party voice and video conferencing), as the specific communication situation requires. So, come on Microsoft, say it!

UC Migrations And Partnering

By now it is pretty obvious that multimodal UC is not a single, simple “application” within a single enterprise or enterprise location, but rather the seamless interoperability of all forms of business contact and information delivery to people. That means it covers a variety of business communication needs, different business application and communication servers, using different kinds of endpoint devices, and across different kinds of networks. Making all this work efficiently and effectively will mean adding new capabilities, features, and functions, in addition to slowly replacing old, proprietary technologies that TDM telephony is noted for. This, in turn, requires serious partnering, at both the hardware and application software levels. Partnering was a big highlight of the OCS Launch, and you can read all about that in the press write-ups and Microsoft proclamations.

One of the effects of Microsoft’s strong push into the telephony side of UC is that it will be polarizing the industry in terms of interoperability and with other technology and service providers all taking positions relative to both UC in general and specifically to Microsoft relationships. As technology developers move into UC offerings, there will be a lot of overlap and choices, including the options for CPE, hosted and managed services. This overlap will show up particularly in the reseller channels, where the biggest battles will take place for the large SMB market that is ready to get rid of archaic key systems and is ripe for what UC and mobile devices have to offer in the way of services.

As we have pointed out repeatedly, migration to UC will be able to exploit hosted services as a cost effective way for business organizations to selectively “pilot” applications and learn what UC can do for their specific, high-value business processes. Forget “best practices” – just do it to find out what works best!

The Microsoft UC Software Pie

Besides Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007, Microsoft showed off it’s other UC software applications, including:

Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services

Microsoft Live Meeting

Microsoft Roundtable (videoconferencing)

Part of the Microsoft UC Launch agenda was also to identify the strategic operational role that UC could play in some selected vertical industries, i.e., Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Healthcare.

Other Comments About The Microsoft UC Launch

I was planning to quote other sources of objective and interesting comments about the big Microsoft Launch, but there were so many that I decided against it. However, I do want to point you to the practical observations of the UC Strategies team that attended the Launch event and who had the opportunity to talk to various customers and partners who were exposed to Microsoft’s new technology.

What Do You Think?

You can contact me at: or (310) 395-2360.

My Take on Microsoft’s Approach to UC Migration

I authored a recent white paper describing UC ROIs and practical approaches to enterprise transition planning that highlight Microsoft’s UC product positioning for simplifying the challenge of evolving to UC. Rather than start with replacing existing wired desktop phone systems, the UC evolution can start with adding IM/presence management, unified messaging, mobile devices, and IP softphones. You can download a copy of the white paper by going to the UC Strategies web site at: