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Monday, March 03, 2008

Siemens New UC Server

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March 3, 2008

UC Migration Strategy Takes More Shape With Siemens Announcement

By Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

If you have been reading all the blogs and commentaries put out by industry analysts and pundits, you know that everyone has been trying to define what UC really is all about and, more importantly, how to get there from here.

Part of the problem is that some obvious prerequisites for the UC vision have not been met from an open, standards perspective, i.e., “federated presence” across enterprise and service provider networks. The other part of the problem that scares IP management is how to start a UC migration selectively, yet be “future-proofed” for the new capabilities that UC might offer, especially in a mobile, device independent world.

Up to this point, the practical recommendation for UC migration has been to avoid replacing telephony systems that still work for internal users, but start replacing end-of-life voice mail systems to exploit the benefits of unified messaging as a major component of UC. In addition, focus on selectively adding mobile UC capabilities via hosted services for those business users who are key to high-value business processes. Finally, get ready for mobile consumers who will be using personalized “smart phones’ for customer contacts and will need the support of multimodal agents for assistance, as well as multimodal self-service applications (not just IVR) to do business.

The Siemens announcement appears to have put more meat on the bones of enterprise and service provider UC that will enable IT management to start planning customized UC implementation strategies that can be open and “future-proofed.” It focuses on an open, presence-based “UC server” that provides a place to hang all the UC application hats on, rather than just an IP telephony server that would integrate with other UC applications.

What I noticed in particular about the Siemens announcement was that although they do offer IP telephony interoperability as software, they didn’t even mention telephone devices at all. Interesting!

I have a lot of practical questions about this announcement, so stay tuned for more.

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