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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

UC is More Than IP Telephony

May 7, 2008

Confusion About IP Telephony vs. UC vs. Mobility vs. CEBP

Art Rosenberg, The Unified-View

Because the transition of telephony to IP-based connections is causing the most disruption in the technology industry, it is causing many people to think that IP Telephony is the only important piece of unified communications (UM), and ignores the role of messaging and information exchange as key elements of UC. This biased perception was reflected in a pundit’s review of highlights from the recent Interop show this month, which catered primarily to enterprise IT infrastructure folks. However, there were a couple of good sessions that I attended that focused on UC, mobility, and CEBP.

I commented on the criticisms that Nathan Swartz offered about UC, and reprinting it here as well, because UC is not simply about enabling traditional business telephone usage to continue as it did in the TDM environment, but to move forward as a more efficient component of a UC environment. That means that people will be initiating telephone calls differently and will be exploiting multimodal UC interfaces differently than with legacy telephone devices and TUIs.

Response to “Lippis Report Issue 105: What I Learned At Interop”

  1. Art Rosenberg Says:
    May 7th, 2008 at 7:29 am


How off-base can you get about what unified communications is all about?

I can’t really blame you for confusing “unified communications” with IP Telephony (IPT), because the biggest change in technology and business communications is taking place with the role of business phone calls. Not only is the network infrastructure for voice telephony changing (VoIP), and the user interfaces moving away from the limitations of the TUI to richer, screen-based flexibility, but the use of more intelligent presence and availability and the seamless interoperability between all forms of messaging and information exchange with conversational voice contacts, will make for more flexible and efficient business operations.

Voice telephony is no longer the only form of real-time, long distance communications, and it has always been a location-based connection, rather than a person or role-based form of contact. In business, the latter is becoming recognized as the real objective for real-time person-to-person contacts, as opposed to socializing. With presence-based IM, text messaging and information exchange have also become real-time, but also allow escalation to the efficiencies of voice conversation once a successful contact has been efficiently established.

Changing TDM telephony to SIP-based IP Telephony is a migration step towards unified communications, but it is not going to replace the increasing dominance and rich efficiencies of both real-time and asynchronous forms of messaging in business communications and information exchange.


Art Rosenberg
The Unified-View

  1. Art Rosenberg Says:
    May 7th, 2008 at 7:54 am

I should also point out that moving to applications-based contact initiation via “CEBP” is another step in the right direction of UC. This is where a business process needs to contact a person, and, believe me, its not with a voice conversation, but with messaging (with voice or text interfaces) and online interactions. The business process application may also intelligently coordinate a voice conference with other people when necessary, based on presence, availability, calendars, etc. This where the Internet and mobile devices will enable notifications (messages) to be delivered to people wherever they happen to be, along with real-time, contextual response links.

So CEBP is simply an extension of UC in allowing applications to also efficiently contact people and deliver information in real-time through messaging. The problem that UC is really trying to solve is making contact with people as flexibly and time-efficiently as possible. Telephony alone could never do that!

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