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Friday, February 28, 2014

With SDN, Communication Service Providers Can Deliver UCaaS To All Kinds Of End Users

Since there is so much news about Lync, WebRTC, and mobile communications in general that has come out lately, I will make this post short, and hopefully sweet.
Because both business and personal communications are migrating towards multimodal mobile devices, online mobile apps, and “cloud” based software infrastructure, communication service providers (CSPs) and wireless carriers are becoming the focal point for BYOD application offerings. Legacy hardware-based network connectivity has always been difficult and expensive to develop and integrate, but they are now becoming “virtualized” software functions to join business process applications and data storage by moving into “cloud” services.
My UC Strategies colleague, Michael Finneran, just posted an article describing how networking is becoming more flexible and controllable by applications. By becoming more software-based (Software Defined Networking), networking functions can now be more flexible and support a variety of end user needs, including multimodal person-to-person communication applications and integrations with business process applications (CEBP). This will also facilitate the service offerings of CSPs to business organizations to accommodate different vertical market needs of businesses and their customers/consumers.
This trend was reflected in a recent announcement by Genband, but just reinforced by HP’s announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona of their Open Networks Functions Virtualization (NFV) offering which provides all the tools needed by communication service providers to develop, integrate, test, and support operational network services in a Software Defined Network (SDN) environment. This will simplify and speed up the network connectivity required for all modes of contextual communications between people and online applications.
Since BYOD and CEBP will increasingly shift business communications to personalized multimodal devices and services, wireless CSPs are becoming the starting point for end users who want their latest smartphones and tablets to connect with both legacy PSTN contacts and IP services. Business communications now include consumers who interact with many different organizations and online applications, using a single, multimodal mobile device. That will become the key driver for network flexibility that Michael discusses in his post. 
Whether you want “UC” to mean “unified communications,” or as Microsoft has proposed at their Lync 2014 conference, “universal communications,” makes no difference. Users are just looking for the service that will be flexibly multimodal, can be used with any device anywhere, and can be used to interact with online mobile apps in the “clouds.”
For business applications, including customer services, communications will be flexibly embedded within online apps (‘click-for-assistance” options) and thereby become more efficient and “contextual” for both the contact initiator and the recipient. That is what “UC” is really all about!  
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