Yesterday I had the opportunity to pay a visit to a few vendors at the virtual VoiceCon event. I enjoyed a chat with an Alcatel-Lucent representative, learned a bit about Avaya’s Aura Unified Communications (UC) platform, and viewed an IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony demo. Virtual attendance at the event during the time that I joined was under 300 participants. Other companies participating included Siemens, Sprint, and Acme Packet.
As you can imagine given the ongoing economic challenges and the demand for green technologies, businesses are seeking all viable means to cut expenses, including travel, while still conducting their business face to face; and cloud computing coupled with converged communications provides a way to meet that need.
I expect that the enterprise unified communications space will be fascinating to watch in 2010. The telepresence evolution is likely to become increasingly popular right along that of Cloud Computing and IPTV. Big bets are being made all around that the network and the cloud is where the action will be at for the next decade in the global transformation of the emerging virtual corporation. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to envision virtual PBXs running in the cloud on a virtual server; and how long will it be before service providers offer such solutions as a cloud offering (UC as a Service)? Even cell phone calls will be increasingly bypassed using VoIP with Wi-fi (VoWLAN or WVoIP). Just look at the list of companies making deals for the upcoming UC dance.
According to Channel Insider, ABI research places Avaya at the top of the UC vendor list with IBM and Siemens in 2nd and 3rd place respectively and Cisco placing 5th behind NEC. While the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications places Microsoft in the lead followed by Cisco, IBM,and Avaya in their ability to execute. Smaller leading players in this segment include Aastra, Mitel, ShoreTel, and Teleware.
Yes, 2010 will certainly be an interesting year. Can Cisco do battle on so many fronts? Will UC as a Service take off? How long before Salesforce.com gets acquired by Cisco, Google, HP, IBM, or Microsoft to deliver not just UC as a service, but a portfolio of SaaS applications? We’ll just have to wait and see how this movie plays out.
What is afoot is a radical transformation in the way we will work, communicate, and access applications in the years to come. We will access our applications in the cloud, and conduct most of our face to face meetings virtually. Even the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is positioning policy for the shift from a circuit based switched network to an IP based packet network. Are you?
While some of the George Jetson’s (link for our overseas friends) technologies for mass consumption like the flying car and jet pack haven’t materialized, it won’t be too long before most of us will be seeing our colleagues and co-workers through one of the screens we use, whether TV, computer, mobile device, or other yet to become ubiquitous screen technology.
-Tune The Future-