As a recent joiner to Computacenter, it’s no secret I am no spring chicken. I have worked in this industry for close on thirty years so this has given me a great perspective on the changes we have seen take place. When thinking back I can recall the Car Phone morphed into the Mobile Phone , and then into the Smart Phone.
The Web has gone through numerous phases of development, at the start of this century there was a lot of noise about Web 2.0 and what this meant for Web Services. Unified communications is no different , we really saw this technology emerge in the early “noughties” and the big innovators were our colleagues at Cisco. They realized that being able to use the same network for both Voice and data made sense. It took a number of years before what was called Call Manager became widely accepted but today we recognise this as IP telephony (IPT) and we see this as industrial strength, mature and low risk solution.
Unified communications has reached the second major phase it is development. We should call this “UC 2.0”. This type of multi-media UC emerged from about 2006/7 but really has only become more widely recognised in the last three years. Microsoft were probably the first to move into the second phase of UC development. The same trend of increasing services and value is occurring, both Microsoft and Cisco recognise that the modern workplace can leverage a range of Collaborative services and this increasingly means in a mobile and remotely connected world.
“UC 2.0” offers Instant Messenger, Presence , Desktop Conferencing, Audio Conferencing , Unified In-Box, Voice Telephony and Video Conferencing. It can be accessed from anywhere where an internet connection can be made available. It still supports the traditional handset but many use a “soft phone” – as it is so portable! One key element is the ability to transition between these different media seamlessly, this is probably in my view one of the key ingredients of “UC 2.0”.
With further convergence of technology Smart Phones make excellent platforms for using UC, and both vendors support a wide range of devices. We also see a convergence of traditional Telepresence and UC platforms.
This multi-media world, supports a less hierarchical command and control style of organisation. Virtual teams can be quickly brought together, people can work from almost anywhere in the world companies can exchange a range of communications between each other securely, this helps strong business partnership and enhance the business value chain. At Computacenter many of our managed services customers can now contact us via Instant Messenger for example. As I said I like to refer to this as UC 2.0 , does this work for you?