Saturday, August 7, 2010
Freeing UC to grow
Jessica Scarpati's coverage of the tradeoffs between single-vendor and multiple-vendor UC strategies (http://bit.ly/cd6jqQ) got me thinking about why "single-vendor UC" is an oxymoron.
Something as big as UC cannot all come from one vendor. How do I know this?
Because nobody knows what "UC" is! Not really, not completely. Sure, it's "Unified Communications," but that's just words and it doesn't mean as much as we wish it did. And yes, it's videoconferencing and video communications, integrated with calendaring and texting and voice and presence, but isn't that just more words?
And IM, of course. Is that it now? No, we forgot multiscreen telepresence and real-time translation services and media archiving. And SalesForce.com and iPhone apps. Android apps, SIP/H.323. And speech to text, I almost forgot that, and how it should link to calendaring and security...
You see the point? UC is a constantly evolving story. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said about life: UC is a journey, not a destination.
Every user has a different story and takes a different journey that presents a different application, different needs, different priorities. Every user is different; that's why users will always need vendors who can put real focus on particular applications. In Scarpati's article, Gartner's Elliot confirms this - "you can't actually get a [full UC] solution from a single vendor, despite what they're saying."
This is why open standards are so important and why so many industry leaders are joining UCIF (www.ucif.org) to ensure that UC stays open, effective and compatible. UC is open-ended by definition, and that end needs to be fully and openly defined.
UC's potential and its excitement are emerging because it's being created by a community, not a hermit. Let's remain clear of hermits and their closed platforms.