There can be no doubt the world is becoming IP centric. Whether we like the issues this raises, it is happening. In many cases this shift to an IP world is transparent to us as our network providers move the main networks over to IP transmission and routing. As this transition reaches the business user and IP connectivity becomes integrated with data services delivered to each desktop, this opens up a whole new world of integration between voice, video and data services converging on the PC or any mobile device.
Unified Communication (UC) is the name used to describe this convergence but, it means different things to different users for different applications. There is no doubt however that UC is the next big battle ground for the biggest IT suppliers who are already fighting hard to control this space and to take control of ‘integrated communications’. Whether users will want to move their entire company’s network infrastructure to a completely IP environment and use a single supplier for all if its IT requirements is a key question.
UC provides a platform for new conferencing and collaboration solutions. For example, the new Cisco Webex Connect service, an integrated cloud based secure private company messenger and presence system, that allows users to launch web conferencing sessions with integrated audio conferencing services for a very small fee per month. This is a good example of how conference and collaboration providers are able to use their core expertise to integrate with novel UC applications to deliver the best of both worlds for their customers, high levels of collaboration expertise coupled with highly integrated UC software.
When looking to integrate audio and web conferencing calling into a UC strategy, users should be looking for a conferencing and collaboration provider, such as MeetingZone, which has extensive experience of operating in the cloud. A service provider which has continuously raised the bar by delivering web integration and self service functionality via a secure portal. Online call viewing and control, plus integration with various Microsoft Outlook calendaring functions for simple meeting organisation should be an integral part of conferencing and collaboration service provision. Experience of delivering cloud based services makes the extension of existing integration with the evolving UC desktop solutions an easy step.
It is also important to choose a conferencing and collaboration provider who has migrated its own network to handle Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Voice over IP (VoIP) communication sessions. This allows conferencing and collaboration technologies to quickly and easily integrate with a company’s existing UC network.