It's Time for Unifying Communications-as-a-Service

Michael Vizard

While just about everyone would agree that there is great benefit to be derived from the unification of our collective communications, there is usually a lot of great IT difficulty when it comes time to actually get that done. For far too many IT organizations, the skills and expertise required are outside of their core competency and the underlying corporate network isn't very stable.

Furthermore, there are a lot of interoperability issues associated with unified communications that IT organizations will need to tackle as their company, for example, tries to integrate a high-definition telepresence system from one vendor with another.

In that regard, the approach that CSC is taking to delivering Cisco TelePresence-as-a-service, which is essentially a managed service for deploying and managing Cisco TelePresence systems, is instructive. Beyond managing the Cisco TelePresence systems, Nimesh Shah, CSC global portfolio executive for managed network services, notes that CSC has also developed its own API to integrate the Cisco TelePresence with other high-definition videoconferencing systems in addition to a variety of third-party applications.

No matter how much your company standardizes on a particular telepresence system, there is no guarantee that your company's suppliers, partners and customers are going to have the same system. Some level of interoperability between these systems is going to be required.

In fact, that lack of interoperability is arguably what's holding back the adoption of many unified communications technologies. And while there have been some recent advances on that score in the form of integration between Polycom and other telepresence systems, the fact remains that unified communications is still a long way from being a plug-and-play set of technologies.

Ultimately, more unified communications services are emerging into a set of services you buy instead of applications you deploy. There may be some on-premise equipment to facilitate the delivery of those services, but the actual management of those services will largely be handled by third-party providers. After all, in this day and age, it's only when a technology becomes easily accessible as a service that it actually becomes ubiquitous.

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