The Inherent Diversity of Unified Communications

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The State of Unified Communications Adoption

Survey finds Microsoft and Cisco, followed by Avaya, are driving the majority of the market.

One the eve of the launch of the Lync Server 2010 version of the Microsoft Office Communications Server, at least one member of the open source community is making its case for an alternative approach to the future of unified communications.

While enthusiasm among unified communications professionals is apparently running high in anticipation of a new Microsoft offering that is tightly coupled to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, the folks at Fonality want to remind IT organizations that unified communications doesn't have to come at a high cost.

Fonality delivers unified communications as service on top of a unified communications software base that the company has made available as open source code. Obviously, the Asterik project is probably better known when it comes to open source and unified communications. The Fonality open source project is a derivative of the Asterik code base that is managed by Fonality.

Aron Aircard, senior director of product management for Fonality, says by combing open source software with a cloud computing platform, Fonality has combined free software with low cost cloud computing infrastructure that delivers all the benefits of unified communications with very little of the costs and headaches associated with deploying and managing on-premise unified communications systems.

There's a lot of debate over the merits of unified communications on-premise versus in the cloud. And there's contention over open source software versus Microsoft every day of the week. But before you assume that unified communications is simply an extension of your Microsoft Exchange and Office environments, Aircard says that unified communications by definition is heterogeneous. And in a world full of a diverse set of clients that include any number of Apple and Google Android mobile computing devices, Aircard says the future of unified communications will be more diverse than ever.

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