Two of the hottest terms in IT and telecom today-cloud computing and unified communications-are perfect dance partners.
Cloud computing suggests a world of high mobility, a world where messages, tools, applications and anything else can be drawn from places far more accessible and nearer, in a logical sense, than the data center. Unified communications speaks to a world where it is possible to effectively collaborate no matter where the various participants in the session are or what network or device they are using. Clearly, the Venn diagram here mostly overlaps.
On Monday, In-Stat released a report that discusses UC's cozying relationship with cloud computing. The writer points to two trends that will help drive UC overall-Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking and higher wireless speeds. There are, he writes, several nascent approaches to cloud-based UC. They are hybrid customer-owned/cloud services for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), fully-hosted approaches for small businesses and broadband telephony-based services for small office home office (SOHO) customers.
Mike Vizard, who heads up our CTO Edge site, noted the deep relationship between UC and the cloud in a post earlier this month in which he discussed the VoiceCon conference in San Francisco. Specifically, Mike discussed the integration of Twitter and the Siemens' OpenScape UC software. He explained that the vendor's Enterprise Communications Group is publishing application-programming interfaces (APIs) that is make OpenScape accessible from the cloud. This, he wrote, allows developers to play with OpenScape without a significant infrastructure investment. Twitter integration, he says, is slated to become a standard part of OpenScape during the first quarter of next year.
The company that is given a lot of the credit for the resurgence of the software-as-a-service business-in which the cloud is used to deliver formerly onsite products and services to businesses-is Salesforce.com. Last week, Ribbit, a company owned by BT, announced a new version of Ribbit for Salesforce CRM. The press release offers details on the product, which deeply integrates unified communications tools with the core CRM functionality.
Unified communications and cloud computing look as if they were made for each other. Look for announcements of cooperative agreements and product introductions in both the near and long term.