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How does mobility change Unified Communications strategies?

Unified Communications is the melding of all forms of communications that we use – email, instant messaging, voice and video – into a single client and platform.  The holy grail is one application that functions as inbox, text chat client, telephone and video call client.  Toss in the concepts of presence and availability, and you’ve got what Microsoft, Avaya, Cisco, IBM/Lotus and others have been chasing for over a decade. 

What does that mean in a mobile environment? Thursday at the ITEXPO in Los Angeles, I’ll be on a panel discussing that very question.

Some of the questions I’ll want to talk about with my fellow panelists include:

  1. Fixed mobile convergence – does it matter?  when do applications converge instead of just the networks?
  2. Presence – is PC style presence enough?  What does it mean to be present when your handset is always on and with you?
  3. Location – what role should location play in mobile UC?

What else should we be discussing?

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Al Bredenberg September 1, 2009, 10:00 am

    Alec — Interesting and important topic. However, at the risk of over-simplifying and sounding smart-alecky, I would raise some questions that to me seem basic:

    How in the world does mobility *not* change Unified Communications? How is it that mobility is still somehow seen as “outside” of UC so that it has to be added in — and not an integral consideration from the get-go?

    Maybe I’m just being naive, but what this suggests to me is that the development efforts behind UC have been undertaken exactly backwards, as are so many technology-design projects.

    Instead of starting with the user, where communications need to “unify,” developers tend to start with the technologies — the networks, the applications, the hardware, the services, the databases, the programs and protocols. The user experience is almost an afterthought — the technologies get built out first, then somebody is given the job of slapping on a “user interface.”

    Why not start development from the user perspective?

    Al B. — 1 Sept. 2009

  • Al Bredenberg September 1, 2009, 10:00 am

    Alec — Interesting and important topic. However, at the risk of over-simplifying and sounding smart-alecky, I would raise some questions that to me seem basic:

    How in the world does mobility *not* change Unified Communications? How is it that mobility is still somehow seen as “outside” of UC so that it has to be added in — and not an integral consideration from the get-go?

    Maybe I’m just being naive, but what this suggests to me is that the development efforts behind UC have been undertaken exactly backwards, as are so many technology-design projects.

    Instead of starting with the user, where communications need to “unify,” developers tend to start with the technologies — the networks, the applications, the hardware, the services, the databases, the programs and protocols. The user experience is almost an afterthought — the technologies get built out first, then somebody is given the job of slapping on a “user interface.”

    Why not start development from the user perspective?

    Al B. — 1 Sept. 2009

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