A couple of new notes that underscore the continued convergence of real-time communications services (e.g. voice/video/IM) into a presence-based real-time IP communications infrastructure:
• VoiceCon Fall 2006 in San Francisco will be holding a “conference within a conference” called “Next Generation Unified Communications” which will explore trends away from the IP-PBX as the center of the universe and toward a model where real-time communications capabilities are extensible and tightly integrated with business applications and processes, essentially covering the “voice/video/IM as a web service” approach that an increasing number of vendors are espousing.
• Nick Lippis writes about the growing trend of IT managers taking over the responsibilities for purchasing of IP communications services/solutions, again driven by the “real-time communications as a web service” approach.
I haven’t seen this shift just yet, but increasingly the folks responsible for managing voice and video systems are integrating their planning with the groups in charge of instant messaging and collaboration. I expect this trend to accelerate as we move forward.
The one thing that is clear as you follow this space—it’s no longer about the telephone anymore. In the enterprise environment the communications tools/services/products aren’t islands unto themselves, rather they are increasingly perceived as services that can be leveraged to improve enterprise communications, save money, and provide for greater operational efficiency.
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