Define Unified Communications Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS and fax). UC is not a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. - Wikipedia UC is integration of real-time & non real-time communication across multiple devices - WTC, Beitleman
Why should we care? UC allows business process integration, i.e. to simplify and integrate all forms of communications to optimize business processes, reduce the response time, manage flows, allow asynchronous/non real-time response and eliminate device and media dependencies.
Problem/Issue Oriented Introduction Who are you? Is there a question or issue about unified communications or the future of telephony that you’d like to have discussed today?
Questions That Drove Us Fixed Mobile Convergence of Voice over WiFi -- Should the Higher Ed community influence the cellular carriers to leverage our existing WiFi infrastructure versus deploying expensive in- building Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) to address signal issues that impact voice?
Questions that Drove Us Unified Communications vs PBX -- There’s a difference between basic replication of enterprise voice in the IP world versus true UC software-centric solutions. Are or will these two converge? How will timing or certain situations influence our decisions?
Questions that Drove Us How does video, videoconferencing & telepresence fit into the UC mix? How seamless do services need to be to become successful?
Questions that Drove Us Should we be planning to shift to vendor provided services rather than continuing to invest? Should we upgrade our own services to VOIP or should we hold down our investments to the minimum assuming that voice will see a radical transformation in the next few years?
Questions that Drove Us Are there examples of schools that have “gotten out of the business” by selling, leasing or giving away their infrastructure to a vendor in exchange for cash or services?
Questions that Drove Us Are there components of our telephony services that are more likely than others to change rapidly? For example, voice mail, international long distance...
Questions that Drove Us Should we eliminate a large percentage of our desk phones in favor of forwarding calls to cell phones (school-issued or personally owned)? Are there risks associated with cloud-sourcing voice, video and unified communications that are different than with email?
Questions that Drove Us Are there particular vendors or services that are exciting and where the likely reward outweighs the associated risks? Should we drop international long distance in favor of Skype?
General Observations – Gartner Vern Elliot Cellular providers don’t take direction from universities, they take it from 16 year olds It’s all about the network
General Observations - Gartner Big driver - things are moving to commodity hardware - TCP-IP protocol has taken the lead H.323 is becoming the dominant protocol Communications are becoming integrated with applications - collaboration applications especially (think Facebook) Consumerization - more powerful with likable features - price point coming down and similarity increasing - less business specific and more consumer Big trend towards on demand, cloud based services Desk phones will have a diminishing role for at least 10 years especially in the emergency services (much like the mainframe) - PBXs hybrid and VOIP will continue to be useful for large volumes of calls, because of the cost of changing out, PSTN switching and handsets will last a long time. But, traditional deskphones will be less and less relevant to the average user.
General Observations - Gartner Don’t get tied into a single vendor UC starts out looking like a server or technology problem, but it usually exposes organizational issues Need a vision/strategy to resolve the organizational issues over 3-5 years. You probably can’t get there just by picking a vendor. Cell phones are leading the convergence, we’re starting to see desk, soft phone and a mobile phone that ring with a single number Google doesn't have an enterprise approach yet Microsoft Lync option is getting pretty impressive, may take another release to totally be there, but definitely on the way
General Observations WTC - Phillip Beitleman Reinvest in wire as you adopt a wireless strategy - high performance wiring & wired architecture Harden the entire network (wired & wireless) – most of our eggs will be in this basket Accelerated interest in carrier neutral distributed antenna systems Redirect investments to in-building penetration systems for cellular to make mobile practical Repaint the entire campus using 802.11N - these two steps (4 & 5) set up campus for 3-5 years
General Observations - WTC Figure out actual costs (unsubsidized) across all IT services so that funding strategies can be mapped out Put together formal, structured plans across entire technology map and across multiple years to help identify future funding strategies - mobility and virtualization of services will drastically change life cycle & rate models Take on longer planning cycles - 10 years for infrastructure planning
General Observations - WTC Don’t throw things away, stretch the life span of things – only go with VOIP where there is a business case Overarching interest in UC, but when deployed and the business cases reviewed, they don’t usually don’t end up saving money in the near term because of complexity – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but keep expectations under control. 3-5 years before a service matures to the point that might displace a campus PBX Rate models need to evolve to include telephony, network, and IT services - UC needs some IT services (e.g Active Directory, Calendaring) and those will need to be accounted for in costing and funding.
General Observations - WTC Most current funding strategies are cul de sacs - no future - we’ve got to transform from thing-oriented funding strategy to service- oriented strategy - e.g. we used to charge per port or line, but with heavily deployed wireless, wired network ports shrink by around 17% while wireless device connections drastically increase. Strategic direction - fixed mobile convergence - fire up cell phone and use it interchangeably with desk phone and calls follow you when you leave desk. Users want to have the best of both old and new – they want the tech to extend functionality into their mobile devices WiMax technology has lost the battle - within 5 years LTE will win because of the cost is so much cheaper