Ever since the Internet became commercial in the mid-90’s, the term “Unified Communications” has been tossed around as if it is some form of “holy grail” for a communications offering. PhoneBoy Dameon Welch-Abernathy finds the term somewhat overhyped in his recent post “Unified Communications Is A Pipe Dream“:
Anyone who understands the technology knows that unified communications is a pipe dream. Perhaps within a small subset of the possible communication methods, for example the corporate PBX and the corporate-issued mobile phone, it is possible. In the real world, where people actually communicate, it’s not. There are too many ways to communicate and too many parties unwilling to open their networks to allow some unaffiliated third party to create an environment to manage all their communication.
To date, I have not seen a single unified communications “solution” – a buzzword if I ever heard it – incorporate all of the following:
- SMS (not just sending, but receiving)
- IM–not just corporate IM, but all public network IM
- SIP, both outgoing to random SIP URLs and incoming SIP calls
- Email from multiple locations
- Social Networking (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Jaiku)
Until it includes SMS on my mobile phone, which none of the solutions I’ve seen even attempt to deal with, it’s not truly unified. Until it includes Skype – a tool I am using more frequently – it’s not unified. Unless it includes a SIP URL that anyone with an open SIP client can reach, it’s not truly unified. Until it handles all my IM stuff, it’s not unified. Until I can get a unified view of all my email and social networking traffic, it’s not unified. [Ed bold]
It would be interesting to see if Microsoft embeds Skype into their Live Communications Server offerings. And note PhoneBoy’s positioning of Skype as a peer equivalent of SIP. On the other hand, Skype makes no attempt to position itself as a Unified Communications platform.
Tags: PhoneBoy, PhoneBoy, Dameon Welch-Abernathy, Skype, Unified Communications
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