Unified communications is more than just merging voice, video, chat and white-boarding into a platform. A Unified Communications (UC) system has to integrate with legacy telecommunications systems and provide real-time media support to clients that could include plain old telephone service (POTS), broad band, or high speed WAN links. High-definition video, the holy grail of video-conferencing, used to require room-sized systems with high-speed, dedicated WAN links, but new products from Cisco, Polycom and Tandberg are portable and easy to use. Verizon is providing the needed robust network to deliver UC service across town, country and worldwide.
Verizon is now certified by Microsoft to provide SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking to companies using Office Communication Server (OCS) 2007 R2. Companies using OCS internally over the LAN or WAN also use Verizon's SIP trunking service, called IP Trunking in Verizon nomenclature, to connect VoIP calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
Without certification, Microsoft OCS customers using Verizon's IP Trunking would not be able to get support from Microsoft for OCS SIP issues. It's more than just access to support. Certification also means that Microsoft engineers understand how Verizon's IP Trunking service works and can verify the proper configuration and troubleshoot problems.
Verizon is also announcing their Immersive Video Conferencing that combines Cisco video-conferencing equipment with Verizon's global network, served by their Private IP service. The service can run the gamut of providing the a fully-designed and delivered Immersive Video service complete with network connectivity and equipment to interconnect existing Cisco video equipment via Verizon's Private IP service. The services can also be selected a la carte.
If Forrest Gump were an IT analyst, he'd probably say "the Internet is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get." While Internet connectivity has generally improved and is fairly reliable once you get past the last-mile connection, it isn't reliable enough for real-time, business video-conferencing. Stuttering, delays and poor image quality may be acceptable for consumers or ad hoc meetings, but when you want to connect multiple remote offices in a high-definition video-conference, you really want to go the extra mile and acquire a private networking service to ensure that your video has the proper bandwidth, delay and jitter to run a conference successfully.