NEC Promotes Hybrid Cloud-Based Unified Communications Killer Applications

NEC Unified Solutions is leveraging cloud services to take unified communications to the next dimension and create new user-centric killer applications. To date, vendor hype has devalued the promise of unified communications and threatens to cause confusion with the move to cloud computing. In the absence of clear and unambiguous explanations of the benefits of embarking on such projects, end users could be forgiven for thinking that these are technologies without a purpose. However a revolution

April 21, 2010

3 Min Read
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CAMBRIDGE, England, April 21. NEC Unified Solutions is leveraging cloud services to take unified communications to the next dimension and create new user-centric killer applications. To date, vendor hype has devalued the promise of unified communications and threatens to cause confusion with the move to cloud computing. In the absence of clear and unambiguous explanations of the benefits of embarking on such projects, end users could be forgiven for thinking that these are technologies without a purpose. However a revolution is underway, bringing with it real benefits to enterprises and to workers.

Over the last ten years, there has been a rapidly accelerating series of convergences in the communications marketplace, from IP telephony and unified communications, to fixed mobile convergence and most recently the convergence of the IT and communications worlds. Yet to date the overall benefits of the convergence of these technologies to the enterprise have been questionable.

Chris de Silva, Managing Director of NEC Unified Solutions, explains, "The melting pot of the converging IT and communications worlds is now becoming a noisy place. Unfortunately as the hype increases in volume, it is becoming more confusing for the enterprise to understand the real differences between the various approaches. Significantly, vendors from all sides are struggling to escape from the confines of their traditional products."

He continues, "Communications-enabled business processes (CEBP) are being used by some to try and show that they are thinking 'out-of-the-box'. But scratch the surface a little and it becomes very clear that most vendors are unable to explain what this means. Business processes have always required communication and collaboration between people. CEBP suggests that this becomes more automated in some way. But where are the examples? Ignoring the hype, this leaves us with a converged IT and communications zone that is very flat and uninspiring - in many ways two-dimensional."

NEC Unified Solutions believes that in order to understand how to move beyond this dead zone, it is fundamentally important to consider communications as a part of the overall IT strategic plan, building communications and collaboration infrastructure that is totally integrated as a cornerstone of IT.For example, using service-oriented communications software platforms built with open standards and interoperability as design objectives, new user-centric mashups can be developed quickly and cost-effectively with web 2.0 collaborative capabilities. These can be deployed on virtualized platforms on enterprise premises (including private cloud services) or for use as public cloud services. They provide workers with the right tools at the right time irrespective of whether they are in an office or remote location or mobile environment.

An interesting example created by NEC Unified Solutions is to use these techniques to communications-enable the well known public cloud mapping services used by consumers. Using GPS technology in mobile phones, the location of a mobile workforce can be easily seen on these maps and integrated with other information, such as their availability (presence) and their skills. In a customer service scenario, it is easy to determine which appropriately skilled workers are available and located near an incident requiring attention. By clicking on the map, communications can be established instantly and the customer incident managed much more quickly and cost effectively with much less disruption than by traditional means.

Chris de Silva adds, "The concept of 'unified communications' is still compelling and valid in today's fast changing world, enabling the convergence of all methods of communication between two or more people - from any application, using any device, at any location, via the most appropriate route, ensuring effective collaboration with business-grade security. Providing workers with next-generation communications-enabled applications, delivered quickly and cost effectively, can significantly improve the efficiency of the organization's business processes. At the same time, if these new applications are developed to reflect web 2.0 techniques, they are likely to be accepted quickly by workers as well as providing them with real empowerment."

He concludes, "Adopting cost reduction strategies without considering innovative ways of improving efficiency is a missed strategic opportunity. Enterprises that understand and embrace this will create for themselves real competitive advantage."

For a full copy of the White Paper 'Converging Enterprise Communications, IT and the Cloud', please visit here.  http://www.nec-unified.co.uk/cloud.php 

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