Day 3 of the ITExpo is in full swing, with President & CEO of Sonus Networks, Raymond P. Dolan, gracing the ballroom for a Keynote Presentation this morning. Raymond brings 25 years of experience to UC space that is full of complexities and nuances standing between end to end perfection. The goal of Sonus is to create unified communications that are flexible, reliable, scalable, and most of all, interoperable.

With over 57 million customers, the sentiment towards UC as noted by Dolan is a “blend of excitement and frustration as business models are still aligning”. One of the huge focuses, for more than apparent reasons, is the 20 year journey of the mobile data world, dating back to 1993 with the incredibly crude, but not forgotten pager. Moving through those two decades, we’ve seen the progression from the flip phone, slightly more capable devices like the blackberry (which has come a long way since its initial release, and finally, the smartphone. Dolan spoke on how consumers often overlook that the most contemporary installment, is really a “computer that does phone-like things” – with mobile devices having many more capabilities than a desktop phone.

The running theme at this year’s ITExpo West, has been mobility, and the obvious movement towards working on-the-go. Four billion people worldwide carry a mobile phone, with knowledge workers spending approximately 4 hours per day routing communications. The approach to bringing these devices and other together, lies in 4 different factors:

  1. Understand the problem you’re solving
  2. Driving simplicity
  3. Getting to scale – driving the cost out of business
  4. Triggering business model conflict, which will in turn, cause companies to adapt or face extinction

Voice telephony is an integral part of doing business, thus the need is really creating a platform in itself. Dolan once again stressed how mobile business processes are both necessary and essential. The next and natural step is to know exactly what problems need to be solved to reach this end point, and of course, whether that problem is being properly addressed. All in attendance knodded and laughed in agreement (myself included) when Dolan inquired as to if anyone in the crowd had ever sent a text asking the question, “Did you get my e-mail?”. This effectively put in perspective that consolidating communications into one platform is really what we’re still working towards, but have not yet obtained – this hinders communications on not only personal, but professional levels. In fact, about 16% of projects are delayed due to impeded access to decision makers or vice versa (if you happen to be playing that role).

All things considered then – Why are communications still not unified? Well, it’s much more constructive to explore the 4 trends that are currently shaping the market, in New Media, BYOD, Big Data, and the Cloud. As a society, we have become addicted to data, with it being vital to both our personal and business productivity, along with overall satisfaction. A polished, reliable unified communications system is proving to be something many businesses want, but haven’t truly obtained yet. One way to get to this point, is through the growing adoption of SIP, with a 6-9 month return on investment, and up to 70% cost reduction. The desired improvement would influence a number of factors, by fully enabling UC in the cloud, boosting applications,  and keeping mobility and modality in top form. This will inevitably have a profound and lasting impact on the way business is done.

Improvement in the arenas of mixed PBX systems, along with session border control, will also strengthen unified communications. The latter will be boosted by focusing on the foundation to setting up, conducting, and tearing down SIP sessions with security, interworking, and QoS. Dolan likened the new approaches to be like “shifting rapidly to the second inning of a much longer game, where scale matters and networking matters.” Applications focusing on architectural requirements for UC, will make audio, data, video, and IM one, creating an access layer platform that is flexible, reliable, and simple. It’s all about creating access within and across systems, knowing exactly what’s going on in business environments, and keeping with them all the way through fulfillment. Federation demands flexibility, with the big players like Avaya, Cisco, Siemens, and Lync really stovepiping unified communications. In the meantime, CIO priorities need to change, and session based architecture must be built upon.

Raymond closed out his keynote by displaying the impressive Sonus eSBC Product Portfolio, currently supporting from one to 64,000 sessions. The perspectives he shared were interesting and valuable – certainly a change of pace, being the majority of speakers over the past few days weren’t completely centralized in voice infrastructure solutions. As the calendar year comes to a close, it will be exciting to see what Sonus rolls out in conjunction with many of the fantastic and promising solutions we’ve seen over the past few days. Companies like Sonus reassure consumers and manufacturers alike, that the UC space we desire isn’t so far away – the vision for reaching this horizon is clearer than it’s ever been.

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