Panelists Discuss Building a Unified Front for Communications

Workers on the go, telecommuters, the distributed enterprise and the rise of wireless technologies these are the primary shifts in business today, and they are driving a resurgence of interest in unified communications.

Todays panel will talk about the IP-based convergence of e-mail, instant messaging, voice, data, video and conferencing what it is, how to enable it and the market opportunities for channel partners.

Well certainly be covering the drivers for unified communications, says speaker Dustin Donaldson, a senior manager of Avayas messaging and unified communication solutions. There are workplace changes, mandates from a business continuity perspective, and an increasing need for businesses to be more responsive and productive.

If you remember the find-me/follow-me and text-to-voice mail fad of 2001-2002, banish the memory. The new idea for UC goes beyond the unified mailbox. Presence offers a way for people to establish priorities for the way they want to communicate, VoIP forms the basis for voice communications, and there is the ability to push the apps over multiple access networks, such as enterprise Wi-Fi. Users simply click to connect, breaking down the disparate interfaces of e-mail, instant messaging, mobility, voice and conferencing through software and open standards.

Todays network can be kind of a scary world for a partner, says Donaldson. But attendees need to get used to the idea of one, nonsiloed network and nonsiloed support systems, with voice as an application. Partners can leverage this understanding with unified communications applications, and its an amazing opportunity.

Analysts are hot on UC at the moment: Radicati Group pegs the worldwide market as totaling $10.5 billion by 2008. In-Stat predicts the domestic market to reach $628.6 million in revenue by 2010.

Meanwhile, InfoTech says revenue growth from SMB-oriented converged applications will average 47 percent per year for the next five years, driven primarily by UC. And, respondents to an InfoTech survey rated UC as No. 1 in projected spending and expected business value.

Other speakers include Tim Gordon, a manager of channel operations at Cisco Systems Inc. Gordon and his team are responsible for helping Cisco and its channel partners develop their solutions practices for security and unified communications; including planning, design, implementation and day two support.

Rounding out the panel is Jeff Prestel, senior vice president of sales for Wire One Communications Inc. Wire One delivers end-to-end visual communication solutions to more than 8,000 direct and channel customers by making video conferencing easier to use. Since 2004, Prestel and his team have developed deeper and stronger relationships with key technology providers like Polycom Inc., Tandberg and Cisco.

Cisco Systems Inc.
Polycom Inc.
Radicati Group
Wire One Communications Inc.

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