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7/30/2008
06:25 PM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
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Arrggghhh ... More UC Confusion

In a recent Network World newsletter, I saw two headlines: "Unified Communications Solutions for 7 Cents a Day" and "Unifying Unified Communications," a podcast discussing the fact that everyone defines unified communications differently. The 7-cents article isn't actually about UC, it's about UM (unified messaging): The news is that Objectworld has announced "e-mail, voicemail, messaging, and fax capabilities accessible from one interface and from any device." The story quotes David Levy, president and CEO of Objectworld,who acknowledges "his companys approach, targeted to the SMB market, 'is more about providing telephony than desktop collaboration.'"That's an honest start, but then Levy then goes on to define the market in a way that would seem to support his company's current product line, but which is not really a fair characterization of UC. First, he says end users only use a fraction of what theyve already got [with unified communications]. That's hard to believe, considering that very few organizations have actually deployed UC in the first place. The he goes on to add that UC as offered today by Microsoft and IBM is aimed at the large enterprise market, ignoring the product and pricing models introduce by a number of vendors over the past year specifically targeting SMBs.I couldn't listen to the podcast because the link didn't work... but the notion that there are multiple dfinitions of UC is true among vendors but less so among IT managers and industry analysts. Vendors continue to use the term to define whatever products they have, whether or not they meet anyone's defintion of UC--but the IT managers and analysts I've talked to have a pretty good and common idea of what that should be.The confusion appears often to be of the vendors' own making.

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